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How much time is spent reconciling accounts (on average)? Is there a product that does this for you?

Answers

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

I spend as much time as needed to ensure accuracy. This is especially important when other users have a hand in data entry. I find AP not classed correctly or consistently often.

Jane Levin
Title: Corporate Controller
Company: Private
(Corporate Controller, Private) |

I think that question varies entirely by company. Things like size, # of transactions, # of accounts, # of entities, # of bank accounts, and so on. The variety is infinite, so it's tough to give a single answer. Now I agree with Christie wholeheartedly that it needs to be, "as much time as needed to ensure accuracy", but how you get there is what's interesting.

There are automated systems that greatly help with that process, such as http://www.blackline.com/solutions/account-reconciliations/ and http://www.treasurysoftware.com/bank-reconciliation.html and there are others. Those take data feeds from various systems and matches up transactions while spitting out exceptions (being broadly general here) and can greatly reduce the manual effort involved.

A past company I worked at outsourced first level reconciliation offshore to US CPAs so there were many, inexpensive hands at the task. Then only exceptions and questions got kicked to the US Controller's organization. Plus, those folks worked when we were asleep (they were in Asia) so during an accelerated close process they would help us make time.

Finally, to take a stab at your actual question, my current company tries to reconcile all month end accounts w/in 2-3 business days. But I have been at companies that took a week to do that work, so it depends.

Patricia Hickey
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: CCS
(Chief Financial Officer, CCS) |

I agree with Christie - as much time as is necessary. Some months go faster than others. But because it can take up so much time and slow down the close process, I am looking at software that can help.

Michael Sipos
Title: Enterprise Account Executive
Company: Trintech
LinkedIn Profile
(Enterprise Account Executive, Trintech) |

The previous posts make some very good points. However, first you need to differentiate between bank/operational reconciliations that often occur daily and general ledger/balance sheet reconciliations which typically occur monthly or quarterly. The process and solutions to reconcile each type can be very different.

I am a Regional Enterprise Sales Manager for Trintech, one of the leading providers of solutions for the Record-to-Report process, including reconciliations. From the time a transaction occurs through financial statements being issued, Cadency automates the entire Record-to-Report cycle through enterprise-wide transparency, governance and control. Trintech's solutions are used by more than 100,000 users across 650 organizations in 41 countries rely on Trintech, including half of the Fortune 50 and 25% of the Fortune 500.

Denise Odette
Title: Project Lead
Company: TFP
(Project Lead, TFP) |

Too much time per account, but we are continuing to improve with automation. I am working on a global implementation project to put all our sites on an Account Reconciliation workflow. I am an accountant with a background in Sox compliance. I wanted to improve our compliance effectiveness in addition to saving money and time. Six Sigma validated the process improvements and cost savings for a pilot Blackline automation at one of our largest sites. Since that time, I have leveraged the time and money savings and implemented more then 100 global sites without the use of any consultants.

There are several workflow solutions that you can investigate to determine what is the best fit for your company. We chose our solution based on the low IT support needed, the ease of implementation on all types of ERP systems, our global locations (multi currency and language) and the cost. Great question and I wish you success.

Rick Anderson
Title: CFO
Company: ERP Surestep
(CFO, ERP Surestep) |

We have previously spent a lot of time on reconciliations but just started to use BalanceRecon which allowed us to keep our current processes in place. It was crucial to us that we didn't have to go through a long implementation process, we were up and running very fast. It have saved us for many hours of manual work!

Annette Grotz
Title: Founder
Company: Whiteboard Marketing
(Founder, Whiteboard Marketing) |

There are a number of products that automate the account reconciliation process.

You will want to have a must-have-feature list that you and your finance team put together prior to your search.

Some things to consider, as Rick mentions, implementation time and cost. Also consider how you get your data back should you decide to switch vendors.

While timeliness is important, consider how vendors also deal with accuracy and completeness of your reconciliations.

Full disclosure: I work for SkyStem - an account reconciliation automation solution that helps you cut down the time spent on account reconciliations for a more controlled financial close.

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

I will point out that the amount of time spent on reconciling accounts is heavily dependent on the transaction capture process. Reconciliation systems works but if the sources of data are not comparable or consistent, then you will STILL end up with a ton of exception reports that you will at the end still spend considerable manhours.

I would focus more on consistent data capture/sources.

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