How To Give The Month-End Close A Digital Edge

Mario Spanicciati

CFOs are continually striving to gain more control over the month-end close. Although great strides have been made with control, statutory, and management reporting automation, there are still huge gaps in the process that traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) and corporate performance management (CPM) systems fail to fill.

If there is one phrase that summarizes the disappointment with the current approach, it’s lack of visibility. Yet this is probably the least expensive and easiest problem to fix.

Why?

Cloud-based platforms act as the connective tissue between all stakeholders in the process, joining them to each other and to the process itself. With this enhanced visibility, month-end close tasks, issues, and problems can be captured in a single computing environment without having to resort to emails, walking the floors, and impromptu meetings.

In an instant, it’s possible to improve productivity and enhance the quality of information and control. A pleasing byproduct of increased levels of collaboration is that users feel more fulfilled, so the entire user experience is enhanced.

Advancing your finance transformation initiatives

Moving to the cloud is transformational for accounting and finance teams, and it also delivers the visibility CFOs need for effective daily decision-making.

According to EY, 74% of CFOs see an understanding of digital, smart technologies, and analytics as a required skill, and McKinsey reports that only 30% say they’re prepared for the digitalization of business in the next five years.

By implementing a cloud-based finance automation platform, organizations gain a digital edge that will accelerate the month-end close and ensure accurate financial statements. But this begins with knowing what to look for to ensure you select the solution that can advance your finance transformation initiatives.

Identifying the right cloud solution

Solutions that are built specifically for the cloud offer a cohesive web-based UX and are customizable by business users. Further, they often have strong application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable easy integration with other cloud and on-premises apps in the finance technology landscape, like legacy ERPs or third-party supplier, invoicing, and banking and credit card systems.

With cybersecurity and continuity being top of mind for CFOs around cloud services, look for ISO 27001 certification as well as SOC 1/2/3 compliance. This ensures that the provider is dedicating the utmost security and highest level of controls around managing your application and securing your data.

Finance is following a hybrid model in how it deploys cloud apps. A hybrid approach blends new cloud technology with existing on-premises apps. New cloud apps, such as reconciliation automation or improved financial reporting, can be added without having to rip and replace old infrastructure by integrating new with old.

For success, look for cloud solutions that deliver rich, prebuilt connectivity to ERPs, strong SOAP and REST APIs, and the ability to reach across firewalls to connect to on-premises systems.

It’s time to take the lead

Now is the time for finance leaders to take the lead on technology decisions and ensure that their organizations are equipped to thrive in our digital world. As we move forward into the new finance landscape, digital savviness is key.

Incorporate applications that are designed to fill in the process gaps, including reconciliations, transaction matching, and task management. The end result provides a potent solution for CFOs seeking a step-change in capability rather than the incremental improvements that have characterized improvement initiatives in the past.

This article originally appeared on BlackLine.com and is republished by permission.

Learn more about “Creating A Roadmap Through The Financial Transformation Maze.”


Mario Spanicciati

About Mario Spanicciati

Mario Spanicciati is chief strategy officer at BlackLline, where he is responsible for driving global marketing strategy, developing strategic partnerships, and building out key alliances worldwide. Mario has worked alongside company CEO Therese Tucker since 2004 and headed up the company’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) operations, launched in London in 2013. Mario also led the company’s expansion into France and Germany with the opening of the BlackLine Paris office in 2015 and BlackLine Frankfurt in 2016. Under his direction, the BlackLine Financial Close Suite for SAP® Solutions became an SAP-endorsed business solution, joining the ranks of fewer than 40 other software offerings globally across all industries and categories. Prior to joining BlackLine, Mario was with Merrill Lynch. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Cornell University.