Today, automation of workflow management is the primary driving force for efficiency and accuracy in almost all major processes across industry lines. However, some organizations are still relying on manual methods for the monthly close and account reconciliations, which is a deterrent to their productivity ambitions. "Operating without a workflow solution in this area is not only extremely inefficient but also dangerous from a liability standpoint," says Shagun Malhotra, CEO of SkyStem.
Based in New York, SkyStem relieves businesses from the aggravation of paper shuffling, manual signatures, version control, and the challenges of deciphering the status of projects with its month end close solution. "Our focus has been in the mid-market area where organizations are mature enough to need a solution like this, but are also budget-conscious, delineates Malhotra. The company hosts its service in a SSAE16 and HIPAA compliant environment and gives its client access anytime. SkyStem's product, ART, addresses the month- end close process, which primarily resides in the CFO's office. The accounting department is burdened with a lot of work that requires multi-level collaboration, validation of documents and extensive review of work that is being done. Prior to the issuance of formal financials, there is a lot of pressure to get the numbers right. To alleviate concerns involved in this process, ART brings together a suite of modules - reconciliation, taskmaster, certification, and reporting modules.
ART can work with any ERP as an add-on to the existing ERP system and the Task Master can be configured as per the client's need in the implementation phase itself. This helps users with the specific tasks they need to accomplish. "Every month-end, balances are made available to all the stakeholders and validity is ensured after they reconcile these balances to the appropriate support, explains Malhotra. All associated documents/schedules and back-ups are attached to those tasks or reconciliations. Certain built-in internal controls ensure users follow best practices in a good control environment. Additionally, the automation facilitates quick reporting which helps with management oversight.
To complement standard functionalities, ART has a unique feature christened the E-Rec Binder. This functionality allows customers to download and archive all their data in a readable format via a single click. We also have features that help to score and provide more quality control around each reconciliation, states Malhotra. Additionally, ART's implementation process is one of the quickest in the industry and proves to be a market differentiator. Over the years, SkyStem has worked with popular names in the mid-size market ranging from companies in the banking sector, analytics firms, to technology solution providers and retailers. But irrespective of the varied landscape of its customers, results have been mostly consistent. They have saved up to 50 percent of processing time for executive management with the help of ART's automation. One of our long time customer s thwarted hiring a full-time person for managing and coordinating the month-end process. They have been experiencing savings year over year, recalls Malhotra. Moving ahead, in the next few years the company will expand its offerings by encapsulating more modules. Insightful reporting is another area of interest for SkyStem. Diagnostic data is imperative to further enhance the speed or/and quality of the current process and we plan to integrate that within our offering as well, concludes Malhotra.