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What are the best software options to streamline financial close and the consolidation process?

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Topic Expert
Sunil Thukral
Title: Controller/Technical Accounting Advisory..
Company: Consultant
(Controller/Technical Accounting Advisory/ SEC Reporting, Consultant) |

This question is very broad question so unable to answer it till the time get a better understanding of your system requirements. I have helped many companies improve their financial reporting close processes and implement systems controls that have added efficiency to their operations. Hence, I will provide a general comment here.

Sometimes it is not the software but how you organize the operations to conduct systems close process that is important. Also it is very important that all the persons involved in conducting and reviewing the systems close have a very good knowledge as to how the accounting and consolidation process works, including proper elimination of the amounts.

Always apply the words "GIGO" (i.e. "Garbage IN Garbage OUT") for assessing any new software system for your organization. You might get the best and most expensive system in the world, but if you/your staff do not know know how to use it or record the amounts in the right data fields, you will get wrong results.

For example, I had helped a company with their foreign exchange project. In this project some of the foreign currency translation amounts (i.e. translating the amounts from foreign currency to local currency) were required to be recorded in cumulative translation account (that is a component of "Equity"), but this company was recording these foreign currency translation amounts in "foreign exchange gain/loss" account (i.e with the "Income statement"). So it was nightmare to reconcile these two accounts, namely the cumulative translation account within "Equity" and "Foreign currency gain/loss") before we closed the books. This is despite the fact that the software had the capability to track the amounts correctly.

The bottom line is that it is not always a great idea to jump at buying the latest and the most expensive software. It is more important to understand your requirements and train the staff appropriately before investing in the software.

Topic Expert
Philip Boken
Title: Principal Advisor & Founder
Company: PCB & Company
(Principal Advisor & Founder, PCB & Company) |

In my experience, a good rute to follow in streamlining the close is to capture and actively manage against the checklist of activities. 3 software applications designed to help here are BlackLine, Trintech, and Chesapeake Systems. Prior to use of such software, capturing via excel is a good initial method

Topic Expert
Sunil Thukral
Title: Controller/Technical Accounting Advisory..
Company: Consultant
(Controller/Technical Accounting Advisory/ SEC Reporting, Consultant) |

Hi Philip.....I agree with you that the checklists are great to use. For starters it is always good to start with Excel. However, you can then assess other software based on the size and type of your business.

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