Why your small journal entry data problem is really a big problem

By Clinton Jones on June 22, 2016

Just one piece of bad data can create problems of epic proportion downstream. Bad data not only pollutes the source system, but also many other systems that rely on that original data as the information proliferates throughout the systems of record. Correcting data after the horse has bolted from the stable is not the way to properly manage data. The longer you wait, the more expensive the problem becomes. Accounting teams are very aware of this, especially at month’s end.

Independent analysts SiriusDecisions refer to this as the “1-10-100 rule.” This is where a problem that costs only $1 to fix at the source costs $10 to clean-up and as much as $100 when it is live/in production and in use.

Active Data Governance for the Manual Journal Entry

Diagram of Data GovernanceInstead of dealing with data governance in SAP applications passively, I would like you to think about the concept of ‘Active Data Governance. This is an approach where you correct data before it gets into your system of record like SAP. This approach applies to not just master data and master records, but transactional data as well.

One of the most significant transactional data examples is the manual journal entry process. In this process, you can get reviewers and approvers to sign off on the proposed posting well before anything touches SAP. When you choose a data governance solution, start by looking at the agnosticism of the solution. Winshuttle Journal Entry and Winshuttle Studio rely on Microsoft Excel data, which has no specific ties to any particular source or origin. Unlike some solutions and tools which tie you to text files or bind your entry and review processes up in a browser based view of the entries, Journal Entry and Studio let you review and manipulate data within one of the most flexible data entry mechanisms available – a spreadsheet grid.

A lot of manual journal entry data comes from outside the finance group, and is submitted and collected from dozens of sub-ledger systems or provided by business partners in ad hoc ways via email, spreadsheets or even phone calls! If you don’t review how you receive data, than the entries you propose can be faulty, incomplete or downright wrong. Incorrect postings can introduce risk of non compliance, penalties, delay close and cause other operational challenges for finance groups.

Examine your processes and procedures for the manual journaling process. Consider whether asynchronous staging or synchronous live posting from Excel to SAP is important to your record keeping and period close and determine if Winshuttle Journal Entry or Winshuttle Studio are a good fit for your finance transformational initiatives with or without the added layer of control provided by Winshuttle Foundation policies and workflows.

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About the author

Clinton Jones is a Director for Finance Solutions Management at Winshuttle where he has worked since 2009. He is internationally experienced having worked on finance technologies and business process with a particular focus on integrated business solutions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Clinton serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance for finance organizations globally. Prior to Winshuttle he served as a Technical Quality Manager at SAP and with Microsoft in their Global Foundation Services group.

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