Closing the books cannot be avoided, but why not make it easier? Right, you may think: How would you do that?
It actually doesn’t have to be that complicated. If you make sure to have a financial management solution in place that truly fits your business processes you will quickly see that closing the year does not have to be a complete nightmare.
Overcoming the obstacles of climbing that financial nightmare mountain
Disparate systems, blurry financial transparency, and vast amounts of manual work are some of the obstacles that can make closing the books so painful.
Let me give you a few concrete examples of these obstacles and their painkillers:
Financial data is scattered across several databases and systems – oftentimes in different countries – which means that financial managers have a mountain to climb as they try to gather, convert and consolidate data from all sources. Just gathering the data is hard in these circumstances, but analysing it all to get a true picture of financial performance is a huge challenge.
Make sure that your finance solution supports multi-currency and multi-company functionality in one single database, and you’ll see a much leaner, and cleaner, consolidation workflow. All financial data will flow directly from top to bottom, thus eliminating the need for manual consolidation of individual groups and divisions.
Adhering to compliance such as IFRS and SOX is extremely time-consuming and costly given all the labour involved.
Set up a control framework that walks you through all the relevant financial procedures for a proper internal audit. This framework should cover all finance-related parts of your organisation, including: finance, job cost, time and expense, procurement and sales.
These two painkillers both represent “best practices” for any business, even if your organisation does not currently cross borders or experience high compliance burdens.
Automation and tools that fit like a glove
As you see, the answers to an easier financial close are centred around efficient automation and choosing the right system that fits your business. By automating your financial processes, you will save a substantial amount of time, and that time can be allocated to more value-added activities. And by choosing the right tools, the processes that you need will most likely already be built into your system making it easier to standardise on the right processes for you.
If you are in the Professional Services industry and working in a project-based organisation such as a marketing agency, engineering firm or a consulting firm, it is crucial you make sure to choose an ERP solution that is based around projects and offers a fully integrated workflow. This will give you a head-start on demonstrating your business processes for audit.
The global trend towards automation in business has progressed rapidly in recent years, including in the finance domain, where there is great potential for administrative savings and optimal financial control in project-focused and knowledge-intensive organisations. It’s time to make the lives of your finance managers easier: pursuing automation
Onno van der Valk is Senior Director of Finance at Deltek.
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