Here’s how to move one step closer to continuous close

Overview of how BILL Spend & Expense for client expense management can help you reach a state of continuous or near-continuous close for their books.

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Closing the books is necessary and fundamental. And it’s a task ripe for transformation.

Because it straddles multiple systems and stakeholders, closing often relies on duplicative, manual, and time-consuming work. That means extra work for you that often falls outside of 9-5. And often that extra time is something clients don’t want to pay for.

According to this survey, 80% of accounting respondents said month-end close disrupted their personal time at least once in the past year. Forty-one percent of that group said it happened more often—up to three times.

Imagine this across multiple clients each month and this disruption can multiply rapidly. At a time when burnout is running high and talent is running low, time-consuming and labor-intensive work is something you and your colleagues would gladly part with.

Beyond the inefficiency, an unwieldy process can stand in the way of advisory work. Each extra day or week it takes to finish a close limits access to valuable client data. Plus, the necessary (and often continual) outreach asking for receipts or additional expense information can add unwanted friction to the client experience.

It’s not surprising that more and more accountants are solidly on board with the idea of a continuous close. Continuous close often refers to shifting close to the point of transaction, rather than the end of the month. It relies on modern technology like AI and automation to help ensure accuracy and real-time data so books are as up-to-date as possible at all times.

Spend management: moving the needle closer to continuous close

How can you make it easier to close books?

One way is to evaluate your approach to spend management.

Evaluating spend management from a proactive point of view helps bring together the strategy, processes, and technology needed to take you closer to the ideal state of continuous close.

The link between spend management and efficient book closing

The most common forms of spend often include:

  • Company card and personal card spend such as travel and expenses and events and supplies
  • Reoccurring subscriptions including advertising, business vendors, and software subscription.
  • Invoices, such as POs, inventory, and large vendor spend

This data for this spend is typically spread over a variety of technologies in a tech stack, including accounting/ERP, credit cards, expense reports, spreadsheets, paper, and more. The data living in different locations, programs, and formats limits visibility and control.

With this setup, the traditional expense management approach could look something like this

Your firm and your clients could be waiting almost a month or more for information on what was spent, where, and when. And reconciling that data is a traditionally manual process. This approach keeps you further from a continuous close.

Spend management software, such BILL Spend & Expense, helps reinvent this process, giving accountants a united credit card and expense management solution with real-time insight into what is being spent. It helps make expense management a more proactive endeavor.

With spend management technology:

  • Your clients’ employees can be issued charge or virtual cards that are authorized to spend for their appropriate budgets.
  • You can view and report on expenses as they are incurred. Each expense is tied to the appropriate budget and code. (Bonus points for reducing the time spent on data entry and reconciliation!)
  • You can integrate it with accounting software to ensure clients’ GLs are updated and accurate and help reduce further data entry.

Now, you don’t have to wait until month-end to gather spend data and reconcile it. It’s an ongoing process. In fact, this approach can help eliminate expense reports altogether.

Now, when it’s time to close the books, you already have a large portion of the information you need in your systems. And you’re one step closer to a continuous close.

Learn about more ways BILL Spend & Expense can help your accounting firm accelerate closing and gain efficiencies here.

The information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. The content is provided "as-is"; no representations are made that the content is error free.