Changing the Game: 5 Powerful Features of Close Management Software
Jul 24, 2019 | By John Siegel
Do you find yourself sitting at your computer, head in hand, after another chaotic month-end close in your accounting department thinking “There’s got to be a better way to do this!”
There is. It’s called close management software.
Close management software was designed to streamline the often-disorganized and highly-manual month-end close process. At its core, it’s a way for accounting team leaders to replace the numerous status update meetings they’re accustomed to running with a singular dashboard that offers visibility into all outstanding tasks and where they are at.
As beneficial as this might be, close management software also offers accounting teams much more than transparency. Here are five ways FloQast helps accountants.
If someone was out for a week with a nasty case of the flu, could your team still complete the close?
Chris Zuniga, Director of Accounting for The Center For Family Support, quickly realized that most of the work his accountants were conducting were based off information they had memorized over the years. There was no existing documentation.
“Everyone’s processes and procedures were in their heads,” he remembered. “If a team member was out of the office or on vacation, I wouldn’t know where they were.”
Close management software offers one, central place to manage the close, housing documents, checklists, and reconciliations. The software allows you to define repeatable workflow and offers transparency so your team can see what everyone is working on, adding a new level of accountability into the mix.
“FloQast keeps people honest,” Zuniga said. “The system can tell you what’s next if you’re done with something, so there’s no wiggle room for BS."
Having information and processes in a central location will make onboarding new team members a breeze and will eliminate the tribal knowledge of an accounting department that can make it difficult for it to function.
Work Better Together
Does everyone know the plan and the role they have to play in the month-end close? Getting your team to collaborate more efficiently will help save time, energy, and resources. Defining workflows and standardizing processes will cut down on questions and clarifying conversations about where something stands, not to mention the duplication of efforts.
FloQast is not only a central place where everything can be stored, like supporting documents, but it is a central place where everyone can communicate. You can communicate with team members on specifics regarding the close when you use Review Notes in FloQast.
In the case of polyurethane foam manufacturer, Innocor, FloQast became the tool to get the company's team of geographically-distributed and often-traveling team of accountants on the same page, dramatically reducing the number of status update meetings needed.
“We were very excited about knowing where everybody stood, consistently,” said Odete Vieira, Innocor’s Senior Accountant. “We used to have twice daily status meetings by phone, but after we started using FloQast, we don’t have them anymore. We just meet once a week now. It’s made a big difference."
Set It and Forget It
How many lines and transactions does your team have to reconcile? Hundreds? Thousands? Your accounting team is great, but robots are great too and maybe your accounting team’s time would be better spent elsewhere. Account reconciliation software like FloQast Reconciliation Management uses AI that can offer account reconciliation automation. Taking away the work of manual transaction matching will expedite your reconciliation process and free up your accountants to focus on analysis and other higher-level financial problem-solving. This could literally save your team days each month.
Manual processes are also notoriously more error-prone. Automating the reconciliation process will help you produce higher quality financial reports with fewer errors.
It took Joel Theimer, Accounting Coordinator for Demme Learning, several days to manually match transactions and the first time he used FloQast Matching, 97% were matched in minutes, a dramatic improvement for the company.
“I’m comfortable that Matching won’t miss a digit. It’s not going to transpose numbers and match something that it shouldn’t, where my eyes just running over a file might,” said Theimer.
Plays Well With Others
As a company built by accountants, the FloQast team is keenly aware of just how fond finance and accounting professionals are of Excel. FloQast's Excel-integrated approach offers a robust close management solution without the need for webforms.
Director of Financial Systems at Welltok, Judith Mageras had a very specific set of needs when shopping for account reconciliation software. It needed to integrate appropriately with Intacct — including a built-in fixed asset system, contract modules, and tools to facilitate ASE 606 — all tools that the team was already using and were vital to her team’s success. FloQast had a seamless integration with the ERP.
In fact, FloQast gets along with pretty much everybody and that includes Oracle NetSuite and Sage Intacct, SAP, Microsoft, and Workday.
Fix It Faster
Faster feedback means faster fixes. For many accounting teams, conducting fluctuation analysis each month isn't possible — at least consistently — given how time-consuming the process is. Using FloQast Flux Analysis, you will be able to understand if a General Ledger balance has materially changed from one period to another by a percentage or fixed amount, helping identify and report issues as quickly as possible.
Repeating the same processes each month with documentation is also going to shed light on how you can improve. FloQast's close management software will allow you to see where there are bottlenecks in your process and where there are opportunities for improvement in your month-end close. Your analysis of existing processes can be done in real-time, using month-over-month metrics to help you reallocate resources.