Dashboards Provide a Unifying Look at Your Financial Health
I hear the following comments nearly every week as I meet with new companies that are facing common business challenges.
We seem to be working harder each month. My team is very dedicated to our business, so the extra hours each month are not a big problem. Our company team truly believes in what they are doing and wants the company to be successful. However, our biggest problem is with reporting. Everyone creates reporting that will be exactly what the company needs. However, each report is from “their view.” For instance, the operations team gives data about utilization or project performance. That information might be different than what accounting needs, which is more focused on billing and operational performance tied into costs and matching costs to the corresponding revenues.
We get into team meetings and the numbers seem to be different. Accounting is always based on where we were three weeks ago. Operations rely heavily on Excel, so they can input up-to-date information to make real-time decisions. Sales and Marketing rely on the “rainmakers” and don’t forecast as they should. If you are wondering how your business is doing, it’s no wonder we simply rely on bank balances, how busy the team is and our own “gut feel” to really know how the business is doing. We love this business, so we continue forward, but isn’t there a part of you that wonders if this is the best it ever gets when it comes to quality, financial information and running the business?
At One Vision, it always amazes me when our team focuses on an individual problem or issue, how quickly that issue gets addressed. This is why I believe companywide dashboards are truly the key. If we work from the same information, then Sales knows their goals and how they’re performing, which drives the operational backlog – the information needed for accounting to best manage the cash flow of the business.
We can easily see a picture of this in a football setting. A quarterback trying to pass to a receiver in football has a tough time if the linemen decide they are going to take a couple of plays off. However, most football teams are on the same page, because there are common ways to get information. The scoreboard is the ultimate decision-making tool that ties offense, defense, and special teams together. What is it then that ties Marketing/Sales to Operations to Accounting? Dashboards that drive making decisions.
One dashboard with key information will unite your team; identify if everyone is moving in the same direction; truly let you know how your business is doing, and allow you to make changes the minute they are needed:
- Cash Availability
- Performance against plan
Can you imagine the football team that is working to win the game and Offense, Defense, and Special teams all have a different score for the Home and Visiting team? That is what businesses do every day. On the other hand, visible, quick-to-read dashboards, all based on the same information, are the key to conquering this problem. Feel free to call me to discuss how you can get on the same scorecard and start winning more games today with One Vision and Sage Intacct.
Kreg Decker, Managing Partner
Accounts Receivable Reconciliation Variables
Have you ever found your Accounts Receivable Aging or Ledger to be out of balance with your Accounts Receivable GL account in Intacct? I’ve found this is a common problem and extremely frustrating for a client. It seems so simple, but there are several variables that come into play when reconciling your Accounts Receivable subledger to your General Ledger. Below I’ve highlighted a few of the reasons this discrepancy might occur and how to stop this from happening in the future.
The first, and simplest reason these could be out of balance is in how a user pulls the subledger reports. To reconcile these reports to the GL it is important to customize the report in a way that includes all customers, all aging periods and is based on the GL Posting Date. The General Ledger Report (or Balance Sheet) must also be run for the same period to compare. If this solved your discrepancy, great news!
If the amounts are still not tying out, we have a few more places to investigate. Are there any journal entries booked directly to the AR account? Are there any line-items that specify this GL account on an Invoice or Bill? What about an Adjustment or Other Receipt? These would affect the GL balance but are not running through the subledger. If this is the case, I would recommend adding a few SmartRules (after cleanup) to keep this from happening in the future. SmartRules are a great way to add a bit of control to how and when entries can be made in Intacct, and what accounts can be used.
In addition to SmartRules there are also some configuration settings that can be reviewed to make sure your Intacct environment is set up to meet your needs. If overpayments are expected, what GL Account is used to record these? An Overpayment will affect the subledger, and the specified account they are configured to use should be included when attempting to reconcile to General Ledger. The account that is used on Overpayments is defined in the configuration settings.
