Financial Close Solutions: Account Certification & Attestation

Key Benefits

  • Confirm account balances and reconciling items quickly and efficiently
  • Reconcile period-end accounts of all types – GL, Ledger to Sub ledger, Bank, Pre-paid, Intercompany, and Rollup
  • Achieve compliance with SOX regulations, as well as the COSO framework and any applicable internal controls
  • Transfer Account Certification to a single, consolidated platform, increasing process visibility to both internal supervisors, responsible parties and external auditors
  • Track aging of items across all accounts
  • Access at-a-glance analytics and reporting of current and historical balance fluctuations
  • Establish thresholds for variance and enforce substantiation

 

Overview: Account Certification/Attestation is the process by which reported account balances are confirmed, by substantiating the balance and including any applicable outstanding reconciling items, attachments and notes necessary to prove accuracy and adherence to certification policy. The system distributes responsibility for preparation and approval amongst the financial operations team in a standardized, automated workflow

Purpose: The purpose of certifying account balances is to ensure that the individuals who are responsible for the correctness of the accounting statements report and attest to the accuracy of the balances. Users certify accounts in a hierarchical workflow of preparation, review and/or approval of account balances while capturing reconciling items, notes, and attachments in adherence to the corporate certification policy.

Compliance: Following the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the United States, publicly traded companies are required to reconcile their balance sheets. Both the company and individuals involved in that process are liable for any incomplete or incorrect information. The legislation prompted companies to introduce and improve on internal controls to ensure all financial reports are accurate with documented accountability. With similar regulations becoming the norm in other countries (e.g. C-SOX as well as private groups such as COSO issuing their own guidelines), such requirements are becoming mainstream practices across the globe.

 

Challenges:

  • As part of typical, legacy processes, paper or spreadsheet-based Account Certifications have been scattered across multiple departments with no central means of communicating or tracking progress during the period-end financial close. Lack of timely communication and coordination makes the close process slow and difficult to manage. Centralized, historical reports about financial close have been hard to compile.
  • Summary information regarding aging of reconciliation items and account balance fluctuations and justification are often buried in various files or stacks of paper and are hard to identify. The risk associated with aging items and unjustified account variances remains outstanding and unchecked.
  • Businesses with large balance sheets typically find Certification to be a grueling and time-consuming process, as each account must be certified and reported on individually.

 

The Solution:

  • ReconArt’s configurable Account Reconciliation workflow allows administrators and managers to assign individual users to different roles of the certification process – keeping all the work contained within a single web-based platform. Based on the organization’s need, an assurance policy can be set involving up to seven levels of review and approval. Flexibility is built into the workflow to allow separate certification calendars, periods and levels of approval for each account. Even in the most complex reconciliation environments, oversight of the process is remains convenient and efficient for both users and management.  All of the information is in one system with a single, unified web interface. Detailed status and financial reports may be generated at will.
  • ReconArt places all account certification information into a single, consolidated location.  This allows for easy process tracking by supervisors.  Gathering, displaying and tracking historical information is built into the system. Balance fluctuations, aging of reconcilement items, work burn-down and comparison are all organized in standardized reports and dashboards for each user of the system. Supporting files, notes and a full audit trail are stored in the framework repository and can be accessed at any time. There are no limits on storage or retention. Read-only access to the reconciliation system can also be granted to internal and external auditors, managers, supervisors and authorities if needed.  This reduces the need for special resources to accommodate access.
  • ReconArt allows for certification of multiple ledgers at one time, reducing significantly the time spent on the process as a whole, without compromising the integrity of the Certification itself. Intercompany reconciliations and roll ups allow each entity to concentrate on what is most important to them. This flexibility can be introduced at any stage in the process.  This allows an organization to grow coverage of the system as your business grows bigger and more complex. As staff and accounts grow, users can collaborate on individual or grouped reconciliation accounts.  Work can be seamlessly reassigned to users accommodating employee mobility or coverage in absence.

 

 

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Related Solutions: 

Solution Tools for Closing: Integration – Our capability to intuitively move data into or out of ReconArt – including mapping, transformation, enrichment and delivery.

Solution Tools for Closing: Task Templates – Our framework capability to issue certification tasks, certification checklists and ad-hoc tasks to support the Close process.

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