The end of the month, quarter or year seems to come earlier each time, especially the less prepared you are. The time-consuming and unnecessarily tedious process of closing the books can make your head spin, even if you’re an experienced controller, and especially if you’re not.
Luckily, there are tools that can help you get your bottom line buttoned up quickly and easily, consolidating multiple accounts and automating key parts of the process. In this article, we’ll cover the best financial close software platforms available for 2024 and more, including:
Table of Contents
What is Financial Close Software?
Your company’s leaders rely on timely, accurate financial reporting to make key business decisions. But with data scattered across multiple accounts and even platforms, manually gathering, organizing, and processing relevant information to reconcile key accounts and make any necessary adjustments can take days, weeks, or even longer.
You can provide your leaders with the essential data they need quickly and accurately by using financial close management software. Consolidate data from multiple sources to automatically manage the process of closing your company’s books each accounting period while minimizing errors and inefficiencies, ensuring key decision-makers always have the most up-to-date documents and reports.
About the Close and Consolidation Process
The financial closing and consolidation process can be quite complex, especially if you are using multiple platforms or with more than one entity or location. Regular closing tasks include:
- Cash account reconciliation: Matching cash transactions in your general ledger (GL) with your bank activity—correcting any discrepancies—and comparing your account balance to the GL balance.
- Accounts payable (AP) and receivable reconciliation: Reviewing payments, receipts, and account balances in AP and AR accounts and validating against subledgers to ensure accuracy, making adjustments if needed.
- Financial consolidation: Aggregating financial report data from multiple businesses or entities, if applicable, to create a single report.
- Tracking assets, accruals and fluxes: Reviewing and reporting on costs and depreciation of fixed assets, accruals and flux analyses.
- Compliance checks: Confirming that you’ve followed applicable federal, state, or internal requirements for your financial reporting.
Benefits of Using Close Management Platforms
Financial close software consolidates important information while streamlining and automating complicated processes across your organization, helping you close your books more quickly and easily. Benefits include:
- Time-savings through automating repetitive tasks, generating key documents and thoughtfully constructing processes.
- Increased accuracy through rule-based processes and automated tasks that reduce the risk of human error.
- Real-time visibility into the close process aids decision-making for key stakeholders, while offering transparency into financial activities and tracking audit trails.
- Consolidating data from multiple sources like ledgers and accounting systems saves a huge amount of time and effort for your team.
- Customizing workflows aids collaboration across departments, team members, and stakeholders, streamlining approvals, inputs, and document tracking.
Any financial close management system you purchase should be easy to implement and use, customizable and configurable to your organization and industry, and scalable to accommodate growth.
It’s also important to consider where data will be coming from and how it will be added to your accounting solution. For example, Netgain is natively integrated with NetSuite, meaning all of your accounting close information is in the same unified database as your financial data in your ERP. Finally, you’ll want to ensure you purchase from a reputable vendor that offers reliable, personalized support.
In addition, look for a system with the following key features:
- Automation of key close processes, such as data consolidation, reconciliations, and generating ledgers, statements, and entries.
- Seamless integration with your existing accounting system(s).
- Task management to manage your closing checklist, as well as to assign duties and roles to the right team members.
- Process tracking and documentation that links checklist items to accounting processes and task-specific documents.
- Security and compliance capabilities to protect sensitive data and ensure alignment with industry- and region-specific reporting regulations and standards.
- Audit trail features to maintain transparency in financial processes and help you stay on top of discrepancies.
- Reporting and analytics tools for creating and analyzing financial statements and management reports.
- Workflow standardization and automation to facilitate collaboration and ensure consistency across locations, cycles, tasks, and team members.
When evaluating pricing, consider:
- Additional fees: There may be additional fees for services such as implementation, integration, training, support, and customization.
- Subscription-based pricing is offered by some vendors, with lower recurring charges on an ongoing monthly or annual basis. Other vendors may provide perpetual licenses: larger, one-time fees for permanent use of the software.
- Weigh the total cost of ownership (TCO)—the system’s upfront costs and ongoing maintenance expenses—against its return on investment (ROI), the potential benefits and efficiency gains that implementing the software can bring.
Best Financial Close Software for 2024
Now that you know how this software can help, here are our picks for the best financial close management systems for 2024 and beyond, based on feedback from actual users through the crowdsourced software reviews on G2:
Best for NetSuite Users
NetClose by NetgainWhy: With near-perfect user ratings on G2Crowd, NetClose scores our top ranking because of its native integration with NetSuite.
Best for: NetSuite customers.
- Easy to use and implement with an intuitive interface.
- Efficient for managing month-end tasks, letting team members focus on more important activities.
- Bank reconciliations let you connect NetSuite to your banks for a seamless, reliable integration. Use bank feed to auto-match and auto-create transactions in NetSuite.
- Quick, helpful and ongoing support.
