What Differentiates Leading Financial Close Software?


Traditionally, accountants weren’t the first ones to worry about systems or the kind of technology the organization needs to support business processes. After all, they have a full plate of month-end close responsibilities, and―isn’t that what the procurement and IT departments are for?

Accountants didn’t get involved in vetting software solutions because all they really needed was a login to the general ledger system and access to the Excel application on their computer.

But a shift is happening, as leading accounting teams are not only being invited to the technology conversation, but also driving discussions about the top solutions that will transform how they work.

They’re coming to the table with a vision and perspective around which financial close solutions are best, and how they can be implemented to best elevate the office of the CFO.

Side note: if your accounting teams aren’t yet being included in conversations about software for the financial close, consider how partnering with IT or procurement could take you to the next level.

There have never been more solutions for Accounting and Finance to choose from as there are today, and comparing them can be overwhelming. But almost all can be put into two categories: point solutions and end-to-end solutions.

So, what’s the difference?

Point Solutions

Point solutions are usually implemented to solve a specific problem or address a specific use case. These tools don’t necessarily consider related or dependent processes and are often limited in scope or ability to expand beyond the initial application.

In Finance and Accounting, examples of point solutions could include a tool for managing the month-end close checklist, preparing journal entries, or automating bank reconciliations.

Those tools may do a great job of helping accountants perform those specific tasks or achieve certain results, but the opportunity for results stops there.

When evaluating financial close software for your accounting process, think about all the areas you would like to see improved―and then some. Because to solve multiple problems with a point solution approach, you’d have to purchase multiple applications.

End-To-End Solutions

Unlike point solutions, end-to-end or platform solutions address processes from end-to-end and represent a ‘one-stop shop,’ meaning the technology is fully integrated to solve multiple processes or problems.

This ensures that, regardless of the specific process, the data and workflows are centralized. You won’t have to switch back and forth between different systems to complete tasks, and there is no added risk of schlepping data from one application to another.

Your ERP is one example of an integrated platform solution that benefits the entire enterprise. But ERP solutions leave some gaps for Accounting and Finance.

To address traditionally manual financial close processes in full, accounting teams need a platform of integrated solutions that are purpose-built for the month-end close.

Leading platform solutions may require a bit more thought, planning, and upfront effort to implement, but the functionality and opportunity to solve multiple challenges are significant in comparison and deliver immediate, impactful benefits.

Why End-To-End Solutions Should Always Win

With any big purchase, when you’re evaluating options, you want the most ‘bang for your buck’. You want a long-term solution, not a quick fix you will outgrow in a year or two.

So, why should purchasing financial close software be any different?

For Accounting, when businesses grow, processes change. Having an end-to-end accounting solution that will change with you—and that you only have to select and implement once—is crucial to the business’ success, and yours.

BlackLine is an end-to-end solution that will solve more than just your month-end close checklist or bank reconciliation problem. As an integrated cloud platform, BlackLine addresses related dependencies to the reconciliation and broader record-to-report process, including high-volume ticking and tying, journal entries, variance analysis, and the close checklist.

And what’s unique about BlackLine, and platform solutions in general, is that they have the stand-alone capabilities to solve one issue, but the built-in functionality to support future issues.

Read this comprehensive guide to learn more about how a finance transformation platform can solve your organization’s greatest accounting challenges.