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October 14, 2023
Min Read

Financial Close Software: Ultimate Guide

Unlock faster, more accurate financial closes with our ultimate guide to Financial Close Software. Learn the must-have features, benefits, and how to choose the right solution for your business.

Dennis Shirshikov
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Financial close software, often referred to as 'close management software' or 'month-end close software,' streamlines and automates the financial closing process for organizations. 

Financial close software is specifically designed to reduce manual effort, minimize errors, and ensure a faster and more accurate financial close cycle. Such software integrates with an enterprise's existing ERP, providing tools like reconciliation management, journal entry tracking, and financial reporting functionalities.

One of the best ways to understand financial close software is to see a demo firsthand. Numeric has built the best overall financial close software and teams can get started on the free plan today or sign-up for a full tour of the product via a demo. 

What Financial Close Software Does

Financial close software is not just another tool; it's an essential part of the modern accounting arsenal.

Some key things financial close software does include:

  • Reconciliation Management: One of the primary reasons many organizations adopt this software is its ability to automate account reconciliations. By comparing the GL and various subledgers, it ensures that the balances match and there are no discrepancies. Automated reconciliations not only save time but also reduce the chances of human error.
  • Journal Entry Tracking: Keeping tabs on countless journal entries can be a daunting task. Financial close software provides a systematic approach to creating, reviewing, and approving journal entries. This ensures consistency and transparency throughout the closing process.
  • Task Management: The financial close process involves sometimes upwards of hundreds of tasks, each with its timeline. The software offers task management features built specifically for accountants, ensuring that every task is completed on time and in the right sequence.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Top close management software includes the ability to generate detailed financial reports, including flux reports. These reports provide insights into the financial close process, how teams are pacing over time, and highlight any bottlenecks or areas for improvement.
  • Integration Capabilities: Most financial close software solutions seamlessly integrate with other financial systems, such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or accounting software. This ensures a smooth flow of data and enhances the efficiency of the close process.

When to Use Financial Close Software

Financial Close Software, an integral tool for modern financial operations, comes into play whenever businesses need to ensure accurate, efficient, and timely closure of their financial books. Designed to interface seamlessly with other financial tools and systems, it offers a robust solution to traditional challenges faced during the financial close cycle.

Specific use cases for financial close software include:

  • Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Close Cycles: Every organization, irrespective of its size or industry, goes through regular financial closing cycles. These can be monthly, quarterly, or yearly. The software ensures that each close is executed with precision and within the stipulated time frame.
  • Complex Financial Environments: Companies with multiple subsidiaries or operating in various geographies often have complex financial structures. Such environments demand a solution that can handle multi-entity, multi-currency, and multi-tiered financial close processes.
  • Regulatory Compliance: With ever-changing financial regulations, businesses need to ensure they remain compliant. Financial close software often comes with built-in regulatory reporting tools, making it easier for organizations to adhere to local and international standards.
  • Auditing and Internal Review: For businesses that undergo frequent internal reviews or external audits, the software acts as a one-stop repository for all closing data. This not only streamlines the audit process but also ensures data integrity and transparency.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: During M&A activities, there's a need for integrating different financial systems and ensuring a unified closing process. The software can be pivotal in such scenarios, providing a harmonized approach to financial consolidation.
  • Informed Business Decisions: For organizations that rely on accounting data to make pivotal business decisions and ensure the business is on the right track, the software's reporting tools can be invaluable. By accessing accurate close data, teams can make more informed projections and decisions.
  • Business Process Outsourcing: Companies that outsource their financial operations can use this software as an intermediary tool, ensuring that both the company and the outsourcing entity are on the same page regarding financial close processes.

How Does Financial Close Software Work

Financial close software transforms the traditionally complex financial close process into a streamlined, efficient, and error-minimized routine. By automating many manual tasks and integrating seamlessly with other financial systems, it brings unparalleled accuracy and speed to the close cycle. 

For the software to function optimally, certain inputs are required:

  • Financial Data: This includes all transactions, journal entries, ledgers, and any other relevant financial data. Typically, the software integrates with existing financial systems to pull this information.
  • Task Lists: A predefined set of tasks or checklist items that need to be accomplished during the close process.
  • Reconciliation Items: Data from different financial records that need to be reconciled against each other, such as bank statements vs accounting ledgers.
  • Compliance and Regulatory Requirements: Specific rules or reporting formats mandated by regulatory bodies.

Upon receiving the inputs, the software gets to work:

  • Automated Reconciliations: It auto-matches entries from different datasets, highlighting discrepancies for manual review and resolving straightforward matches.
  • Task Management and Workflow: Based on the input task list, the software auto-assigns tasks to designated team members each month, monitors progress, and sends reminders or alerts for any delays.
  • Journal Entry Automation: For repetitive and standard transactions, the software can auto-generate journal entries, reducing manual data entry.
  • Compliance Checks: It automatically checks all entries and reports against the predefined compliance and regulatory standards, flagging any anomalies.

