Visibility is of vital importance in the financial close process. Paper documents, storage rooms, shared drives and spreadsheets scattered across different geographic locations and time zones are inefficient and make the close process anything but transparent. Add to this multiple legal entities operating different finance systems and the management of the close process becomes even more complex. Yet despite this, the process of performing the close at the end of a financial period is still a very manual and stressful process for many organisations.
Here are some key signs that your organisation does not have enough visibility over its financial close processes:
- Difficulty in meeting period close and reporting deadlines
- Unable to easily identify progress and status of close tasks across legal entities, regions, divisions etc.
- No reliable audit reports providing date/time/sign-off details of key close tasks
- No central repository for documents which support the close or Provided by Client (PBC) Lists for audit purposes
- Lack of available reporting capability for management enabling them to drill down to the details which impact their areas of responsibility
In order to overcome these problems and gain more visibility over the financial close, organisations need to implement standard processes incorporating relevant month end close tasks on a centralised system which can be accessed and followed by all individuals involved in the close process. This type of system should deliver configurable, real-time reports and dashboards, which provide valuable information covering all aspects of the financial close. Management need to be able to see the status of the close process, tasks open, in progress, completed, reasons for adjustments, explanations of variances etc., all within one easily accessible system. Any issues or potential issues can then be quickly identified and addressed before they affect the business.
These requirements can be met by implementing a financial close solution, such as the BlackLine Finance Controls and Automation Suite. BlackLine replaces manual, Excel and paper-based financial close processes, such as detailed account reconciliations and transaction matching, with automated and auditable workflow providing a framework which ensures consistent application of an organisation's financial close policies. It helps organisations to achieve more visibility into their financial close processes through its key features including, real-time dashboards for completion status and timeliness, more than 80 standard reports, ad-hoc reporting and drilldown by user/entity/account for management and the ability to report on all items. Not only does this provide substantial value to front line users, but also managers challenged with demanding compliance and regulatory requirements.
For further information on how to improve visibility over your financial close, call us on +44 203 866 8800, or learn more about automating the financial close process by checking out these whitepapers: