It’s the end of the year, which means it’s time for some hotly-anticipated annual rituals: gifts, fireworks, and finance professionals everywhere beginning the arduous process of closing the books. For some, the closing process could be quick and painless; for others, it could drag on for weeks on end. Whichever experience you’re used to having, there are tons of ways you can use NetSuite to close your books more efficiently.
To help you better leverage NetSuite and make closing even faster, check out these tips and tricks from our partner, Appficiency.
1. Improving Your Data Integrity Regimen
Maintaining accurate, consistent, and reliable data is the essential foundation to a fast, efficient close. There are many ways you can use NetSuite to monitor data and fix potential errors before they become a problem.
To ensure that your data is authoritative and complete, set up alerts to monitor your master data and transactions on an ongoing basis. Create saved searches in NetSuite that will send email alerts based on certain activities, such as:
- Notifications whenever there is a posting to an account that technically should not be posted by a person, such as adjustments and deferred revenue.
- Notifications on inventory adjustments that are greater than a specified threshold amount.
Correctly classifying your data can have a large impact on your financial reporting and planning. Fortunately NetSuite features a number of automation tools to assist with automatic data classification. To ensure that data is classified correctly, make sure to do the following:
- Build custom workflows that will automatically classify transactions from designated customer groups into the correct categories.
- Set up data monitoring with saved searches to immediately flag any transactions that are improperly classified.
For a faster close, you’ll want to minimize the number of outstanding entries that need to be resolved. You can use NetSuite to continuously monitor potential outstanding items; here are some examples of how to keep track of them:
- Use search to find unbilled purchase orders greater than 30 days from first receipt.
- Use search to find orders that are not shipped or fulfilled within a typical time-frame (e.g. find orders that have not been shipped within 2 days of approval)
Accuracy & Consistency
Keeping your finance data accurate and consistent across your systems means synching NetSuite so that the same data and reports show up regardless of where they are being accessed. To prepare for this, you can set up the following NetSuite tasks:
- Use the “Center Tab” to identify all reports being used by the finance and operations teams to analyze data. You can then see the areas where NetSuite is the system of record used for searches and reports, where everyone is looking at the same data and not having to look around to find reports.
- Create searches that look for posted transactions under certain categories that should be monitored, such as foreign currency vs base currency.
2. Effectively Defining Roles
When closing the books, you also need to think ahead to prepare for the auditing process. Among the many standards scrutinized by auditors and regulators are whether roles and duties are defined properly. The following section details that ways you can manage roles and access with NetSuite to strengthen your planning.
NetSuite makes it easy to view users by their role. There are a few ways to do this:
- Generating a role-based report identifies which users have what roles, as well as the permissions for each different role.
- Searches can identify users who have administrator or other “super-user” roles, so that it is easy to assess the access level each user may or may not need.
Scheduled Billing and CSV Access
- Automatically invoice clients by using NetSuite’s Billing Scheduler to speed up the process, while also reducing fraud and errors that crop up when using manual processes.
- Periodically search for users with CSV import access, and remove anyone who does not need that access in order to improve data security.
Modifications and Overrides
- Lock transactions at a certain point so they can’t be changed, such as when orders are completed in NetSuite and are ready to synch to other systems.
- Create specific roles for department leads that allow them to approve or override transactions but enable staff to continue working on their day-to-day efforts.
Continuously monitoring data integrity and role definitions are absolute musts when it comes to closing your books faster. Take advantage of NetSuite’s native capabilities to leverage workflows and other tools to improve your day-to-day processes. The key is to implement best practices upstream, before potential roadblocks have a chance to form and impact closing.
The tips outlined in this section are only the beginning. Check out part 2 for more ways you can use NetSuite to close your books faster, or see these tips in action in the full webinar!