Ask the expert: Technology

Mike Whitmire, Co-founder and CEO, FloQast

Mike Whitmire, Co-founder and CEO, FloQast
Mike Whitmire is the co-founder and CEO of FloQast. A CPA by training, he began his career in audit at Ernst & Young and transitioned to industry, joining Cornerstone OnDemand’s accounting team as it prepared to go public. He holds a bachelor’s in accounting from Syracuse University.

Automating the close

Q Why is the month-end close still painful for so many organizations?

A Eighty-two percent of accountants describe the month-end close as a negative experience. That’s a crazy stat considering that the month-end close is a fundamental part of the job. Unfortunately, most organizations suffer from an overreliance on error-prone, manual processes. Often, accountants spend hours or even days ticking and tying in Microsoft Excel to reconcile high-volume accounts, or exporting reports and formatting spreadsheets to produce a flux analysis, only to have to do it all over again when the numbers change. The result is long hours in the office to produce work of questionable accuracy, causing many accountants working in industry to report increased stress levels during the close, to the point where over a third of accountants state that the close impacts their personal relationships.

Q What best practices can organizations implement around automation?

A Look for ways to automate manual processes in your reconciliations. For high-volume or high-risk accounts, consider account reconciliation software that automates the tedious task of manually matching transactions. Then look for solutions that allow you to avoid exporting to Excel, either by integrating with your spreadsheets or allowing you to collaborate on the numbers before you get to that point. And let’s not forget the people side of the accounting equation. As accounting and finance becomes increasingly driven by technology, it may be time to hire tech-savvy accountants who might not have the typical pedigree of a GAAP expert CPA.

Q How can technology be applied to automate tedious work?

A Going “cloud” is essential for easing the pain of the close. Take that collaborative Excel checklist you’ve been working on and put it in OneDrive or Box where the whole team can work on it simultaneously and roll it forward each month. But Excel has limitations when it comes to tracking tasks. Better yet, use a close management software solution to track all your tasks, reconciliations, and review notes. Combine close management software with a cloud ERP and cloud document storage, and you have a full technology stack for the financial close that will help you close much faster and more accurately.

Q What are the benefits to organizations that can better streamline their account reconciliations?

A Teams that use technology to streamline their month-end process typically shave days off their close. But the benefits go far beyond time savings. Accounting and finance leaders that leverage cloud technology for the financial close have better insight into the close process, are more confident in the close, manage less-stressed employees, and are better prepared for audits.

To uncover other best practices to automate the month-end close, download FloQast’s The Definitive Guide to Effective Close Management: Best Practices for Managing the Month-End Close at

FloQastFloQast is close management software created by accountants for accountants to help accounting teams close faster and more accurately. On average FloQast customers close three days faster. FloQast is trusted by hundreds of accounting departments, including those at DocuSign, Shopify, Twilio, Zillow, the Golden State Warriors, and many more.