How often have us finance staff found that we’re stuck in a desktop program and need help? And after clicking the Help-function, how often have we been sitting with an endless list of suggestions of how to solve the problem? We asked for help – but got the opposite.

  • How can help functions do what they are supposed to do – Help?

The tic-toc of our stressed minds

Each month-end close balance sheet reconciliation is stressful. It has to be correct but it also has to be quick, a usual mark of about 5 days is the norm – despite 90% of accounting professionals being under pressure to close faster and a mere 39% of finance staff being satisfied with the quality of the closing process.

Tempo, precision, tempo, precision…is the tic and the toc at the back of our minds, as we have accounts assigned to us, get hold of the general ledger balance, identify which sources will explain which amounts, and start minimizing the difference to end up with the truly open amounts and explanations for it.

Instead of continuing unproductive and ineffective (plus tedious and error prone) manual Excel reconciliation process, several companies have turned to Adra Match balance sheet reconciliation tool, BALANCER, as a tool for their month-end close and its reconciliations.

What about the help function in BALANCER, does it really ‘help’?

Besides the fact that help has been designed into every stage in the system so that hardly any user will wonder ‘how on earth this activity accomplished?’ much thought has gone into the help function.

The feedback from customers using the user interface is remarkably positive: Once passed, the quick introduction, hardly anyone needs to understand the system at all.

Instead, the interest was immediately moved onto the month-end close process of BALANCER. Why? Because even though companies carry out the month-end close each month, it seems reconciliations are done in different ways. There are few companies with a consistent and coherent process, and many people do it in their own way, even within the same department. As proven in our 2013 financial close benchmark report, download for free.

Sub processes, process, roles … and what?

There are legal requirements placed on the month-end close and its reconciliations (the Sarbanes Oxley Act is still among the toughest regulations) and there are practice standards. But they are difficult to fulfil, since it is done manually and in an Excel document. Therefore the interest for BALANCER among our customers. 

What is offered? Designed to meet the highest demands of Governance, Risk and Compliance, BALANCER offers a straight-forward flow and strict user roles, which reduces the need for tedious handwritten manual policies and procedures.

But it was ‘help’ within programmes and tools we are addressing here. For this, understanding the different steps is important, and BALANCER offers overviews for all users to quickly grasp the different steps.

BALANCER offers a graphic view of the necessary steps different users are required to do. Below are the steps necessary for a person in order to reconcile one account, to certify it is correctly prepared:  

Blog 2 Prepare account

When asked if the solution was ‘helpful enough’, here’s what some BALANCER users have said about the above ‘how-to’ info graphic: “Yes, that is a good and common standard process that we definitely should apply to our own accounting processes” was one spontaneous comment. But as you get the grip of this sub-process carried out by a preparer, approver and by a reviewer, the need to get the grasp of each of the different roles and tasks here and there grows (as for the roles of the preparer, the approver, the reviewer and the business administrator). Certain questions need to be answered before the month-end close process even begins: What is this user’s responsibility? What are this user’s rights? Where does this user intervene (and not)? – However, with BALANCER, these segregated roles and visibilities are already set out.

 

An overview with the different roles (with simplified persona portraits) of the different roles is presented too:

Quick Guide to BALANCER

But usually user documentation means you get hold of the full manual. Not in BALANCER. Instead there are manuals for each user role where only the relevant information is presented (and all of the irrelevant stuff is skipped). Therefore it is easier to quickly grasp how the month-end close process can be easily set up and carried out by each person at your company. With the role documentation it is more likely to be read since you will only read what is of your concern. Then every user will know which part to play and when to get involved in the process.

When help is built into the system – want to see?

With specialist balance sheet reconciliation software BALANCER, you can achieve a smarter month-end close process and have it done in a fraction of the time of that in a less advanced or more manual system. Many typical financial software user problems have been avoided here, just as Smart phone producers made people utilize functions only civil engineers could master before.

Take the next step:

Watch a three or thirty minute video presentation to see how BALANCER works to provide a more accurate and timely month-end close, all available in the Cloud (Software as a Service solution, SaaS).

Or why not contact us for a free trial?

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