Data reconciliation software: a decade of lessons learned from end users
A special ReconArt feature first published on Bobsguide – the ultimate fintech resource, an innovative online platform that connects the providers of fintech solutions with the financial services professionals who need them.
Read the article here as well.
In 2021 we at ReconArt, the leading data reconciliation technology provider, celebrate a decade since we welcomed our first customer (who is still with us today). It has been an exciting journey and we have learned a lot. Looking back, we appreciate enormously the chance we have been given to work with hundreds of great companies and thousands of users, whose professionalism has inspired us to develop a world-class reconciliation platform. We acknowledge wholeheartedly that our clients are our closest partners and their feedback is our most valued asset.
ReconArt emerged from its matching engine, which offers superb matching results compared to standard ERP modules. We chose to stay focused on that because we know industries where streamlined reconciliations are a strategic imperative. Take banking, for example, where transaction counts are closer to the billions mark and manual processing will not suffice. ReconArt can compare heaps of data items by rules and criteria defined by the user, precluding errors and in a fraction of the time it would take to do so manually. Only machines can do that. They just have to be taught where to search for patterns and what logical sequence to apply. Banks were the obvious beneficent of such automation, but other industries followed suit – ecommerce, payments, manufacturing, travel.
Reconciliation of financial data is a crucial part of financial accounting and robust cash management in particular, yet often underrepresented in generic enterprise management solutions. The elementary recurring tasks of item comparisons are often performed in spreadsheets. Clients are most frequently confronted with the limitations of manual data matching in spreadsheets when their Excel tool hits its capacity ceiling. Running out of lines, untraceable formula errors, gigantic tables swarming with macros end up crushing and all unsaved changes are lost. Spreadsheets do not allow concurrent work and version consolidation is difficult. Manually manipulating and transforming columns is time consuming and prone to errors. Also, comparison by one criteria only is often non-conclusive.
Sooner or later the cost of the inefficiencies related to manual processing run over. Reconciliation automation is natural and inevitable. Automation declutters the desktop to help focus on priority activities.
The tool is fully configurable to accommodate a thorough replication of the current process into the ReconArt environment. This mapping is not delegated to outsiders such as business analysts or subject matter specialists. Following the initial implementation and training, daily users are fully capable to administrate their ReconArt instance, independent of IT help or heavy customizations. We know that reconcilers are not IT folks and coding is not their thing. But they know the ins and outs of their processes and the business logic that has to be applied. ReconArt translates user defined rules into executable commands. Writing rules in ReconArt is simple and straightforward, very similar to Excel formula syntax.
ReconArt is a best practice solution which incorporates user-suggested enhancements which are then rolled out to every customer to benefit from an improved product without additional cost. Therefore, the product evolution roadmap is driven by an informal community of professional reconcilers with hands-on experience. We have extensive experience with a broad, global client base. ReconArt is industry agnostic and has gone through the trials of different routines. New features are developed organically in the course of exploring our customers’ needs.
For example, vertical markets like travel and tourism or money remittance habitually deal with lots of partners and receive stacks of files over email that need to be ingested by the recon tool. However, email attachments running back and forth waste time to be tracked, downloaded, verified, and prepared for manual upload. Instead, all input data destined for import in ReconArt is uploaded in a data hub by our client’s partner, then verified and slated for further transformation within the matching engine itself. This alone eliminates a burdensome manual step for the reconcilers. On the other hand, the partner receives confirmation that the upload has been successful and is confident that the submitted data will not be reverted for further adjustments. A simple remedy for so many misunderstandings and delays, which in the end supports good partnership relationships.
Disparate file formats, particularly in the financial sphere, pose a great challenge before unification of data for reconciliation. Clients share that data file transformation performed with third party tools outside the reconciliation platform creates a bottleneck. ReconArt recognized the need for a functionality which converts the most common file types prior to their upload in the systems. This feature can be utilized for purposes beyond reconciliation.
API integration is the technical component that facilitates the connection between various specialized business systems and ReconArt. We often heard the concern that onboarding a new reconciliation system will add to the burden of managing data flowing in and out. That’s why we developed integration layer for communication with ReconArt that allows main business processes like data imports and exports, triggering scheduled tasks and updates to the master data to be automated via the API and orchestrated from a single location. Using this approach, data security within our application maintains the highest standards.
ReconArt automates daily reconciliations with embedded enterprise class ETL functionalities. ReconArt has been monitoring closely emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, block chain and robotic process automation present for the business, and for data reconciliation in particular. We are enthusiastic about the possibilities they carry and ready to adopt them in our solution as soon as their stage of maturity and usability corresponds to the clients’ needs. We are devoted to best practices, cutting-edge technology and simple solutions that produce optimal results.
An intuitive and user-friendly interface is of utmost importance for a solution to survive the test of customer satisfaction. ReconArt strives to keep good metrics on the system’s speed performance and responsiveness plus a clear layout. Eliminating redundant steps in navigation and excessive screen switching is a continuous optimization are highlight in every major release, which takes place at least 2 times a year.
ReconArt has been around for a decade working side by side with thousands of users, listening carefully to their concerns, building relationships, always open and actively soliciting feedback and recommendations. It is fair to give our customers the credit for motivating us to create and continually refine the most end-user-centric reconciliation tool on the market.