Tuesday, March 25, 2014 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT
Five Steps to Redesigning the Financial Close Application
Brian Willson, TopDown Consulting
When a company decides to rebuild or redesign its financial-close application, it is often influenced by a major event such as a merger or new reporting requirements. Whatever the case, this is a great opportunity to streamline the close process. Moreover, by designing an application that minimizes the amount of changes that require testing, you can effectively reduce the maintenance effort.
TopDown Consulting’s Solutions Architect Brian Wilson will address the five critical steps found in any redesign, including:
1. Defining the application’s utility: Clearly define what the application is used for, and cut the clutter. For example, if the primary objective of the application is to meet the requirements for external reporting, the application should only include data needed to produce a balance and income statement, and should leave out any data used primarily for internal reporting.
2. Reducing the number of accounts: This reduces the amount of time to load data and also reduces the number of accounts that need to be reconciled. In some cases, it can even reduce the amount of data that must be manually entered.
3. Reducing the number of entities: The more entities that must be consolidated, the longer the consolidation will take. Similarly, the more entity hierarchies that are in an application, the more consolidations will need to be run.
4. Reducing manual input: Manual data should be limited once data is in the consolidation application, particularly at the base entity level, as this level typically involves a large number of users. The more these users have to change the data after it is loaded, the more likely there is to be a delay. With differences in time zones, these delays can result in days added to the close process.
5. Designing the application with minimized maintenance in mind: At the end of the day, if maintenance is required during the close, it will slow the process. Instead, changes should be fully vetted in a test environment and then moved to production.