Part 3 of this blog series. Read the full series here.
In many accounting and finance departments, manual work is a normal part of the day-to-day responsibilities: updating recs and checklists, manually copying and pasting data into the following month, and then updating it for things like the quarter-end close and year-end.
tasks are tedious and significantly slow down the close. The good news is that working
this way is no longer the only option for accountants.
Innovative technology is automating these repetitive tasks and workflows with rules-based logic. As a result, accounting teams can perform close tasks throughout the month, instead of waiting until period end. This speeds up the close and allows teams to deliver accurate, real-time data, driving value for the entire business.
In the last blog of this series, we discussed three best
practices to follow before you begin implementing finance automation. Here are
four more practical ways to further your journey toward an accelerated
An effective goal for every accounting and finance team is
to create a more balanced workload throughout the month, as opposed to pushing
these processes into the end of the month. Work with your teams to identify which
items are performed during critical close (at the end of the month) that can
potentially be moved up earlier in the month.
journal entries can be prepared well in advance. Some accrual or impairment
calculations can be started mid-period and fine-tuned at the end of the period.
Frequent reconciliations of key accounts such as cash, or those unusual
journals for miscellaneous write offs, reduce the work required for a timely
Distribute Close Tasks Throughout the Month
Why wait for the end of the month when you can start today,
little by little, to review and improve these processes? Take a few tasks a
month and discuss earlier due dates for the month-end checklist.
Implement short milestone awards, create some team competition–make it a fun journey. The BlackLine platform provides automatic recurring journals, reconciliation reports for required adjustments, and miscellaneous write-offs, while allowing flexibility in the task management solution to adjust due dates on items throughout the close.
Create Desk Top
Desk top procedures are an excellent way to add value to the
Finance and Accounting team. Documented
standard procedures promote cross-training, which means there’s no holdup in
the process if a key employee is out sick, on vacation, a new trainee falls
behind on the close, or if an employee leaves the company.
desk top procedures promote evidence of policy and compliance for
external auditors on complex accounts (policy process for reserves, complicated
accruals, and entries).
Desk top procedure documents can be uploaded into BlackLine’s Task solution with a review frequency set to annual, and linked directly to your balance sheet account, account reconciliations, or journal entries.
The days of paper-based and manual, time-consuming processes are over. BlackLine’s finance controls and automation platform streamlines and automates the many processes needed to get closer to a successful month-end close.
changes to automate month-end processes such as bank account reconciliations,
journal entries, and closing tasks saves time and minimizes accountant time and
error. Think about people and processes today, and technology tomorrow as you
start to build the foundation for your finance automation journey.
Read this ebook for a roadmap that will help you navigate the ever-changing, increasingly complex accounting and finance landscape.
The post 4 Best Practices to Accelerate Your Month-End Close appeared first on BlackLine Magazine.