Due to growth through mergers and acquisitions, aggressive expansion during high growth periods and historical local system purchasing decisions, most finance organizations struggle to maintain a heterogeneous ERP application portfolio. “Many of our large, enterprise-class customers that have chosen to partner with SAP®, for example, have additional ERP systems such as Oracle®, NetSuite®, Microsoft Dynamics®, etc., and have identified challenges in regards to their financial close process due to the manual aggregation of information for period-end reporting that sits outside the ERP,” says Teresa Mackintosh, CEO at Trintech. “This manual work not only causes confusion, but can also make it difficult for companies to effectively deliver the required information for shareholder/ investor and regulatory reporting. This is what we call ‘white space’ and leads to high risk across the process and the business,” continues Mackintosh.
Traditionally, IT departments want to optimize automation by leveraging their existing ERP vendors to try and reduce costs. What may not be clear from those vendors, however, is that while the ERP plays a significant role in the management and automation of daily operations, it lacks the functionality to handle the complexity of the financial close process, leading to increased costs and risks to the finance organization and the overall business in the long run. As a result, finance organizations find themselves saddled with manual processes that sit outside the ERP functionality, leading to inefficiencies throughout the accounting period that culminate in a fragmented, lengthy and inefficient close. This leads to massive workload spikes and manual spreadsheet-driven activities that limit the time they can dedicate to driving the business forward. Also, the use of spreadsheets, email, disparate documents, and other tools to complete the close and fill in the missing technology results in serious risk to the quality of the numbers reported and substantiating documentation.
The majority of our customers have identified challenges in regards to their Record to Report process due to the manual work that sits outside of their ERP
Having to rework the numbers after the close, incurring re-audit fees from third party auditors, re-statements of earnings, and fines from governing bodies is becoming all too common.
So, what can be done to bridge these “white spaces” in the process to reduce the manual effort and ensure standardization and the integrity of the financial data? Whether you have automated none, some, or all your processes, it is critical to invest in technology that is built to support the complexity of the financial close process. Key criteria in the technology you choose should include a Risk Intelligent RPA™ functionality roadmap, existing RPA functionality, pre-built Connectors to your ERP of choice, and agnostic integration capabilities to immediately integrate the data of other ERPs and GL systems coming into the company. Furthermore, it is critical to have a console that provides a single view of the entire process across all business units and geographies.
By leveraging Record to Report technology coupled with a Risk Intelligent RPA™ approach, a company can effectively manage the entire Record to Report cycle in one place with a single view of all relevant controls. This purpose-built technology not only provides you with the means of collating all the critical data in a single view, but also can eliminate those white spaces that sit outside the ERP, allowing you to standardize across your business. “Through full optimization and agile processes, your employees can then focus their time and effort on identifying risk areas and bottlenecks, and communicating potential issues early and often, increasing their overall job satisfaction and improving the overall financial close process,” concludes Mackintosh.