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Trust But Verify: Handling Month-End Reports with Confidence

Janet Martin July 14, 2022

Person looking at financial report
Analytics & Reporting
Blog
When it comes to month-end reports, it is not uncommon to feel a slight anxiety. After all, there are challenges that all-too-often interfere with properly closing the books, including inevitable mistakes. From reopening past months to tracking down those pesky invoices that somehow slipped through the cracks, playing catchup to correct avoidable missteps is frustrating.

Perhaps even more impactful is the snowball effect these month end report blunders can create. The lack of confidence and minor paranoia that result from experiencing such setbacks tend to settle in the back of your mind and interfere with month-end book closings, distracting you from other important tasks and otherwise detracting from your work.

How, as a business, do you address these shortcomings; pinpoint areas of concern; and create a more streamlined, confidence-inspiring month end report process? The answer lies in embracing modern solutions like procure-to-pay software and integrating them into your workflow. By taking advantage of the features provided by these solutions, you can restore confidence in your financial statements, reports, and key business decisions when your end-of-month cycle closes.

What is Procure-to-Pay?

The fragmented systems of processing payments, managing accounts, and otherwise documenting business interactions can create chaos. The more systems in use, the more complicated managing all of them becomes, especially when trying to consolidate scattered information into a single financial record like a month end report.

Procure-to-pay integrates multiple systems into one, eliminating much of the busywork, confusion, and mistakes associated with more traditional methods of monthly closing processes. At the same time, procure-to-pay orchestrates your internal processes, thereby simplifying everything from contracts to accounts payable.

In short, procure-to-pay solutions help you actively manage your bookkeeping, consolidate your financial information, ease tax filing, reduce errors from manual input, free up your resources, and otherwise enhance your business and its forecasting.

Key Features of Procure-to-Pay

There are lots of features included in most procure-to-pay processes that are advantageous to accounting teams. To dive fully into these would be a tremendous task — one you should consider embracing should you opt for such a system. But here, we’ll focus on a few key features we believe will benefit most businesses.

Intuitive Optical Character Recognition (OCR)

When people are responsible for entering accounting information into a system, there is a high possibility of mistakes. While this is entirely normal, and mistakes are typically minor, the resulting setbacks can be frustrating and time consuming.

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) removes the majority of human error from the data input process by using intelligent algorithms to capture information automatically — including handwritten, printed, and typed texts. Besides decreasing the frequency of mistakes, this solution also automatically organizes files, making them easy to find and edit in real-time.

Workflows

Procure-to-pay systems enhance procurement and accounts payable workflows in multiple ways, thus revolutionizing the way your business operates. Before payment, for example, a procure-to-pay solution will route all POs and invoices to the correct place for approval. This eliminates the need for employees to send individual emails to approvers for their sign off.

By reducing the steps between point A and point B, you can renovate your internal operations to create a streamlined process that saves time, eliminates frustration, and keeps everyone on task throughout the accounting period.

Audit Trails

Procure-to-pay solutions keep track of who touches what documents and when — thus creating an audit trail for each piece of information. When mistakes occur and either appear on or impact your month-end close processes, document histories from your accounting software can prove invaluable in finding the error and correcting it.

Even when no mistakes are present, these audit trails are valuable. Because other workers can see document changes, when they took place, and who made them, redundancy is all but eliminated from your workflow.

Data Matching

The advantage of automated financial data capture and input is undeniable, and it does a fantastic job of reducing error. To further ensure that the information in the system is correct and consistent, procure-to-pay solutions feature built-in matching that checks multiple sources for discrepancies and redundancies. If issues are present, the system will notify you, giving you the opportunity to preemptively deal with the problem.

Not only does this feature catch discrepancies before you close the balance sheet at the end of the month, but it also removes the need to manually check various data sources against each other. The time saved from this simple change is another compelling reason to implement a procure-to-pay solution of your own.

Document Management

Aside from general ledger data input and mismatched information, lack of organization is one of the most obvious areas of concern and causes of error in the month end report process. When documents exist across multiple platforms, floating among different departments, and otherwise difficult to track down, store, and retrieve, mistakes are bound to happen.

Centralizing the storage of data and standardizing how the finance team accesses documents eliminates much of these liabilities and confusion, making life easier for the management team and takes much of the inconsistency out of the equation. One practical application of this revised system is the ease and speed with which verification of expenditures can take place. Think minutes, not days.

The challenges associated with both month-end close checklists and year-end close financial reports are real and often cause great frustration. And while mistakes are bound to happen from time to time — since that’s just the nature of business and human involvement — utilizing technology such as procure-to-pay automation can significantly reduce those instances and increase cash flow.

There are many advantages to such monthly reporting systems. And those featured above may already have your mind racing with the possibilities. But the only way to genuinely appreciate how procure-to-pay and accounting systems can revolutionize your business processes and CFO decisions is to experience it for yourself.

Looking for a robust automation tool for all your end-of-month and year-end financial reports? PairSoft offers several solutions that integrate directly with the top ERPs — get a demo today.

Janet Martin

Janet joined the PairSoft team upon its merger with Paramount Workplace, where she was also an integral part of the sales team for years. Janet resides in Michigan with her family.

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