There seems to be an innovation for every problem in today’s world, so why are finance staff still expected to make a trade-off between speed and accuracy of the financial close? 

In a recent Adra Match survey, a whopping 72% of finance staff stated that they do not trust the reported financial close figures. This shocking statistic shows that finance staff are still struggling with the financial close process, but why should this be the case in the digital age?

The Adra Match financial close benchmark report includes the results of a recent survey of finance professionals from across Europe and America (US) and reveals some worrying statistics. For some more shocking stats download the full financial close benchmark report or get a simple overview with the financial close snapshot infographic.

As well as only 28% of finance staff trusting the reported numbers, the survey also found that:

  • Only 15% of front-line finance staff trusted the reported figures, compared to 30% of managerial staff (Tweet this stat!)
  • 90% of finance staff are under pressure for a faster monthly close (Tweet this stat!)
  • Only 39% of finance staff are satisfied with the quality of the closing process (Tweet this stat!

A trade-off

 ”The trade-off between accuracy and timeliness creates challenges in the accounting process.” (Tweet this quote) – said one financial close survey respondent.

But why should there be a trade-off in the first place? Let’s look at some of the hurdles impeding finance professionals in their own words.

”There’s an over-reliance on Excel. Tracking changes is always difficult.” – For us in finance, segregation of duties and a clear audit trail is of utmost importance. While we ensure it happens everywhere else, Excel spreadsheet reconciliations are almost impossible to trace. And just how and why specific sums are reconciled is a challenge to trace too. We know the demands on Segregation of Duties and Audit Trail, so why should we accept such trade offs when it comes to Excel reconciliations?

Financial Director, Financial Department, team strategy, productivity, cognitive surplus

”There are too many manual processes. The more paperless and electronically streamlined, the better.” –The Adra Match survey also found that there was a mix of archiving solutions being used by finance staff. Surprisingly, nearly 12% of finance staff still use binders to organise their archive, while over 50% use a combination of digital archives and binders (Tweet this stat!)

Using binders or a mix of digital archives and binders makes finding the necessary pieces of data much harder and increases the time needed to complete your monthly close process. It can also make it much harder to swiftly deal with eDiscovery or audit requests, jeopardising your business’s financial integrity.

”We do our accounting in ERP, reconciling in Excel. We also complete both entering and reporting with an in-house system  – 3 different applications!” –Using different specialist programs to complete your monthly close process can be useful, but manually transferring data between programs is time-consuming and prone to errors. A trade-off of both time and accuracy.

Overcoming the trade-off

With an enhanced financial close software solution, such as Adra Match’s new accounts overview software BALANCER, finance professionals no longer need to balance the trade-off between speed and accuracy. Instead we can enjoy the best of both worlds by combining the power of an all-in-one financial close solution, like BALANCER, with a good quality ERP solution to cut down on time-consuming manual tasks while ensuring accuracy and compliance.

The BALANCER software features:

  • Automated account reconciliation process
  • Clear audit trail by assigning changes to user IDs
  • Follow-up approval alerts to help progress the workflow
  • Management of the whole process, including your corporate governance and risk management, from a single dashboard
  • In-depth reports from within the programme
  • A fully digital archive

To discover all the features and benefits of the new Cloud-based reconciliation software, BALANCER from Adra Match and to start automating your monthly close today watch Adra Match’s balance sheet reconciliation software BALANCER video to discover the benefits it brings to your finance department.

When managing the monthly close balancing act which do you usually favour: speed or accuracy? Let us know in the comments below or find us on Twitter or LinkedIn.