- The company is committed to continuous improvement, addressing initial issues and increasing visibility in the market.
- Specialized features and functionality such as task management, reconciliation and amortization tools are user favorites, streamlining tasks and improving the overall experience.
- Many recommend it to others in similar roles or industries.
- NetClose is an embedded solution within NetSuite, thereby making it only available for current or potential NetSuite customers.
Best Low-Cost Alternative
Zoho BooksWhy: Easy-to-use, dedicated financial software for users who don’t need a full suite of close tools.
Best for: Small to midsize but growing businesses.
- Flexible and adaptable enough to accommodate any type of organization or business need; easy to use and train others.
- Easy to access and manage from anywhere using mobile apps and devices for smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
- Cloud-based software enables business management, completion of accounting tasks and decision-making on the go.
- Multi-currency support is helpful for international transactions and working with overseas partners and suppliers.
- Free version for startups is a plus to new and growing businesses.
- Integration with other Zoho apps as well as bank and credit card information streamlines operations and reduces errors.
- Dedicated, responsive and knowledgeable customer support team and resources.
- While Zoho offers a wide range of features, it might lack the depth in certain financial close-specific functionalities compared to specialized financial close management software.
Best Spreadsheet Alternative
Cube SoftwareWhy: Customizable and easy to integrate with common systems.
Best for: Small to midsize businesses; Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets users.
- Flexible and easy to implement and use, yet with powerful functionality.
- Functions like an extension of familiar programs like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, eliminating learning curves with seamless integration.
- Robust dashboard and reporting capabilities.
- Customizable, easy to integrate with other accounting and financial software and adaptable to different internal use cases.
- Responsive to customer feedback with continuous improvements, updates and new feature releases.
- Cube is designed more as a financial planning and analysis tool rather than a dedicated financial close management solution. Therefore, it might lack specific features or the depth required for intricate financial close tasks.
Best Free Solution
Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel TemplatesWhy: Free, flexible, cloud-based, broadly compatible spreadsheets.
Best for: Small businesses; remote teams; the budget-conscious.
- Robust templates and formulas for common and complex calculations and functions during the close management process save time and effort.
- Detailed version control and histories track modifications, and who made them, during the close process, including the ability to revert to earlier versions.
- Cloud-based systems (when using Excel online) for easy remote access.
- Easy to import and export data from other platforms and sources.
- Standardization of financial documents eases compliance, consistency and collaboration across the close process.
- Seamless to integrate with other apps within or across the Google and Microsoft suites, as well as with external accounting and/or ERP systems.
- Customizable templates to accommodate industry- and company-specific processes
- Real-time, remote collaboration between multiple team members on the same document at once. (Sheets)
- The Google Apps Script scripting language lets users customize functionality, automate repetitive tasks and build integrations (Sheets).
- Track changes and revisions to improve the audit process. (Excel)
- Ability to set security and permissions so only certain users can add, edit or view sensitive data (Sheets).
- Financial close management often requires precise data entry and calculations. Google Sheets and Excel rely heavily on manual input and are heavily prone to human error. Automated error checking is limited, and even small mistakes can lead to significant inaccuracies. Those with more complex financial processes or larger amounts of data may need a dedicated solution.
Best Platform-Independent Solution
FloQastWhy: Top-rated across review sites, FloQast is a dedicated workflow-automation solution built by and for accountants.
Best for: Enterprise businesses that are willing to spend extra for a user-friendly interface and are not heavily integrated into the enterprise resource planning software.
Pros: Users praise FloQast for the following:
- Functionality to aggregate and streamline processes and workflows that impact the month-end financial close.
- Offers high-level visibility into assignments and timelines and allows users to leave comments and questions on specific tasks, facilitating collaboration and communication.
- Easy and seamless reconciliation and variance-analysis functionality.
- Responsive, knowledgeable support staff.
- Real-time data analytics.
- User-friendly, intuitive interface with a clear high-level view.
- Commitment to continuous improvement from the vendor.
- While FloQast is designed to integrate with several accounting systems, there could be challenges integrating it with certain specialized or legacy systems. This could lead to issues in data synchronization and consistency.
Best for Large Organizations
Why: Public enterprise software company with offices around the globe and resources to support other, enterprise organizations with specialized needs.
Best for: Large organizations with complex close processes and high-touch customer support.
Pros: Users praise BlackLine for the following:
- Simplifies account reconciliation across multiple bank accounts.
- Minimizes errors and compliance risks in financial reporting.
- Offers instant access to financial data for better decision-making.
- Reduces manual tasks in accounting, leading to efficiency and accuracy.
- Helps organize the monthly close tasks and journals across large teams.
- Based on customer reviews, BlackLine is still missing connectors for some ERP systems, requiring some custom scripts for integrations. Additionally, keeping the close process aligned across multiple teams within the same organization is said to be challenging.
- Blackline is one of the most expensive solutions for close management software.