In my previous blog entry, I wrote about how much Aico can save time and reduce errors in finance processes. Now I will evaluate the journal entry automation solution: What kind of experiences do we have and what are the benefits and savings according to customer feedback? Where do the time savings of 50% come from?
How was it in the past?
When we started to develop Aico back in 2008, many companies entered journals manually into their ERP systems. Today, most companies use at least Excel import to upload data directly from spreadsheets. However, the import usually doesn’t validate the data against ERP and accountants must spend their time resolving problems. Typically, many emails are sent back and forth and it becomes impossible for anybody to follow or control the process. The creator of the journal can’t be sure when the journal is posted and the approval is still often done manually after printing the journals – if at all. Following the audit trail afterwards is difficult and time-consuming, and sometimes even impossible. The process typically ends with printing and archiving of paper journals and attachments.
How is it today?
Aico solution for journal entry automation resolves these deficiencies. One of our customers summarised the benefits as follows: “Aico combines a database of assignments and SAP input. The tool saves time and reduces the amount of duplicate work. Aico brings transparency to the process and facilitates auditing and approval processes. Postings are done and validated at once both in the database and in SAP. Journals are now more complete and there is less uncertainty when preparing them, which has reduced the need for rework. Recurring journals have been automated, which has reduced manual work”. Another customer highlights the importance of clear processes and user-friendliness: ”We find it important that the tools are easy to use and that different user roles have been taken into account. Once we have the same tools implemented in all countries, operations will be streamlined and we will save time.”
Aico´s competitive edge lies in the real-time integration to the underlying ERP system. It is also possible to post a journal into a future period because Aico stores journals in a queue until the period is opened. Companies having multiple ERP systems benefit the most because Aico can integrate with multiple ERP systems simultaneously. Flexible approval workflows enable, for example, approval after posting, which makes hectic period closing times less challenging when you don’t have to wait for approvals.
Our value proposition of 50% savings is achieved, for example, using the following features of Aico Journals:
- Recurring journals and reversal journals are automatically posted
- Journals can easily be copied to create new journals
- Single journal can contain data for several accounts and companies
- Electronic archiving of journals and supporting documentation – no more printing
- Supporting documentation is attached to the journal and the audit trail is complete
- It is easy to find journals, even after archiving
- Electronic approval
- Increased quality, because data can be validated against ERP already when creating a journal
- Period closing journals are processed faster
- Easy to drill down to journal details from an external system, for example, to review supporting documentation
Aico also provides added value that is difficult to measure in terms of money only. Risks are significantly reduced with real-time visibility and control over the process and with a complete audit trail for everything that is happening in the system. It is easy to document the process and communicate it to the people participating in the process. Transparency, audit trail, and control benefit both management and participants alike. This benefits especially those companies that have outsourced their processes or have GBS/SSC sharing responsibilities with business.
What about the future?
The future is already here! The Aico roadmap for 2018 links the Journals solution tighter to other Aico solutions; closing tasks can create journals automatically based on data retrieved from an underlying ERP system. Journals can be generated automatically from account reconciliations to correct postings on an account. All this and more can be achieved in a single user interface and followed real-time from dashboards!
Sounds good? We think so too! We are happy to discuss more face to face, so don’t hesitate to contact us!