GL Recons Beyond Spreadsheets
(This article is a follow-on to GL Recons with EXCEL is Dead which posed the questions about the unreliability of spreadsheet based GL reconciliations.
It’s all About Trust
As any CFO knows, the numbers that bubble up from the general ledger into the balance sheet need to be trustworthy. Trustworthy enough for bankers to loan capital against and for boards to strategize with. They need to be trusted enough for the CFO to sleep soundly on.
GreenLine Balance Sheet Integrity software reduces risk on the balance sheet by improving efficiencies in the GL reconciliation and month-end close process. It helps to minimize the risk of material errors and misstatements, resulting in more trustworthy financials.
GreenLine replaces spreadsheet recons and supporting ‘docs in a box’ with a central close-cloud and a major reduction in risk. Once setup, users eagerly adopt the software and it quickly produces results.
This thing was taken up by users around the country; they loved it from day one.
The main areas where GreenLine will deliver results include:
1. Better Fraud Detection
GreenLine provides a central platform for standardized reconciliations and the attachment of supporting documents at line item or at GL account level. This means that instead of requiring auditors to rummage through boxes to locate the supporting documents, they can login, locate, and review any reconciliation account from any period in seconds.
This leaves auditors time to look at the quality of the content which results in better screening of accounts and more opportunity to detect fraud.
Auditing the Auditors
The system generates a detailed audit log for any user activity, making it possible to review the history of Preparer and Checker activity. It can also report on auditor’s activities throughout the system. A quick report can answer the question, ‘Mr. Internal Auditor, what have you done for the year?’
Overall, this makes the whole process more trustworthy.
2. More Trust in the Numbers
For starters, the system gives the CFO comfort that all recons have been done.
Then, because no-one can prepare and approve their own recon, the CFO can be sure that each recon has a separate Preparer and Checker. And, because Checkers have all the info available on-screen, it is much more likely that they actually check the recons, which is another way of giving comfort in the numbers.
In addition, the CFO has one-click access to any recon and its supporting docs from the moment it’s approved. He can even reject a recon, which starts a workflow that unapproves it, informs the Checker and returns the recon to the original Preparer to redo.
Because the CFO has this kind of instant oversight and is able to pull recons at random, it puts pressure on financial staff to make sure they do their work diligently and it makes it more difficult to hide fraudulent activities.
I can put my head on a block that when most of those recons were signed off, the checker literally took that file and signed as fast as they could, because they had to get it to the courier.
3. Time Saving
The system saves time in many places.
For example, supporting docs before GreenLine:
- Had to be packed, collected and delivered by courier
- Then all these boxes had to be sorted and checked in
- Only then could the contents of the boxes be looked at
Other time-saving features include:
- Auto approval of static balance accounts
- One-click clone of a previous month’s recon
- Copy and paste into a recon directly from EXCEL
- Auto return to Preparer of disapproved recons
- Self-sign up for take-on of new users
One of our acquisitions used to finish their recons 60-days after month end. Now on GreenLine they deliver 6 or 7 days after we close.
4. Monitor your Month-End
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of a spreadsheet driven month-end is the inability to accurately judge progress and estimate completion times.
GreenLine offers a real-time view of progress with various dashboards, making it easy to review progress. It can show progress by region, by company, by branch all the way down to the individual recons holding up the final close.
If you would like to know more or if you have any questions about GreenLine, please call me on +27827778881.