BlackLine Blog

January 09, 2018

Continuous Accounting: A Game-Changer for Every Accountant

Modern Accounting
2 Minute Read

Shannon Maynard

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Part 1 of the Continuous Accounting blog series.

The discovery of fire (more accurately, the controlled use of fire) enabled early humans to cook food, repel carnivorous beasts, and survive past the ripe old age of 22—radically altering the course of homo sapiens’ future.

Continuous Accounting is no less game-changing for the evolution of the accountant.

For this reason, we’re beginning a blog series that will dive deep into what Continuous Accounting is, why it’s relevant to every accounting and finance organization no matter the company’s size or industry, and how to blueprint a successful adoption of this approach in your organization.

We’ll also explore how to streamline financial close processes with a Continuous Accounting approach, from account reconciliations and transaction matching to variance analysis and intercompany accounting.

Our goal is to break these concepts down so you know exactly how to apply them and make them real within your organization. This series will transform the way your accounting and finance teams work, create the time you need to focus the most critical activities, and unleash you to become an exceptional accountant.

Why Is Continuous Accounting So Important?

In the last century, slide rules and spreadsheets tethered accountants to the monthly close schedule. Every meaningful task was crammed into a week or two of frenzied work, with beleaguered bean counters entering data, double-checking data, and running reports.

After days on end spent matching transactions and hunting for discrepancies, accountants had little time for performing the really important work of accounting: partnering with the business.

Continuous Accounting changes all of that by embedding automation, control, and period-end tasks within day-to-day activities, allowing the rigid accounting calendar to more closely mirror the broader business.

When certain close tasks are spread throughout the entire month, instead of relegated to the end, accountants are far less frenzied and able to proactively address issues and exceptions. When meaningful accounting activities occur every day, accountants and decision makers always have access to real-time data, enabling them to run the business more effectively.

Because accountants aren’t trying to cram weeks of work into one and no longer need to perform rote tasks, accuracy improves and valuable employees are better utilized. Tasks that were reserved for the end of the period are embedded within daily activities, which means the pace of accounting finally aligns with the pace of business.

It’s A Mindset That Leads to Continuous Improvement

Continuous Accounting represents not just a physical shift in how the work is done—day-to-day and via automation—but a philosophical one.

With access to real-time information, accounting teams are no longer the proverbial “day late and a dollar short” in delivering financial information. The C-suite doesn’t have to wait weeks—or months—for last month’s balance sheet.

As such, Continuous Accounting provides accountants with the means, methods, and mindset to finally move away from the age-old roles of bean counter or transaction matching minion. In fact, those who practice Continuous Accounting quickly stop seeing themselves as spreadsheet jockeys and start functioning as highly valuable strategists.

This approach – which creates better utilized, fully empowered accountants, gives way to a mindset of continuous improvement, which is what today’s companies need to create competitive advantage.

Are you ready? This is an exciting journey with transformative implications, and we hope you’ll begin your Continuous Accounting journey with us over the next twelve weeks.

About the Author


Shannon Maynard