We all know the struggle.
It’s month-end and you’re scrambling to complete your reconciliations on time. Perhaps you’re waiting for your manager to review a pile of completed reconciliations. Or better yet, the auditors are there demanding evidence of approval and supporting documentation.
That’s the struggle of a manual process. Among other challenges, a lack of standardization hinders timelines and often fails to meet the quality standards of the organization and its auditors.
Imagine a month-end where the struggle is, well, NOT real.
Your reconciliations are neatly centralized in one location. You know exactly what the status of each reconciliation is. And auditor requests? Not a problem.
With out-of-the-box best practices and automation, you can rest assured knowing accounts are properly substantiated, reviews are timely, and auditors are satisfied.
Here are three audit benefits from utilizing BlackLine Account Reconciliations.
Standardized Templates in the Cloud
Templates are designed to replace error-prone spreadsheets, allowing accountants to perform reconciliations within the BlackLine software. Accountants can automatically roll-forward items, attach support, and eliminate formula errors.
For example, an amortizable prepaid template guides the preparer to enter specific details, including the prepaid name, total amount, and to and from dates, which automatically create an online amortization schedule in BlackLine.
Throughout the life of the prepaid, if the month-end GL account balance matches the expected balance in BlackLine, the account is auto-certified.
Auto-certification is a notable benefit in BlackLine. Organizations can configure rules based on their internal policies and controls to further optimize the account reconciliation process.
This approach increases control globally and at the account level, allowing organizations to implement thresholds and set the frequencies automatically.
Accountants are freed from worrying about incomplete or messy reconciliations and can instead focus on the high-risk accounts, analysis, and adding strategic value to the organization.
Out-Of-The-Box Segregation of Duties
One of the challenges of a manual reconciliation process is accountability. With no automation around workflow and no reportability of status, it’s difficult to ensure policies are adhered to and work is being completed timely by the appropriate resources.
Accountants must manage workloads individually, set calendar reminders, and follow up with managers via email to complete reconciliations on time. Leadership must then rely on word of mouth or manual checks to ensure policies were properly followed.
BlackLine, on the other hand, automatically tracks and manages assignments, workflow, status, and due dates. The system also captures a complete audit trail, so a record is always available of who prepared, approved, and reviewed a reconciliation, along with the date and time the action occurred.
And what’s more, BlackLine automatically enforces segregation of duties. The same person cannot prepare and approve a reconciliation—an essential point of control.
Substantiation & Supporting Documentation
Ever spend hours at the copy machine scanning and copying supporting documents for audit purposes? What about organizing those papers or looking through binders and digital folders to find them—and then sending them off to a third-party storage site once they’ve reached a certain age?
And what if a document is missing or incomplete—a control issue for auditors to feast on.
With BlackLine’s cloud platform, supporting documentation is easily stored and accessible at the item or account level, so you never have to go searching again. The uploading user’s name and the date and time is automatically recorded with the attachment, and no one else can edit information.
Furthermore, BlackLine allows you to group like accounts together, so supporting documentation can be attached once rather than duplicated for multiple accounts.
Lastly, read-only access to BlackLine can be granted to auditors, eliminating the need to provide supporting documentation separately. This self-service approach allows auditors to view completed reconciliations and access the support they need for testing and assessing controls on their own.
Watch this on-demand webinar to learn more about how to optimize Account Reconciliations and view a product demo.