After processing the inputs and executing its automated functions, the software delivers:

  • Reconciliation Reports: A detailed overview of reconciled items, discrepancies, and any manual interventions required.
  • Task Completion Overviews: Reports on tasks completed, pending items, or any deviations from the planned schedule.
  • Compliance Alerts: Notifications of any non-compliance issues that need to be addressed.
  • Audit Trails: A comprehensive log of all actions taken within the software, ensuring transparency and accountability.

Financial close software acts as a bridge between raw financial data and the final closed books, ensuring a seamless, automated, and accurate transition. By reducing manual interventions and emphasizing compliance, it ensures that finance departments can close their books faster and with greater confidence.

How Much Financial Close Software Costs

Determining the cost of financial close software can be akin to navigating a dynamic financial landscape: varied, complex, and influenced by multiple factors. These software solutions, paramount for ensuring a seamless and efficient financial close process, come at diverse price points based on several determinants. Let's dive into the typical cost structures and the elements that influence them.

Factors that can be part of the financial close software costs include:

  • Cloud-Based (SaaS): Software-as-a-Service models operate on a subscription basis, usually monthly or annually. Updates, maintenance, and some level of support are typically included.
  • User Licenses: The number of users or seats required can significantly influence the total cost. Some providers offer tiered pricing based on the number of users, while others may charge a flat fee.
  • Features and Functionalities: Basic versions come with core functionalities, but as you integrate advanced features like AI-powered analytics, multi-entity support, or advanced reporting capabilities, the price can escalate.
  • Integration Needs: Costs can vary based on the software's ability to integrate seamlessly with existing systems, such as ERP solutions or other financial tools. Custom integrations may carry additional charges.
  • Training and Support: While some providers offer complimentary initial training and basic support, intensive training programs or premium support levels might increase the overall cost.
  • Customizations: Tailoring the software to match specific organizational processes or requirements can lead to additional fees.

While Financial Close Software is undeniably a valuable asset for any finance department, its cost can vary widely. It's crucial to assess not just the immediate price but also the long-term return on investment, considering factors like time saved, reduced errors, and enhanced compliance. As always, prospective buyers should request detailed quotes from multiple vendors, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of included features and potential additional costs.

How to Select the Best Financial Close Software

Choosing the right financial close software is pivotal for optimizing your financial processes, ensuring accuracy, and achieving timely closes. However, the myriad of options available can make the selection daunting. 

Key considerations for selecting financial close software include:

  • Integration Capabilities: Seamless integration with existing financial systems and tools. Compatibility with ERP solutions or other accounting software currently in use.
  • User Experience: Intuitive interface ensuring ease of use and availability of training resources or webinars.
  • Features and Functionalities: Core features like automated reconciliations, task management that includes dependencies and auto-review, and email/Slack digests of outstanding tasks and team progress. Advanced capabilities like AI-driven flux analysis or policy generation, multi-entity support, and monitoring tools to flag any entry out of policy.
  • Customization Potential: Ability to tailor software based on unique business processes, particularly reporting and search needs. Flexibility in adapting to organizational growth and changing needs.
  • Security and Compliance: Robust security measures to protect sensitive financial data. Built-in regulatory reporting tools to ensure compliance with local and international standards.
  • Scalability: Software that can grow with your organization, accommodating more users or more complex financial structures as needed.
  • Support and Maintenance: On-boarding specific to your organization, help center availability, and regular software updates to include new features and security enhancements.
  • Cost Implications: Understanding total costs, including initial investment, recurring fees, and potential charges for added features or integrations. Evaluating return on investment (ROI) over the software's lifespan.
  • Vendor Reputation: Checking user reviews, testimonials, and case studies. Assessing the vendor's experience, clientele, and industry recognition.

Best Financial Close Software Options

The best financial close software companies include:

1. Financial Close Software offers a comprehensive suite of tools designed to centralize and streamline the month-end financial close process. Built to scale alongside your team, Numeric emphasizes speed, control, flexibility, and collaboration, allowing for a seamless workflow amidst recurring and automated tasks. Reconciliations, flux analysis, journal entries, and your monthly close checklist are all centralized into a single pane.

Beyond basic task management, with Numeric you can link dependencies among tasks in your monthly close, set up automated email out to other business units for routine communications, and have managers review and approve tasks on behalf of others. The platform also provides a flexible workflow structure, adapting to your organizational hierarchy whether by team, entity, or beyond. Teams remain aligned with a dedicated notification inbox, full visibility into how they are pacing month over month, and integration with Slack. 

The platform boasts a powerful search engine to find the exact transaction details you need from your ERP complemented by robust filters and views, enabling you to pinpoint relevant data swiftly. Layering in AI, with Numeric teams quickly auto-generate flux explanations and policy docs, limiting manual work. Security is a priority with SOC 2 certification, SSO & SAML options, and end-to-end bank-level encryption ensuring your data remains secure.

