According to IMA’s Process Automation in Accounting and Finance survey, 61% of organizations are “highly dependent” on spreadsheets and only 28% of finance professionals trust their financial close data.

Manual processes increase both the time spent on financial statements as well as the risk of inaccurate results. But when you’re entrenched in the way it’s always been done, it can be difficult to identify the areas that need improvement most, and it’s even harder to know where to start.

As a former Controller, here are the questions that helped me evaluate the close process and determine how to begin making improvements.

  1. Do I have sufficient visibility into the entire close process?
  • Do we rely on email, shared drives, and spreadsheets to track the workflow?
  • Do we have an audit trail that mandates proper segregation of duties and appropriate supporting documentation?
  • How many reconciling items are over 90 days old? Over 180 days old?
  1. Have we done all we can to mitigate risk?
  • Are all reconciliations completed during the close?
  • Are late journal entries or prior period adjustments disrupting the close? Do they impact any approved reconciliations?
  • Have we ever had misstatements or material inconsistencies in financial reports?
  1. Am I paying highly-trained professionals to perform remedial tasks?
  • Have error prone VLOOKUPs or macros been created to manually tick and tie transactions on bank/high volume reconciliations?
  • Do staff accountants spend time generating spreadsheets and formatting templates at the beginning of each month-end close cycle?
  • Are recurring supporting documents re-attached to reconciliations each month?

A Transformative Solution

When I first began evaluating our financial close process, it appeared adequate on the surface. But asking these questions forced me to take a hard look at the close.

The more I examined our processes, the more I realized that maintaining the status quo was hurting my team and my company.

After a considerable amount of research, we found a finance controls and automation platform that transformed our accounting and finance department. Learn more about the solution we chose and how it can deliver efficiency, accuracy, and transparency for your organization as well.

 

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