Release Date: 09.20.22 | Author: P.J. Yates

Every month, your company’s accounting and finance team must complete a series of procedures to track, reconcile, and analyze all of the business’s accounting data. This process may be simple or difficult, depending on how you look at it.

Month-end close processes can be difficult, but virtual close software may help ensure it goes smoothly and accurately.

What is virtual close software?

Virtual close software, AKA close management software, offers tools to help your team finish the financial close cycle regardless of location. All of the financial close tasks, like bill payment, expense approval, recording journal entries, reconciling accounts, and analyzing variances are presented in a checklist. As accounting team members finish each task, they check it off-list. The controller can review and approve all work papers before sending finance statements to the CFO or other leaders for analysis.

Functionality that allows you to label tasks and track their progress toward the close is typical with virtual close software.

How does virtual close software work?

Virtual close software allows your team to work together and manage finish-of-month close tasks all in one spot.

With this software, you can make a month-end close checklist and indicate which team member is responsible for each task along with its deadline. Employees can simply add any relevant files and signify that the task is completed. The company controller also has the function to add their own evaluation comments and sign off where necessary.

Advantages of virtual close software

By being cloud-based, virtual close software allows your entire team to see the status of tasks in real-time, even when members are working remotely. This is possible because the software integrates with systems like enterprise resource planning (ERP) and forecasting tools, allowing it to collect financial information from various sources into one platform.

Thanks to virtual close software, many businesses have gone from taking weeks to close a deal to finishing in just a few days. Plus, streamlining the process helps with communication and holding people accountable.

How to get started with virtual close software

Although it may seem more complicated, working remotely can actually have many benefits, including improved collaboration, communication, and internal controls.

Here are five steps to getting started with virtual close software.

Step 1: Assess your existing close process

By documenting the steps, tasks, people, and technologies involved in your monthly closing process, you can gain important insights into what is really happening — as opposed to what should be happening according to your procedures manual.

Conducting this process will help you see which areas of your current workflow are ineffective or need improvement. For example, does it take hours to reconcile a specific bank account or credit card? Have some accruals been neglected for months? Do you always have difficulty getting an invoice from one vendor on time every month? Is there usually one team member who has too much work while others don’t have enough?

By pinpointing these issues, you can better understand which features and aspects are necessary for the close management software you use.

Step 2: Evaluate potential solutions

Once you’ve decided what you need, it’s time to look for a virtual close software solution that will meet all of your criteria.

You might start your search online or by asking your coworkers about their experiences with virtual close software. Choose a few solution providers and set up appointments to try out the services.

To help you identify the best option for you, here are a few features to look for:

There’s no need to hire a software developer to write code. Automation capabilities are built-in. Automating time-consuming, manual activities saves you time, lowers your team’s workload, and allows them to focus on more value-added activities.

Integration with tools you already use. Having a tool that integrates with your existing ERP, Excel spreadsheets, and other tools is essential. This improves the flow of financial data between solutions and delivers a total value that is greater than the sum of all individual parts.

User-friendly experience. The best software is user-friendly and allows your team to customize the close process without calling in the IT department or developers. Having a simple, intuitive user interface also reduces the time spent implementing the software and training new employees.

This might seem obvious, but it’s worth noting that you should use data to your advantage. In order for your site visitors and how they interact with the content on your website to be more successful, there must be a clear message about what each page is about. This may not seem like much at first, but once you’ve established those foundations, here are some ways in which this knowledge may help you improve your marketing results:

By investing in virtual close software, your company will be able to spend less time responding to PBC requests and communicating with auditors. This is because the best solutions on the market promote transparency and collaboration between accounting departments and external auditors. With self-service access to data, your team can save an impressive amount of work hours.

Step 3: Talk to existing customers

What do the vendor’s clients have to say? Sales pitches and demonstrations can tell you a lot about the product, but what do the vendor’s customers think of it?

To get a better understanding of how well software performs in real life, it is helpful to read reviews on sites such as G2 or Capterra. You can also ask the solution provider to put you in touch with existing customers who are of similar size or in the same industry. This way, you can hear first-hand accounts of their experiences with the software.

End-of-month closing is often seen as an area of business that doesn’t produce much value on its own. However, the correct software can change that by enhancing internal resource management and controls. If your team members don’t have to spend as much time bookkeeping and reconciling accounts, they are free to work on more useful tasks such as offering observations, assisting with decision-making, and collaborating with company executives. The benefit from this transformation will be felt not only during future months’ closings but all year long.