Why D365 Finance is the Secret to Efficient Financial Closing with a Remote Workforce
By: Missy Martoncik
Remote work is our new reality. But trying to handle your financial closing while employees are working at a distance isn’t easy. Constant document sharing, delays, and infrequent communication: it’s frustrating.
As we near the month-end close period, your team is facing even more challenges than usual. Most companies are still trying to figure out the best way to manage remote work, and employees have to find new, creative ways to get things done.
Lack of access to necessary documents and data has created bottlenecks as employees wait for information or play phone tag. Checking in with colleagues is no longer as simple as popping into their office. And if one of your accountants is unavailable due to sickness and they have a vital Excel document stored on their hard drive, you might be out of luck.
But here’s the good news. You don’t have to handle all of those details and processes manually. Dynamics 365 Finance will help your employees coordinate the close process online, track processes, and boost efficiency, all in one central location.
Here’s why that’s a big deal, especially in our current work environment.
D365 Finance Simplifies the Month-End Close Process
When you can no longer rely on in-person communication to verify numbers and share resources, tensions escalate quickly. D365 Finance solves that problem by giving colleagues a way to efficiently capture, analyze, and verify data online.
In addition to facilitating communication, the Financial Close Workspace in D365 Finance also helps you:
Reduce Risk – Minimize the chances of missing document handoffs, getting process steps out of order or delaying the close as you wait for input from others.
Boost Efficiency – Employees can upload documents, track processes across companies, areas, and people, set up task dependencies, and consolidate information in a central online location.
Simplify and Update Long-Term Processes – All of these capabilities will still be beneficial long after your employees have returned to their offices. By bringing close processes online, you can reduce information bottlenecks, establish better transparency, and reduce manual operations.
Let’s Talk Specifics: What Can D365 Finance Do for You?
Most companies already have an established close schedule, but it’s not optimized for a remote environment. If you’re still using Excel, it’s going to be tough to collaborate when you can’t talk to people in person. Key resources might be unavailable, or they might live on someone’s hard drive. If that person is sick or can’t be reached, you don’t have a way to access the data.
D365 Finance puts all of that information into the cloud so you can manage the details of your financial close process, manage schedules remotely, and collaborate online. For example, here are some of the key capabilities you can implement:
Unlimited schedules – Set up detailed schedules and checklists to track the close process across companies, areas, and people. With the templates provided, you can establish separate schedules for month-end close, quarter-end close, and year-end close. And because the number of schedules is unlimited, you can incorporate internal schedules to structure users, tasks, and due dates as needed to keep everyone on track.
Status updates – Update or view the status of each financial close task in real time. This keeps everyone on the same page since users update the schedule every time they complete a task.
Attachments – Attach files, notes, images, and URLs to tasks for colleagues to review. For example, you can attach documents to a journal entry that requires review before posting.
Hyperlinks – Link tasks to the page where they must be completed. This reduces navigation time and improves efficiency.
Task dependencies – Set up dependencies for tasks that require completion before other tasks can begin.
Security settings – Limit what users can view within the schedule by setting up security protocols based on each user’s specific tasks.
Features and Functions: How D365 Finance Keeps Your Close Process on Track
We recommend Dynamics 365 Finance because it serves as a one-stop-shop to store all of your data for simplified, real-time closing processes. But how exactly does it work?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the features in the Financial Close Workspace and the Implementation sections.
Financial Close Workspace
Summary tiles give an overview of the process and provide indicators to keep you on track. For example, tiles can show:
Number of tasks that are past due
Number of tasks remaining for today
Tasks that are blocked because they are dependent on another task being completed
All remaining tasks on the schedule
Each tile is linked to a list of the tasks in that category. If you click on the Past Due tile, for example, the system will bring up a list of all past due tasks.
Tasks and Status Section In this section, you can view the overall closing schedule broken down by company, area, and responsible user. You can break down each status even further by changing the filter, and you can view tasks within a particular company by setting the company filter. Each status tab gives a breakdown both by percentage completed and number of tasks remaining in each of these categories:
All tasks in the schedule
Tasks due today
Tasks that are past due
Links Section In this section, you will find helpful links to assist with the close process, including:
All financial period close tasks
Financial period close configuration
You can also add links as needed to support your internal process.
All resources responsible for close tasks are defined in the Resources section. You can also specify the resources view of the workspace. For example, you can show all tasks or only the tasks assigned to a specific user.
Task Areas Set up task areas in logical areas of ownership for your company. For example:
Calendars Create and edit the closing calendars to define working days and take note of holidays or other relevant dates.
Templates Create templates for each schedule in your closing process. For example, you can create a separate template for month-end close, quarter-end close, and year-end close. You can also customize templates. For example:
Assign different templates to different companies
Set due dates
When you assign a financial close template to a closing period, the new closing schedule will be added to the workspace. Define which companies will be associated with the closing schedule and employees will have access to the tasks and resources within that schedule.
As you work toward an efficient close process for remote workers, D365 Finance can give you the tools you need to reduce risk, boost efficiency, and simplify processes for both your short-term and long-term strategy. Workspace comes standard with the product, and the system requires minimal configuration so you can hit the ground running.
We know going remote is tough, especially when you had little time to prepare. But D365 Finance is one of the best tools we’ve found to help you stay on track and reduce the pressure, even in a high-stakes environment.
Contact us today to get started or learn more: email@example.com or 877.252.5503
Missy Martoncik is a Senior Finance Consultant with professional experience since 1988. She is an established expert in the implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software packages and the interfacing, management, selection, planning, prototyping, design, and support of a wide range of applications, including Microsoft Dynamics D365 for Finance and Operations. She has led and supported multiple ERP implementations at major corporations across a wide array of industries in North America and Europe.
Missy’s professional background includes experience in process manufacturing, industrial products, consumer products, software/hardware/consulting, and financial services industries, implementing and supporting enterprise applications, including complex business process design. She has detailed expertise in many ERP modules and functionals areas.