We all know the struggle.

It’s month-end and you’re scrambling to complete your reconciliations
on time. Perhaps you’re waiting for your manager to review a pile of completed
reconciliations. Or better yet, the auditors are there demanding evidence of
approval and supporting documentation.

That’s the struggle of a manual process. Among other
challenges, a lack of standardization hinders timelines and often fails to meet
the quality standards of the organization and its auditors.

Imagine a month-end where the struggle is, well, NOT real.

Your reconciliations are neatly centralized in one location.
You know exactly what the status of each reconciliation is. And auditor
requests? Not a problem.

With out-of-the-box best practices and automation, you can
rest assured knowing accounts are properly substantiated, reviews are timely,
and auditors are satisfied.

Here are three audit benefits from utilizing BlackLine
Account Reconciliations.

Standardized
Templates in the Cloud

Templates are designed to replace error-prone spreadsheets,
allowing accountants to perform reconciliations within the BlackLine software. Accountants
can automatically roll-forward items, attach support, and eliminate formula
errors.

For example, an amortizable prepaid template guides the
preparer to enter specific details, including the prepaid name, total amount,
and to and from dates, which automatically create an online amortization schedule
in BlackLine.  

Throughout the life of the prepaid, if the month-end GL account
balance matches the expected balance in BlackLine, the account is auto-certified.

Auto-certification is a notable benefit in BlackLine.
Organizations can configure rules based on their internal policies and controls
to further optimize
the account reconciliation process
.

This approach increases control globally and at the account
level, allowing organizations to implement thresholds and set the frequencies automatically.

Accountants are freed from worrying about incomplete or
messy reconciliations and can instead focus on the high-risk accounts, analysis,
and adding strategic value to the organization.

Out-Of-The-Box
Segregation of Duties

One of the challenges of a manual reconciliation process is
accountability. With no automation around workflow and no reportability of
status, it’s difficult to ensure policies are adhered to and work is being
completed timely by the appropriate resources.

Accountants must manage workloads individually, set calendar
reminders, and follow up with managers via email to complete reconciliations on
time. Leadership must then rely on word of mouth or manual checks to ensure
policies were properly followed.

BlackLine, on the other hand, automatically tracks and
manages assignments, workflow, status, and due dates. The system also captures
a complete audit trail
, so a record is always available of who prepared,
approved, and reviewed a reconciliation, along with the date and time the action
occurred.

And what’s more, BlackLine automatically enforces
segregation of duties. The same person cannot prepare and approve a
reconciliation—an essential point of control.

Substantiation & Supporting
Documentation

Ever spend hours at the copy machine scanning and copying
supporting documents for audit purposes? What about organizing those papers or
looking through binders and digital folders to find them—and then sending them
off to a third-party storage site once they’ve reached a certain age?

And what if a document is missing or incomplete—a control
issue for auditors to feast on.

With BlackLine’s cloud platform,
supporting documentation is easily stored and accessible at the item or account
level, so you never have to go searching again. The uploading user’s name and
the date and time is automatically recorded with the attachment, and no one
else can edit information.

Furthermore, BlackLine allows you to group like accounts
together, so supporting documentation can be attached once rather than
duplicated for multiple accounts.

Lastly, read-only access to BlackLine can be granted to
auditors, eliminating the need to provide supporting documentation separately.
This self-service approach allows auditors to view completed reconciliations and
access the support they need for testing and assessing controls on their own.

Watch this on-demand webinar to learn more about how to optimize Account Reconciliations and view a product demo.


The post 3 Audit Benefits From BlackLine Account Reconciliations appeared first on BlackLine Magazine.