Recording an Advance also affects the subledger and could create a discrepancy in the balance if a different GL account is chosen. In your configuration, you can set up a default account for Advances, but it is important to note that this can be overwritten at the transaction level. SmartRules are also not available on Advances. Using multiple AR accounts to differentiate each type of transaction is helpful, and it works well, but all accounts must be included in the GL account(s) balance to reconcile.
The final item to address when reconciling Accounts Receivable is the issue of timing. If a payment is received prior to the GL Posting date on the invoice there will be a discrepancy. The payment will lower the AR amount in the GL and the AR Ledger, but will not appear on the aging until the GL posting date. At that time both the invoice and payment amount would be present on the aging and it would once again balance to the ledger and GL Account.
By implementing SmartRules, adjusting your configuration, and performing regular reconciliation of the subledger to the AR General Ledger Accounts, you can prevent the variance in the future. The list below summarizes the areas to review:
- Make sure all Accounts Receivable GL Accounts are included when trying to reconcile.
- Verify the subledger reports are pulled for the same period, by GL posting date, and include one-time customers.
- Confirm there are no journal entries posting to the AR account.
- Confirm there are no line-item entries posting to the AR account on other objects (Invoices, Bills, Adjustments, Other Receipts).
- Review AR accounts used on Customer Advances and make sure these are included in the AR GL balance to reconcile.
- Check payment receipt dates to make sure they are not prior to invoice GL Posting dates.
Best of luck in your reconciliation!
First, let us begin with a parable on the harms of an interrupted Order to Cash cycle: It is early morning, dark— the shapeless trunk of a modern car is being filled with two malicious, asymmetrical suitcases. The bags are overweight blocks that interfere with neatness. Breath can be seen in the cold and the numb hands of the driver rub against the metal straps and zippers of his colleague’s luggage. Though finally, finally, after many folds, insults, and mutilations the travel bags take their proper corner in the trunk and there begins the trip to the business conference held this year in a resplendent city near the sea, a well-equipped metropolis nearby—duty by day, bliss by night.
But one hour into the long journey the drowsy cohort in the passenger seat stirs and the driver pulls over. With the car on the shoulder of the highway, the passenger gets out and walks to rear of the vehicle and pulls his bag from the orderly heap and sets it on the side of the road while the driver remains seated, alone, in the front. For a time free people in loud cars soar past on their own uninhibited journeys. But eventually, one stops and the passenger gets in. He rolls down his window in the new car and tells the driver of the old one that he’ll see him at the conference.
While this is a somewhat jocular and strained example, it is a case of spiteful inefficiency—the meeting of the two colleagues at the agreed upon residence, the precise handling of the bags, all done only to be roughly unpacked on the side of the road so that the passenger, following some kind of constraint, can take another car to the same location. They seem like pals, with mutual objectives; riding together would save time, be more convenience. They could have conversations, enjoy the perks of togetherness, get some work done, prepare for their presentation, but for some reason or other the adventure is split up and the driver and passenger are separated.
In the everyday operations that occur at the beginning of the Order to Cash cycle, duplicate, or irrelevant processes, should be among the first inefficiencies to be persecuted and put to death. Routinely, this takes place at the beginning of the O2C cycle. Without an integrated system, the finance team must push the orders received from the sales team through an unshared software program, consult the relevant data and metrics stored on it, and then make a duplicate invoice for the acquisition of the sales request. This last step, this manual data reentry, is the crass holdup.
With Saleforce and Sage Intaact integration, when a sales representative places an order it is there for review by Finance, who, through the computation of data and automated processes controlled by Sage Intaact, can fulfill the request without diverting the order through inflexible outside software programs from which the sales team has been disconnected. Salesforce and Sage Intaact integration constitutes a shared pipeline through which the two branches can more easily pass information back and forth, which both simplifies, and safeguards, the Order to Cash cycle.
Contact One Vision Solutions for more information.