Continuous accounting is an approach to a company’s accounting cycles management that embraces the advancements in information technology and redefines the operations and role of finances in the corporate structure. Continuous Accounting transforms the way business processes work by emphasizing real-time processing, especially skilled employees, and deep analysis. The result is a more efficient close, more accurate financials, and a more effective organization
The chaotic business conditions of the past two years have invalidated most of the assumptions and planning processes that served businesses so well in the decade prior. When history no longer offers an accurate forecast of the future, planning gets more difficult and more frequent—and the need for accurate and timely data becomes paramount.
The value of more frequent updates should suggest a better process for keeping the books up to date. Continuous accounting leverages technology to achieve those goals. And it starts with technology for finance, but isn’t limited to just that.
A faster period close process has two significant benefits. It gives executives in the business timelier access to the very latest data available, enabling them to make quicker and better-informed decisions. For the CFO and finance team, less time spent on closing the books means more time providing the analysis and insight that the business needs to make key decisions. They can provide input into scaling operations up or down in response to cash flow demands or changing market conditions, or how to reallocate resources in order to jump on an emerging opportunity.
At the same time, however, there is no room to sacrifice accuracy for speed. There are ways to have both. Smart finance teams are now employing ‘continuous accounting.’ Continuous accounting distributes the finance team’s workload evenly over an accounting period. If tasks normally associated with period close – such as reconciliations – are embedded in day-to-day activities throughout the month or quarter, there’s no last-minute demand for extra work as period end approaches, speeding up the process of closing the books.
ITG with Oracle NetSuite delivers a complete financial management solution for companies ready to begin moving from a standard, event-driven close process to a continuous accounting approach. With NetSuite’s cloud architecture, accounting staff have access to the information they need to do their jobs from anywhere with an internet connection.
Every organization needs to be able to close the books accurately and on time, but the ERP systems used to run and automate the operational side of the business fall short when it comes to account reconciliation. SMBs with ambitions to scale and grow need to be able to shake off the cumbersome manual burden of the month-end close.
Finance and accounting leaders are increasingly being called to do more and serve as strategic advisors to the business. As the scope of their role continues to evolve, accounting teams often struggle with capacity issues as their required compliance, controls, and other record-to-report work leaves little to no time to meet the demands of their expanding roles.
Doing work the way it’s always been done is not sustainable. Modern accounting is meant to change this by automating traditionally manual, repetitive tasks and by enabling modern accounting. Modern accounting means providing complete and accurate results in real time, without the chaos of traditional manual close processes.
Just as ERPs have expanded from the enterprise to the SMB, BlackLine is able to bring the benefits of the automated close enjoyed by larger organizations to the mid-market in the shape of the Modern Accounting Playbook (MAP). Building on the experiences of thousands of customers, MAP delivers an expertly-curated playbook for your organization’s finance transformation journey, supporting both existing financial requirements and future growth as the business scales.
The foundation of MAP is Core, or the essentials for a streamlined and automated close. Core delivers visibility into close tasks, best practice templates for account reconciliations, and pre-set rules for bank transaction matching.
ITG with Blackline aims to streamline and automate your financial close, integrating with your disparate financial systems every step of the way. Blackline provides matching, reconciliation, and auto-certification using configurable business rules, process and workflow management for reconciliations organized around accounts and transactions, and further individual close optimizations such as intercompany reconciliation, open items clearing, close management, and variance analysis.