One of the final hurdles you will have to leap to achieve a perfect month-end financial close is your archiving. By law you are required to hold at least 6 years’ worth of financial records. That’s a hell of a lot of data to keep hold of, and finding the data you need within all those files and documents can be like trying to cross the rivers of Hades. So how can finance staff escape archiving hell?

To find out how to escape, we first need to understand the hellish situation we are in and how we got here. According to the Adra Match benchmark Financial document archiving, month-end close, month-end close processreport (2013) 62% of finance staff are still using binders to archive their monthly financial reconciliation. Storing hardcopies in binders carries the benefit of being tangible – you can always go and physically pick up the binder and look for the report that you want. However, all these binders and pieces of paper reduces efficiency, traceability, search ability – and uses a forest’s worth of paper.

Printing, collating and storing all this information also takes a hell of a lot of time. So does searching through the data for the report you need in the event of an audit – a possibility that is always hanging over your head. 

So what are the other options for archiving your reconciliation documents?

Scan and store digitally

One option is to scan all those documents, upload them to a central server and link to these in your Excel reconciliation files. This makes it very easy to find the relevant documentation and can be quickly and easily searched in case of an audit. However, this option has a number of drawbacks:

  • Unfortunately we still are just humans – files names can be tricky and be saved with the wrong name, or saved over another important file, or accidentally deleted. Or stored in the wrong folder. Hell hath no mercy.
  • Keeping the file structure the same – Linked files only work if the files and folders stay in exactly the same structure. A disk defragmentation five years down the line, an employee deciding to reorganise server folders, or even a simple folder renaming, causes all links to stop working, undermining ten years’ worth of archives. 
  • Keeping the server running into the future – Keeping financial records going back ten years or more will require you to keep the same server with exactly the same links. If you move to a different server, your server provider goes out of business, or there is a flood or fire in your server room, then the whole system suddenly falls down.

Use specialist financial reconciliation software

If you need to find a particular document you can simply search for it from the intuitive dashboard. If you need a hard copy, simply print the document off. Specialist accounting reconciliation software BALANCER from Adra Match allows finance staff to upload digital documentation directly into the reconciliation process, automatically linking the relevant documentation with the right account reconciliations. This is a Reconciliation Best Practice.

Using this method you can save time, trees and trouble finding the documents you need. They will always be there linked to the accounts, bringing a smile to your auditors face.

Seek redemption from your archiving hell and find a documentation nirvana with BALANCER. Discover the full range of benefits of BALANCER and request your free demo now.

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Find out how to bound over the other hellish hurdles to a perfect month-end close with the rest of our ‘month-end challenge’ blog series:

  1. Taming the Excel account specification beast in the month-end close
  2. Stop the supporting documentation devil creating hell at month-end
  3. Account reconciliation challenges: Meet the four-eyed approval demon
  4. Escape the account reconciliation overview nightmare