Financial closing is one of the most labor and time intensive tasks for the Finance department. Around month-end close, you’ll see Finance bracing themselves for the long days to come spent on ensuring financial statements are accurate, reconciling discrepancies, and creating reports. And when errors happen or the process is delayed, it comes at a heavy cost to the business.
As we’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, increasing manual effort is one way to approach time-consuming projects and processes. However, as manual effort increases, people spend more time on maintenance and issue resolution than they do on innovation. And the risk of errors and inefficiencies also increases as more technologies and individuals are introduced, creating more complex dependencies and manual flag-waving to manage those dependent actions and triggers.
Improve month-end close and minimize the headaches that accompany it
According to industry experts and reports, it comes down to automation. In Ernst & Young’s Closing Excellence Study, the global professional services firm recommends automating processes and procedures for better results: “Automation of existing processes in the form of IT integration or automation of manual procedures and controls increases the speed of the process and reduces the risk of financial reporting errors.”
We’ve seen several users take advantage of ActiveBatch’s integrations and extensions to create a streamlined approach to month-end close and save hundreds of hours each year on what was formerly a completely manual process.
For example, instead of finance having to go into SAP and check on the presence of specific data or reports each day or send emails to other parties for this information, IT can create a job in their IT automation solution that will poll the system on a set schedule to check for the presence or absence of that specific data. Based on the logic and alerting built into the job, if the data is present, that job can then kick off another job that will pull the requested data and put it in the correct file location, while also triggering a job that sends an email to the appropriate individuals or departments to alert them the data is now ready to be processed.
Organizations can continue building additional jobs and connecting various other technologies and applications, either through the automation solution’s prebuilt integrations or through APIs, to completely automate the process.
By automating the management of dependencies and creating alerts around specific actions, organizations can minimize the delay that would otherwise occur with manual alerting or hand-offs between individuals or departments. Especially in the case of month-end close, these processes are going to occur in virtually the same way each month, so the fact that it’s a reoccurring project with repetitive tasks makes it a prime candidate for automation.
Another additional benefit that comes with automation, is the end-to-end visibility and auditing capabilities that allow organizations to easily see workflow status, troubleshoot more effectively, and ensure a controlled, secure environment.
What is your biggest challenge to automating month-end close? Join the Discussion by leaving a Comment.