What is the Financial Close?
Financial Close or the Close Period is the time period between the completion of a company’s financial period, during which certain financial results are attained, and the announcing of these results to government agencies and the public. Financial Close is also sometimes referred to as “closing the books”, referring to a company’s book of accounts. It can also be referred to by the length of the particular financial period for which the financial close is being performed, such as the month-end close, quarter-end close, or year-end close.
What is the Financial Close Process?
During the financial close period, accounting staff is tasked with verifying all financial results and certifying their accuracy. This process is necessary to validate the integrity of account balances on the company’s balance sheet. This is known as the financial close process.
How Does Financial Close Software Work?
Financial Close Software imports data from all financial systems and other sources of financial data, including ERP and General Ledger systems, bank files and statements, credit card and merchant services, and any other system that holds relevant data. It then compares balances and transactions, and identifies any discrepancies for investigation by accounting staff. It is used to standardize processes, automate workflows, ensure adequate controls, and provide visibility into the status of the financial close process.
What Solutions Does BlackLine Offer for Financial Close Management?
The BlackLine Finance Controls and Automation Platform is designed to automate all aspects of the financial close process. It can receive data from any source, and is compatible with all major ERP systems.
The main product in this solution is Account Reconciliations. Within this product, configurable validation rules allow for auto-certification of low-risk accounts. When discrepancies do exist that require analysis by accounting staff, customizable templates, checklists, and integrated storage for supporting documentation ensure that reconciliation processes are standardized across the organization. Centralized dashboards and automated workflows provide full visibility into the status of the financial close process. This product also integrates with the Transaction Matching product, to automate transaction-level comparisons and validation of account data.
Additional products offered in the BlackLine Finance Controls and Automation Platform include:
- Journal Entry Management: provides an integrated system for the creation, review, approval, and posting of adjusting journal entries. Advanced features of this product allow for the automatic creation of closing journal entries.
- Task Management: allows centralized tracking of all close tasks and checklists. It also provides workflows for the routing of close tasks.
- Variance Analysis: an automated and configurable system for flagging and analyzing account balance fluctuations.
- Consolidation Integrity Manager: an optimized means of handling system-to-system reconciliations which is particularly useful for companies with multiple ERP systems or General Ledgers.