Finally, the design is intuitive and simple, focused on simplifying the complexity of the monthly close and accelerating on-boarding, making a standout choice for managing your financial close processes.

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2. Blackline Financial Close Software

BlackLine Financial Close Software is a robust solution designed to centralize and streamline the financial close process. It offers a suite of applications that work together to help accounting teams increase accuracy, efficiency, and control across the entire accounting lifecycle. Key features include automated reconciliation, variance analysis, task management, and a centralized document storage system. With BlackLine, organizations can significantly reduce the time and effort required to perform the month-end close, enabling the accounting team to focus on analysis and other high-value activities.

Blackline’s platform offers a high range of flexibility for teams and tends to be a strong fit for larger enterprises with full time staff that can structure their instance effectively. Given Blackline’s other tools in the space, the platform allows teams to centralize more of their accounting techstack if they are using Blackline for other accounting needs. 

Furthermore, BlackLine's cloud-based delivery model ensures that the system is accessible anytime, anywhere, providing flexibility and enabling real-time collaboration among team members across different locations. This feature, along with its robust security protocols, makes BlackLine a reliable and trustworthy solution for managing the financial close process.

3. FloQast Financial Close Software

FloQast Financial Close Software is designed to streamline and accelerate the month-end close process by centralizing all closing activities and fostering real-time collaboration among the accounting team. FloQast provides a structured framework that helps in managing workflows, assigning tasks, and maintaining a clear timeline for the closing process. Like others, Floqast enables an automated reconciliation process that significantly reduces the time spent on manual data entry and verification, allowing for a more efficient and accurate closing process.

FloQast works with several ERPs, including NetSuite and QuickBooks, making data importation and exportation effortless. Moreover, the software comes with built-in compliance standards ensuring that your financial close process adheres to the required regulatory frameworks. The dashboard provides a comprehensive overview of the close process, enabling managers to monitor progress, identify bottlenecks, and ensure timely completion of all tasks. With its focus on simplifying the close process while ensuring accuracy and compliance, FloQast Financial Close Software is a valuable tool for accounting teams seeking to optimize their month-end close procedures.

Pros and Cons of Financial Close Software

Pros of Financial Close Software

  • Streamlined Processes: Simplifies the financial close process, reducing the time and effort required. Automated workflows and task management tools reduce manual interventions and speed up the entire close process.
  • Increased Accuracy: Minimizes human error in financial calculations and reconciliations. Automated reconciliations and built-in error checks ensure that financial statements are accurate and reliable.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Facilitates better communication and teamwork among finance professionals. Real-time collaboration tools, notifications, and shared dashboards foster synchronized work among team members.
  • Audit-Readiness: Maintains a detailed record of all financial activities, making audits smoother. Comprehensive audit trails, locking periods, and control measures ensure all data is transparent and easily accessible during audits.
  • Scalability: Adapts to the growth and complexity of an organization. As businesses expand or diversify, good software can handle increased data and more complex financial structures.
  • Enhanced Security: Protects sensitive financial data with advanced encryption and security protocols. Bank-level encryption, SOC 2 certification, and user access controls ensure that financial data remains confidential and secure.

Cons of Financial Close Software

  • Initial Learning Curve: New software often requires training to get acquainted. Employees may need time to adapt and learn the new system, potentially causing short-term productivity dips. When evaluating softwares, consider asking about typical implementation timelines.
  • Integration Challenges: Compatibility issues can arise with existing systems. Not all software solutions may integrate seamlessly with current accounting or ERP systems, necessitating workarounds or additional tools.
  • Cost Implications: Initial setup and recurring costs can be significant. While they offer long-term benefits, these software solutions can have substantial upfront and ongoing costs.
  • Maintenance and Updates: Regular updates can sometimes disrupt the workflow. Scheduled software updates or unexpected bugs can lead to downtimes, potentially delaying financial processes.
  • Customization Limits: Some software might not be flexible enough for unique processes. Off-the-shelf solutions might not cater to specific organizational needs, requiring additional customizations or integrations.

Financial close software offers undeniable advantages in efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration. However, businesses need to weigh these benefits against potential challenges like integration woes and costs. As with any technology adoption, due diligence in selection and a clear understanding of organizational needs can maximize the pros and minimize the cons.

Bottom Line on Financial Close Software

In the dynamic landscape of finance, precision, efficiency, and security stand paramount. Financial close software emerges as a transformative tool, infusing these very qualities into the intricate month-end close processes. It offers a compelling blend of automation, collaboration, and oversight, alongside enhanced security. However, like all technology solutions, its value is best realized when matched with the unique requirements and nuances of the organization. 

As businesses evolve and financial complexities grow, the adoption of such software isn't just a luxury—it's becoming essential. For those seeking to stay competitive, ensure regulatory compliance, and foster transparency, financial close software is undeniably a game-changer. As we navigate this digital age, embracing tools that propel efficiency and accuracy is not just wise—it's imperative.

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