Companies that automate their financial reconciliation processes can benefit from faster month-end closes, greater accuracy and improved transparency.
What is automatic reconciliation?
At its most basic, financial reconciliation is where two sets of data or records are compared and checked for parity. If there are anomalies, these need to be investigated and resolved before the two sets of figures can be said to be reconciled.
In finance, bank accounts are regularly reconciled with the figures in an accounting package to make sure that the balances match with what is expected. Reconciliations are typically done every month, as banks will send monthly statements and these can be used as the basis for the reconciliation. But some companies will reconcile even daily. When reconciliation is done more frequently, there are fewer transactions to be checked, making it easy to spot inconsistencies.
Manual reconciliation is laborious and time-consuming. But accounting software and specialised add-ons can undertake reconciliation automatically. Automated reconciliation can speed up accounting processes, automatically checking bank statements against records in a company’s accounts software.
The month-end close requires many account reconciliation tasks that take time and can be arduous. But automating reconciliations processes can be beneficial. Here’s how.
With automatic reconciliation, the process is done quickly. All cash outgoings and receipts are rapidly checked to marry up bank accounts with the records held on your accounts package. Checking that totals match with your balance sheet, cashflow, capital and income statements is so much faster compared with manually checking spreadsheets.
Automatic reconciliation comes without the kinds of mistakes that humans make. Finding an anomaly by trawling through different spreadsheets or paper-based accounts records is tedious, and therefore prone to human error; it’s easy to miss a sum or misread a figure. Not spotting the discrepancy can create a lot of extra work, as the team tries to resolve issues in time to complete the month close. With manual reconciliation, the prospect of staying late, maybe over several days, to ensure an accurate month-end close is all too realistic. But automation brings the kind of algorithmic precision that allows any anomalies to be easily and swiftly detected.
3. Confidence in your accounts
Automated reconciliation brings an assurance that your accounts are consistent and accurate. Not only can any instances of monies going into the wrong account be swiftly rectified, but you also have the assurance that your business-critical financial decisions will always be based on accurate information.
4. Fraud reduction
Because it’s accurate and fast, automated reconciliation can help guard against fraud. Any irregularities will be quickly picked up and can be investigated without delay, meaning fraud – if it happens – is likely to be at lower levels and therefore less damaging to the organisation.
5. Staff satisfaction
Manual reconciliation is laborious and repetitive. But automation makes it less arduous for staff. There’s no need to go through massive folders of printouts or to open a series of spreadsheets so that figures can be manually checked. This maintains team motivation and staff satisfaction, as staff are relieved of the repetitive manual work and can concentrate on other tasks.
6. Improved transparency
During the reconciliation process, using automated systems means that everyone is on the same page and can clearly see the progress that is jointly being made towards the month-end close. There’s no need to have separate calls and meetings to find out what is happening or what has and hasn’t been done. This is especially important for operations that are global, or that have multiple entities, as this can give much better visibility of who is doing what and when. There is a clear view of every transaction that has been processed, which everyone in the Finance department can see.
Accounts software to automate reconciliation
Checking that key sets of figures are accurate and marry up is a critical responsibility of the Finance function. Getting it right means that a company can be certain that its financial accounts are accurate and consistent.
Companies need to put robust processes in place, and automating reconciliation speeds the process up and ensures confidence in financial reporting and the department as a whole.
NetSuite, the cloud ERP system that unifies business financial management, was named a Leader in Gartner’s 2020 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Core Financial Management report. It is designed to give you visibility and control over your financial accounting, streamlining processes and delivering insight into your business data. In tandem with NetSuite, Adra by Trintech brings enhanced automatic reconciliation that simplifies your financial close. For a demonstration, or more information, book an appointment now or contact us.