Closing the books and completing reconciliations is not the most glamourous part of accounting, but it’s a vital last line of defense against identifying fraud and errors that might occur. The team at SkyStem have developed a way to automate the month-end close and reconciliation process, which has been named Best Account Reconciliation Software Provider 2020 – New York, in this year’s Global Excellence Awards. We take a closer look at the firm, and its founder, to find out more.

Shagun Malhotra, Founder and driving force behind SkyStem, knows first-hand the challenges that accountants face at the end of the month. As an auditor, she knows that no matter the size of an organization, the month-end close is a critical component of financial reporting.

That is what inspired her to found SkyStem, a SaaS provider of a solution that automates the entire process. By reducing the human element from the equation, Shagun provides a service that has been designed by an accountant, for accountants. The company’s flagship solution, ART, was brought to the market and has been an overwhelming success.

ART is the ideal way for companies to streamline their month-end close and reconciliation processes, capable of eliminating 90% of manual activities while strengthening the internal controls and corporate governance. This enterprise technology helps CFOs and Controllers shorten the month-end close cycle and time it takes to issue financials. It does this by automating balance sheet reconciliations, managing month-end tasks, performing flux analysis and providing insightful reporting.

As a web-based solution, ART offers immense advantages to SkyStem’s customers, while being easily accessed anywhere in the world. Not only is it easy to implement, it is affordable to use. Companies of all sizes have taken on SkyStem’s solution, ART, with continued success, adapting it to suit their own business needs. There are many elements within ART that simplify the month-end close process without sacrifice to the quality of the work, while saving the customers’ time and money.

The innovative approach of the SkyStem team is what has allowed the product to become and remain such a strong competitor in the market. The relatively straightforward mission of modernizing the month-end close and reconciliation processes through automation draws on four key criteria – robustness in features, ease of use, fast implementation and a reasonable price that allows anybody to use it. Those who have taken up usage of ART praise its flexibility, as it is able to fit neatly into their existing infrastructure.

Many suggestions made by customers have been brought into action by the SkyStem team, a trait that is unique to the industry. User feedback has been paramount to the success of ART, with the team aiming to make every implementation of ART feel like a custom-made solution. Auditors and regulators alike see the benefits that this SaaS provider brings, relishing the opportunity to use a program that is so deftly designed.

Because all businesses must tackle month-end procedures, ART is used across various sectors, covering every industry from financial services to healthcare to utilities to retail and more. The broad appeal of the program targets the middle market, carefully designed to suit industries of all sorts. Put simply, the product appeals to customers, who not only keep coming back, but also recommend it to others.

Of course, SkyStem would not have achieved such enviable success without the hard work of the passionate team. Detail stands first and foremost, with a creative and hardworking mindset allowing them to achieve impressive results. SkyStem is proudly woman and minority-owned, championing and modeling diversity inclusion in all departments. As such, the company has been able to create several powerful and vibrant marketing campaigns to reflect its out of the box mindset.

The SkyStem team never settles. This mindset doesn’t just apply to the software modules that it produces, which are under constant review as the team is always looking for improvements. It also applies to the strategic vision that has allowed the company to achieve such success. Employees are encouraged to continue educating themselves and progressing professionally by taking classes and pursuing opportunities for further development where appropriate. This manner of leadership has allowed the team to make massive leaps forward.

As a female owned technology company in a male dominated industry, life has not always been easy for the female led SkyStem. But this has not slowed them down either, instead it only makes them stronger. Because of the evident inequalities, Shagun has become a different kind of entrepreneur, aiming to always include women throughout all departments and encouraging them to take up positions in growth-oriented roles regardless of industry stereotypes. The focus has been to put a dent in the gender imbalance, making change possible by bringing it about herself. Needless to say, this drive comes from years of personally witnessing her own challenges as an auditor.

The world is currently in a state of flux, with automation having the potential to revolutionize a number of processes outside of accounting as well as within. For some, this potential holds a concern for the workforce, but to the SkyStem team, it is a tool that allows for increased productivity. ART specifically focuses on helping accounting teams around the world to deliver high quality reconciliations through system checks, quality markers and other features that are unique to the solution.

Throughout the product’s life so far, SkyStem has been constantly tweaking and adjusting to ensure that it meets the needs of customers. This refinement process is set to continue into the future, ensuring that ART remains at the cutting-edge of the industry. Injecting intelligence into the tool will transform how people interact with ART, allowing them to do much more with less. The SkyStem team is also looking into modules that will expand the range of offerings, enabling customers and prospects to infuse automation in various other processes.

SkyStem has been able to achieve such success by finding gaps in the market and creating solutions for them. For many this would be enough, but under the leadership of Shagun, the team has managed to remain at the forefront of the market. Change is never easy, but the team at SkyStem keeps moving forward despite the difficulties.