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Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

How to Ditch Spreadsheets and Achieve a Faster Financial Close

Nigel Youell
Senior Director

No matter the size of your organization, the monthly financial close can be a daunting effort. It often requires hundreds or thousands of tasks executed by scores of people working across the enterprise. And it’s inherently a rush job—every month.

Even if they automate some parts of the financial close process, organizations still must perform time-consuming double-checking and rework, with the potential for error growing each time someone touches the data.

Is there a better way?

Absolutely. By automating the entire end-to-end process, adding visibility and eliminating manual manipulation, users can compress days-long tasks into a single day—or even hours. Let’s look at how you can do this.

Financial Close Best Practices

An inability to holistically manage the close lies at the heart of the challenge. In my work, I often see fragmented processes with manual interventions and many disconnected spreadsheets. Errors are difficult to detect within the complex consolidation calculations, and there’s a lack of visibility into cash flow, intercompany transactions and other activity.

Clearly this is incongruous in an era of real-time data and connected enterprises. Yet, it’s understandable why so many financial departments don’t use the best tools and practices for financial consolidation and close. The cyclical nature of the close process leaves little time to research, develop, test and implement best practices.

The conundrum puts pressure and pain on both small and large enterprises, and growth compounds the hurt. Adding subsidiaries, new products, new geographies—really, anything new—requires manual updates throughout the system. Global commerce adds still more complexity to deal with different currencies and regulations.

Key Requirements to Accelerate the Close Process

Generally, a strong end-to-end financial close solution should:

  • Reduce the cycle times of individual close tasks
  • Add visibility and predictability to close processes
  • Ensure trust and reliability that the numbers are complete and accurate
  • Increase collaboration
  • Improve the consistency and quality of the financial close

When Oracle set out to create its latest financial close solution, we drew on our 35 years of building and implementing financial close solutions and focused on three key requirements:

  1. Delivering modern best practice out-of-the-box
  1. Addressing the extended close process comprehensively
  1. Making the solutions connected, secure and auditable

In this model, everything but data governance lives in the cloud. This makes automated close solutions affordable and accessible to small and medium companies that were once priced out of the market. The cloud functionality also enables flexible configuration without touching code; you can personalize the applications to your company’s specific needs, while keeping it upgrade-safe.

Huge Steps in Accelerating Financial Close

Financial close is a reality that all organizations must deal with. While automation has helped in parts of the process, modern solutions that enable end-to-end management can allow finance departments to make huge steps in accelerating the close.

Learn more in our ebook, "Your Complete Guide to Modern EPM."

 

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Comments ( 1 )
  • MAHESH KUMAR JOSYULA Tuesday, February 28, 2017
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