The Essential Elements for Automating Your Month-End Close


Amid the daily grind of the corporate accounting world, finding the right platform to automate your month-end close might seem overwhelming.

There are a variety of tools on the market that claim to streamline accounting processes and provide better visibility. But, for your organization to experience the benefits of finance automation, a solution must enable and prioritize change management.

Change management is at the heart of what BlackLine’s platform provides to accounting and finance organizations. With the option to phase implementations to address one process at a time, users experience a fully integrated, easy-to-use business suite that centralizes, standardizes, and automates key accounting functions.

Here are a few key ingredients that are essential in a financial close automation platform to make a positive and sustainable impact on your organization’s accounting processes.

A User-Friendly Solution

The most fundamental consideration for your digital transformation is whether a platform fosters high rates of user adoption.

Even the lowest cost and most quickly-implemented solutions will fail to transform accounting if they don’t truly streamline processes and create an enjoyable user experience for your team.

We all know that accountants have enough on their plates and don’t need additional steps in the close process. BlackLine solutions automate error-prone manual tasks, giving teams the time and freedom to focus on analysis and reporting valuable insights to the broader business function.

BlackLine Task Management, for instance, centralizes and controls accounting and finance checklists. Users can define role-based segregation of duties and automatically assign tasks to the appropriate person.

Further, integrating the Journal Entry and Account Reconciliations solutions ensures a seamless user experience and takes the guesswork out of the close.

Visibility Into Your Financial Close

Maintaining visibility into the entire financial close guarantees that processes will run smoothly and provide clear insight into issues as soon as they’re identified.

At our annual conference, InTheBlack 2018, BlackLine unveiled a new dashboard design that consolidates visualizations and actionable information like KPIs. It standardizes the way accounting teams consume financial and operational data, and it delivers a stellar user experience.

Another key to providing visibility across your finance organization is to ensure that all data lives in the same place.

BlackLine’s platform can be configured to support any type of organizational structure or technical environment, creating a centralized hub to fulfill complex financial close requirements like high-volume transaction matching, daily reconciliations, or system-to-system reconciliation.

BlackLine is ERP-agnostic, which increases balance sheet integrity by quickly importing transaction and balance data from any ERP and comparing it to disparate source data for completeness and accuracy. This function eliminates a tedious, manual process and delivers value that users can really feel.

Completing the financial close within one streamlined, cloud-based platform protects your data and eliminates inefficiencies.

Meaningful Reporting Functionality

Too often, finance automation platforms track reconciliation completion status, but cannot provide insight into the financials or operations of an organization.

This prompts companies to purchase multiple solutions, hoping they’ll find the reporting functionality they so desperately need. According to a survey by EY, three-quarters of enterprises rely on more than six different reporting systems, and one-fifth said they had more than fifteen.

It shouldn’t be that difficult to build the reports you need for your organization.

Your financial close solution should feature unified, self-service functionality for reporting so users can identify and act on issues quickly, without having to jump back and forth between applications.

BlackLine Reporting is built specifically for finance and accounting teams—with usability as a top priority—to enable real-time, intuitive, collaborative reporting with accounting intelligence built-in.

Key Takeaways

In your journey toward digital transformation, change management will undoubtedly be one of the most important hurdles to jump.

Convincing accounting and finance teams to learn a new software on top of their already hectic workweek will be hard enough. It’s imperative that the solution you introduce be user-friendly, promote visibility and accountability, and deliver actionable insights to users.

BlackLine prioritizes the unique needs of our customers and has the functionality and expertise to help prepare for a future of growth—instead of staying stagnant with error-prone spreadsheets and basic close process tracking tools.

Sign up for a demo with a BlackLine solutions expert to see what our platform can do for your business.