When Adra® by Trintech polled finance and accounting leaders in Q1 of 2021, we found that most respondents still had major concerns about their ability to effectively manage their financial close process:
- 54% ranked completing quality work, making sure work is accurate, and meeting deadlines as their biggest challenges
- 47% struggle to complete everything in the month-end close
- 1 in 10 respondents ranked improve quality and accuracy of numbers as their key improvement areas
- 30% ranked attracting talent, overtime, and employee burnout as their biggest challenge
Of course, worrying about your financial close each month is understandable. There are a lot of moving parts to contend with like bank reconciliations, three-way matching, point-of-sale transactions, cash balances, payroll, and benefits.
However, if you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: the key to success is to work smarter, not harder.
Still, many organizations don’t address their most challenging issue: how to overcome excessive manual financial close processes.
The good news is that every journey begins with a single step and you’ve just taken your first on your accounting automation journey.
The Stages of the Accounting Automation Journey
Stage 1:Manual & Siloed
This inefficient and antiquated method relies on manual processes still found in spreadsheets and binders to complete the month-end close, which takes approximately 20 days. Accountants are typically siloed with little to no collaboration between them. This leads to each person following their processes with no transparency or control. The results are lengthy close periods, no time available to devote to value-added tasks, and no room to scale.
Stage 2: Consistent & Documented
Financial teams in this stage have adopted coordinated processes that bring more structure and organization to their month-end close but are still using manual processes to bring the data together. However, their team-wide methods and procedures shorten close periods while providing added visibility into their process and controls. This gives their organization the ability to begin scaling.
Stage 3: Enhanced & Automated
Organizations at this stage depend on standardized processes, modern applications, and some automation to optimize their financial close. This simplifies and shortens the close cycle providing an abundance of time for additional value-added tasks. With real-time visibility into processes and controls, businesses can scale easily and effectively.
Stage 4: Life-Changing
Through optimization and automation, organizations can shorten the close process down to just a few days. This leaves accounting teams with time to do what they love: solve challenges to provide better ROI and improve the overall financial health of the organization. This boosts job satisfaction across the board — from the accountants up to the CFO.
One challenge many organizations face is balancing tasks within multiple ERP and legacy systems. If your accounting and finance teams have migrated away from the standard systems of record, they may be creating more complexities for themselves. Learn how you can move away from a manual month-end close with financial automation in our eBook, Bridge Your ERP Gaps with Financial Automation.
How Automation Impacts Your Month-End Close Processes
At the most basic level, there are three steps to performing a month-end financial close.
- Reconcile income
- Reconcile expenses
- Balance the income versus expenses to determine your profit/loss
Obviously, your close is much more complicated than this and has its own unique challenges and obstacles to overcome. You have to account for:
- Payroll and benefits
- E-commerce payments
- Three-way matching
- Expense reports
As complex as your financial close is, automation software can reduce or simplify many of the tasks and processes that get bogged down with manual data entry or review. Accounting software can:
- Streamline and centralize your internal processes so everyone is on the same page
- Create templates for dependency-based checklists so tasks are complete in an appropriate order
- Track and store your month-by-month data in the cloud so it’s universally available
- Transfer consistent data automatically to remove repetitive tasks
- Import transaction data and bank records directly from the source to reduce manual inputting mistakes
- Establish complex matching rules so you can easily and accurately import new data types
- Keep your finances transparent and find errors quickly with endlessly customizable reporting capabilities
All of this leads to one thing: a finance and accounting team that spends less time mired in spreadsheets or adjustments and more time focused on exploring new ideas and options to make better strategic decisions for your organization.
If your accounting and finance teams are weighted down by the above points, it may be time to build a case for adopting financial close automation at your organization. Watch our webinar, Unlock Financial Insights – How to Build a Business Case for Financial Close Automation, to learn how you can best approach the conversation of adopting automation with your C-Suite.
Your Personal Guide to Your Own Accounting Automation Journey
Adra by Trintech offers automated accounting solutions that were designed specifically to help you simplify and optimize your financial close process.
With software that can be deployed and implemented in days, you have full access to an automated solution that can either create new internal processes or strengthen current ones to help you remove redundancies, manual errors, and unnecessary tasks.
By doing so, you reduce the time your team spends processing reconciliations, discrepancies, adjustments, and reclassifications, empowering them to grow into the financial leaders you know they can be. Plus, you dramatically increase their satisfaction and retention because you allow them to be productive members of your organization.
To learn more about how automation can help your business grow and scale, check out our webinar, How to Reduce Risk by Driving Intelligent Automation Across Your Accounts Payable and Financial Close Processes.
Regardless of where you are on your automated journey, Adra can help you take the next step. Reach out and schedule a free demo to see how automation can improve your month-end financial close.