In most organizations, the financial close process is met with many challenges. Some pain points we hear across the board are time-consuming manual activities, inaccurate data, and inadequate technology, as well as an overall shortage of resources compared to the amount of work the close requires.
Companies can no longer sustain a traditional month-end close approach due to requirements to report more often in a shorter timeline coupled with demands for increased transparency and governance.
If your organization can relate to any of these issues, you are not alone.
The ideal state of an optimized close is a more manageable process that allows for ample time spent on value-adding activities such as analyzing your data. Embedding automation into your close will not only reduce time spent on reconciliations but also reduce risks and costs associated with human error. As a result, the financial close that once brought you so much pain and stress will no longer be as big of an undertaking.
The future state close process is one that is standardized, automated (where possible), and data-driven, facilitating a more streamlined, efficient path for accounting and finance professionals.
Now the question is: how do you get there?
Your journey to an optimized close begins with your own current state. Understand the story your data is telling you and assess it with a bird’s eye view:
- What kind of transactions and associated timing and materiality are involved?
- What are your organizational close goals, and do they align with current policies and procedures?
- Are there clearly defined and updated policies and procedures?
- Are your teams’ responsibilities aligned in a way that leverages their capabilities and provides growth opportunities?
- Are your technologies working together, and are they fit for purpose?
On some occasions, we see organizations that have already implemented a close automation solution, like BlackLine, and think this will solve their issues—but that is just the first step. How you use the technology, how well your users adopt the technology, and how well your processes enable the technology all have a monumental impact on an optimized close as well.
Some additional strategies that will help your organization meet today’s close process demands include:
- Streamlining the period-end close cycle
- Ensuring visibility and predictability in financial consolidation and the close
- Integrating financial controls to ensure the accuracy of results
- Avoiding delays from unexpected reconciliation issues
- Addressing all external statutory and internal reporting needs
- Managing costs related to financial reporting and filing
At RSM, we provide insight and industry experience to help streamline your close process from implementation to optimization using a holistic approach. No matter where you are in your close optimization journey, there is more value to gain by bridging the gaps in your current environment.
Are you ready to flatten the curve and better manage your financial close? Join our session at BeyondTheBlack on November 17 at 1 pm PT to learn more. We’ll give you:
- An overview of the journey to an optimized close
- Considerations for relevant business solution groups
- Our proven methodology to enable optimization faster and smarter
- Client success stories with a variety of flavors, ranging from BlackLine implementation to leveraging adjacent technologies to augment their automation journey