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General Ledger Account Reconciliation: Attestation & Certification

Publicly traded companies in many jurisdictions are mandated to conduct and provide proof of a full and complete reconciliation of significant general ledger accounts.  Many private and other organizations also elect to follow similar principles to ensure strong financial governance.  ReconArt™ Certification provides comprehensive functionality to support the period end reconciliation processes mandated by legislation such as Sarbanes-Oxley in the United States and equivalent statutory, regulatory, audit and compliance needs in other jurisdictions. 
ReconArt™ supports the automated and scheduled import of some or all account balances from the General Ledger and any relevant sub-ledgers and the definition of flexible schedules for required periodic review, attestation and certification.  Monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or any other required time period – you determine the frequency by type of account and associated significance and risk to the business.  
Multi-level workflows are provided to meet your period end reconciliation needs, for example a preparer, reviewer, approver and auditor.  Ownership of accounts for each role and stage of attestation ensures that users perform the required reviews and digital sign off in accordance with documented standards.
Dashboard alerts on a user’s Home Page, in addition to automated email notification, identify accounts requiring attention, and those overdue.  Management information and metrics identifying the status of required reconcilements for each period are readily to hand in both graphical and report formats.
A complete period end electronic reconciliation folder, including all its supporting documentation, is automatically created and available through a web browser to authorized users at any time.  And because everything is stored on-line in one place, compliance officers and auditors – whether internal or external – can see at any time what should have happened, validation that it did happen, when, and by whom.
ReconArt™ Certification is a fully functional period end reconciliation attestation, and certification software solution in its own right.  However, to maximize the benefits of housing all reconciliation activities in one integrated solution, organizations that also use other components for the ReconArt™ product suite for transaction matching enjoy enhanced ROI and control:  one intuitive user interface for all reconciliation activities, one area for administration and set-up, shared functionality for common tasks such as exception resolution, notifications, management reporting, etc.
Flexible data import and scheduling
ReconArt™ provides a state-of-the-art component for the definition of all or any part of the chart of accounts, and associated account balances from your general ledger system.  Data elements can be mapped very simply and one-time only by business users without the need for technical skills.   The same is true for balances imported from sub-ledgers or other subsidiary systems.  Thereafter data can be scheduled to import automatically into ReconArt™ at the required frequency for review and certification.  Where adjustments are made in source systems, balances can be reimported as required, and will automatically reset any accounts already signed off to requiring a new cycle of review.
Certification policies
Certification policies are defined upon initial solution configuration to ensure adherence to documented standards and best practice for each account or associated account group.  These include: 
  • Roles - in addition to an account owner or preparer responsible for the periodic preparation of general ledger account reconciliation, multiple levels of subsequent review and approval can be defined.  This can vary commensurate with risk level and associated reconciliation policy by account or account group from two levels (preparer, approver), through three levels (preparer, reviewer, approver) and up.  Naturally, within an account, a user can only have a single role.  A separate audit role provides for the subsequent review of reconcilements by auditors and compliance officers.
  • Backups – as well as defining a primary individual responsible for each review and approval level, any number of backup staff can be set up to provide cover in the event of absence from work and to ensure the timely completion of all required reconciliation steps.
  • Digital affirmation – standard messaging is defined for each stage in the certification lifecycle and visible to users as they sign off reconciliations and pass to the next level.  This appears alongside the digital signature to form part of a lasting audit trail.
  • Calendar – flexible certification calendars are defined to support the needs of accounts and account groups in accordance with corporate policies.  For example, higher risk accounts may be subjected to monthly review; lower risk ones to quarterly review.  Calendar definition includes required timings by which preparation, review and approval needs to have taken place before becoming, and being flagged as, past due.
  • Policy documentation – in addition to summary information by account type which is displayed to users as they prepare or certify accounts, any number of electronic documents can also be stored and made available to provide guidance, explanation of policies, etc. 
Certification workflow
Once the import definition and certification policies have been easily defined and set-up, ReconArt™ delivers an automated workflow to ensure that, for each required frequency, the complete lifecycle of preparation, review and approval of general ledger accounts is enforced.  Account preparers are presented with general ledger and, where appropriate, sub-ledger balances that they must attest to.  This task can be undertaken for an individual account or, where appropriate, in bulk across account groupings.  Auto-certification can also be defined as part of the policy where certain conditions that are acceptable to auditors and compliance officers exist.
As part of the account preparation process users can enter or import (for example from an Excel® spreadsheet) supporting transactions to explain differences, can append as many notes as comments as required, and can attach electronically all necessary supporting documentation.
As accounts are electronically signed off by the preparer they pass automatically to the next level in the defined workflow. Reviewers and approvers are able to see all entries including transactions, notes and attachments and can append further comments only before electronically approving, or rejecting and routing back to the level before.
Exception resolution
Where entries need to be defined to explain differences they can be flagged as “exception cases”.  The fully integrated case management functionality of ReconArt™ is available to track and age these exceptions until they are resolved.  This case management workflow ensures that nothing is left to chance and guarantees that all flagged exceptions are subjected to adequate scrutiny and audit.
Automated notifications
ReconArt™ Certification does not leave anything to chance.  Users are automatically notified by email and through their Home Page dashboards when accounts are coming due for attention, or when they are past due.  The same email notifications are generated automatically where work cases have been defined that require attention and resolution.
A key design theme of ReconArt™ general ledger reconciliation software solution is to house all data required to support these compliance functions in a single environment, available via a web-based interface to users, managers, executives, and internal and external auditors. From controls around data import and matching, to a fully audited record of all exception and break resolution activities, to period end review and sign off, the entire reconciliation lifecycle across all of your enterprise’s activities can be accommodated in one place. This not only helps to minimize cost, it ensures a fully compliant, audited and streamlined end-to-end reconciliation process - Why Compromise?
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