Speed and quality are contradictious. More speed means less quality. More quality means less speed. But the demands on financial staff for the month end close process are to satisfy both. Speed AND quality. How on earth?

The pressure is on for finance staff to complete the month end close process faster, according to a new Adra Match survey of European and US financial accounting professionals.For all of us working on the front-line of the month end close process, this will not come as a great surprise. The monthly close process was aptly described as ‘a mad dash’ by a number of the finance professionals surveyed, a sentiment most, if not all financial accounting professionals can relate to.

Besides being no fun at all, this financial ‘mad dash’ means that in over 70% of cases, financial reports are not being filed for at least four days past the deadline Tweet this stat. And if the manually processed accounts are open longer than they should be, your business might be in for troubles: The business becomes exposed to risk, it will certainly run into problems with your local regulator, and it has the risk of having material misstatements (which is a heftier challenge today than before – see Adra Match’s earlier blog: ‘Relying on the auditor – oops, suddenly it’s illegal‘).

This finance professional mirrors the overall results of the survey where they explain that: finance staff are under significant pressure to: ”achieve a faster, more reliable close, and to make it efficient”.

–     So, your gut feeling of the pressure and the need for a faster closure of the books is shared by other finance staff.

>>>Download the free financial close report infographic for an overview of the survey results  <<<

Not only are the demands on the financial close that it is to be speedier, risk-free and segregate duties and audit trails. But also that there is reliability of the close process. The main challenge for most US and European financial accounting professionals is that: Only 28% of finance staff trusted the reported numbers Tweet this stat. But as one starts to break those survey figures down it is revealed that of the front-line financial accounting staff, only 15% trusted the numbers Tweet this stat

So most financial staff working directly with the raw data doesn’t trust their own reported numbers. These are horrible facts. Horrible, because the numbers reported in our balance sheet and profit & loss statements, must be correct. Whilst this survey proves the opposite.

The financial close benchmark report also reveals that one other key area for concern is risk in the account reconciliation process. One important reason is that a vast amount of finance staff are still using spreadsheets to reconcile their accounts. But unfortunately spreadsheets do not track which user has made which changes, making the separation of duties difficult, if not impossible, to monitor.

Month end close process, faster month end close

Doesn’t it seem strange that while the finance departments use of technology to automate a lot of their processes, the ‘account reconciliation process’ use of technology has hardly progressed since the 1980s? Why?

–     Isn’t time to bring the arduous account reconciliation challenge into the digital age too!

With an automated “Balance Sheet Reconciliation Process” solution?

Adra Match believes that a tipping point has been reached within financial accounting. By automating the reconciliation process as well as its workflow, you and your colleagues can in no time and with ease do to the proper reconciliations you ought to do (and want to do), fulfilling the your companies reconciliation policies, producing excellent supporting documentation, and with no extra work keep your Financial Directors and CFOs on top of the approval processes. Speedy, reliable, no risk, best segregation of duties and an impressing audit trail, that is.

–     Your stressed gut feeling (and the stress of other finance staff) would undoubtedly be under less pressure if reconciliation was quicker and the approval process wasn’t so challenging to progress each month. 

Adra Match’s new enhanced accounts reconciliation BALANCER software combines the awesome power of Adra Match’s automated reconciliation software with automated workflows to ensure a fast, accurate month end close process without the hassle of the financial ‘mad dash’.

Discover why Adra Match thinks BALANCER the enhanced financial accounting software is a game changer for all financial accounting professionals. Get a comprehensive overview of the benefits of BALANCER accounts overview software video.

Don’t forget, if you want to read the financial close benchmark survey full results you candownload them absolutely free.