BING It’s All in the Balance. Are You Optimized? | BlackLine Magazine

It’s All in the Balance. Are You Optimized?

Account reconciliations are a critical control to help ensure an organization’s financial integrity.  Unfortunately, the accountant who’s often grueling through the process feels underappreciated and undervalued.

Weaknesses and inefficiencies in the reconciliation process often lead to mistakes on the balance sheet and overall inaccuracies in the financial close. Time and time again, we are faced with situations where organizations allow some processes to slide.

Account Reconciliations are often at the top of this list. As a result, trust becomes an issue for the organization.

Account reconciliations provide the foundation for evaluating business performance, supporting operational decisions, and satisfying external reporting to auditors, investors, and stakeholders. Automating this process is one step toward achieving balance sheet integrity, and ultimately, a timely and efficient financial close.

If you happen to be an accountant, still captivated in the manual process of account reconciliations, I feel for you! During those late-night midnight hours closing the books, account reconciliations are a less than desirable task.  

Formula Errors & Incorrect Data

I remember sorting through a multitude of tabs on an Excel spreadsheet trying to identify current activity, reasonableness, and trends for an account reconciliation to ensure the validity of the account. I wasn’t surprised to find numerous formula errors and incorrect data attached.

And remember that this is just one account, passed on from someone else, that is loaded with errors and no documented process or information to successfully continue the reconciliation.

Then there’s the paper-intensive printing, copying, attaching, and manually walking it through the approval process. Knowing that your manager has an in-basket full of account reconciliations to be approved makes you wonder… when will mine be approved?   

It’s almost like getting stuck in a 10-items or less check-out line behind someone with at least 30 items.

Increasing Accuracy in Your Month-End Close

Tracking the status of account reconciliations can also be an ordeal, especially since most accounting and finance teams are using a shared Excel spreadsheet. Tracking the account reconciliations that are still open and the reconciliations returned by your manager can be labor intensive as well, creating frustration and a resentment for this process. 

Consider the risk of missing or lost reconciliations, unreconciled accounts, and/or insufficient justification or support on the reconciliation. Real-time visibility of the status is the most common practice today.

The mundane tasks of manual account reconciliations, from keying numbers into an Excel support spreadsheet to tracking reconciliation status, consume valuable time and resources on a regular basis.

Automating account reconciliations creates standardization, which drives accuracy in your close process. Accountants have more time to compare general ledger to support, investigate issues, and follow up on action items more quickly.

Join this webinar on Thursday, March 14 to learn more about how you can optimize your reconciliations process with technology.


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