End of month reconciliations and reporting commitments can be a highly time-consuming challenge and with the end of financial year approaching, it is the perfect time to talk about a number of tactics that can be employed to improve this process and make it more efficient.
We know from hearing first hand, that for many organizations, the end of month procedures and the ability to accomplish these quickly and efficiently is critical. This is more so when the reporting season begins and you are faced with not only month end tasks but additional pressure of financial year end. It is a stressful time for most accountants and CFOs. The constant checking and adjusting of key financial data to meet the deadlines can be extremely time-consuming. Inefficiencies in these closing and reporting processes come at a heavy cost to the organization.
Here are some ideas where we think you’ll find Atlas very useful:
Payroll and other adjustments
In many cases, there are adjustments and other journals to be entered into your financial system. These might be payroll journals and miscellaneous accrual journals. Instead of simply entering them directly into Microsoft Dynamics AX, you can upload them from source, particularly if the journals you wish to post are sourced from Microsoft Excel. All journals uploaded via Atlas are subject to the same access rights and user privileges you’d find if you were to do the same inside Microsoft Dynamics AX. This means that you can be sure the transactions loaded are correct and error free. You can even upload accruals too. When posted, the reversing entries are automatically accounted for in the following month.
Refreshing reports according to your schedule
At month end, getting the reports to accurately reflect the transactions posted and to incorporate the transactions generated at month end need to be refreshed with up-to-date results. After each journal posting and budget adjustment, the effects of these changes need to be reflected in the accounts.
You can choose to do this on demand, refresh in background or you can schedule these events to happen a time of your choosing.
With the new automation feature, you can do these sophisticated activities easily. You can for example, choose to run a set of reports in backround while working on other activities and you schedule a series of reports to run at the end of the day, so that complete set is available for you the next business day.
Know more about your underlying financial situation
Not all information requests can be handled easily from the statutory financial results. Sometimes further analysis is needed to explore trends and underlying transactions. Atlas gives you unprecedented freedom in how you present your financial information. You can choose features to aggregate or choose other features to detail and list the very postings that make up a balance. This ad hoc capability is empowering and a significant benefit of using Atlas. Not only can you understand why certain results happen you can also include related information from different parts of your Microsoft Dynamics system to give your results context.
With the snippet feature, you can save your work and recall them at a future time.
Furthermore, you can include comprehensive, user defined drill down capabilities to your financial statements; this makes them even more dynamic. For example, on your balance sheet, you can drill-down to a detailed stock analysis for your Inventories and yet have a completely different analysis for bank and treasury lines on the same report. Remember, all this is in real-time.
If you haven’t already done so, you can take advantage of combined reporting and upload. The output of one or more Atlas reports becomes the input to one or more upload journals or templates. Typically, these types of combinations are used in the calculation of commissions and allocations, but can also be used for boutique fixed asset depreciation calculations and subsequent journal posting.
If your organization needs to calculate sophisticated allocations for cost accounting, try using Atlas to prepare the reports that collate the key monthly results, apply the calculation routines to these figures and then use the Journal upload feature to express the results in your financials.
Budgets and forecasts
When it comes to budgets and forecasts, month end activities might include accounting for variances and also preparing reforecast calculations. Atlas is often to help in all of this; understanding the posting to determine why a variance might exist, undertaking an adjustment journal to correct misallocation of expenses or revenue and also to update previous forecasts so that they reflect the current perception of expectations. At year end this latter process takes on a life of its own, with many people in the organization collating and submitting for approval the management budgets for the year to come. Atlas is a great help. You can use it to see what you did this year and take those figures into a workbook ready for use in preparation of future period budgets, it can be used to upload the unapproved budget figures and can also allow for iterations in this process. Mature Atlas users are all too aware of how much time this saves them on a monthly basis and at year end.