May 14, 2018

3 Ways to Speed Up Your Month-End Close Process

3 Ways to Speed Up Your Month-End Close Process Image | BlackLine Magazine

When the end of the month rolls around, ensuring accuracy and efficiency in your close often means long days and late nights. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Use the latest enhancements to the BlackLine platform and incorporate the following three process improvements to save time, every time you close your books.

Integrate Worksheets Into Your Account Reconciliations

Spreadsheets are a critical tool in an accountant’s arsenal.

You build complex formulas and schedules, then check and recheck for accuracy. Once you determine your calculated balance, you jump over to your account reconciliation tool to update that rec before uploading the spreadsheet as a supporting document.

Then, the approver has to download that spreadsheet and open another program to review the accuracy. This glosses over a lot of the details, but the point is: getting to this point in the process involves a lot of steps, clicks, and application switching.

You can save a significant amount of time for everyone involved in the reconciliation process by integrating worksheets into your account reconciliations. This allows you to set up your formulas, set your calculated balance, and lock-in the formulas upon certifying the reconciliation, all from one application window.

And when the approver reviews the reconciliation, the details of how the preparer calculated the balance are available at a glance. This will also help later on, when auditors are examining a given account reconciliation.

Once you integrate worksheets on your reconciliations, you’ll wonder how you ever did it any other way.

Enable Quick Access to ERPs Account Details From Reconciliations

Speaking of opening multiple application windows and programs, while you are reconciling accounts as a preparer, you often switch between the reconciliation and the account details in the ERP. After completing one reconciliation, the next reconciliation needs information from another account, which requires closing the details of one account and searching for the next account.

When account reconciliations are integrated with your ERP, you and your approver can quickly get to the exact details of that reconciliation’s account for the current period. With fewer clicks, you'll be able to navigate to the necessary information, saving time for you and everyone else involved in reconciliations.

Imagine shaving even a half hour off of your reconciliations process for every preparer. That adds up quickly.

Automate Standard & Recurring Journal Creation

Thousands of journal entries can occur every period, and some of these duplicated for the next period. Why then would you spend time manually rekeying the same information every month?

Not only is this a tedious process. It also increases the risk of human error, and can lead to inaccurate entries.

Instead of re-entering line details, header information, and even preparer assignments, use that time to create a single, master journal entry that can be automatically cloned–with all of its glorious details–into each period.

If it is a standard journal entry (same amount every time), enter the associated amounts. If you are working with a recurring journal with different amounts per period (such as Prepaid Insurance as premiums change), then input all of the information you can, and the preparer who is automatically assigned to the journal can input the correct amounts.

Automating recurring and standard journals as much as possible is a surefire time-saver.

BlackLine's finance automation platform is designed to improve efficiency while retaining (and adding!) key controls. Learn more about how you can continue to modernize your finance and accounting practices.

Zach Deming

Modern Accounting