As an accounting professional, you know all too well the often-painful process of closing the books. If you have ever managed voyage financials out of spreadsheets or an isolated digital solution, you and your team have likely spent hours tracking down disparate sources of data from disconnected systems, often resulting in manual adjustments and tedious report reconciliation.

Being the key point of contact to track and realize financial data, marine accounting professionals require an integrated solution that allows them to raise invoices, recognize revenue, and complete period close quickly and easily. With the right tools and processes, you can automate and accelerate period close, eliminate manual data entry, and ensure complete continuity between voyage and corporate accounting to improve your quality of life and your business’s bottom line. Let’s take a closer look at the key elements of an advanced voyage accounting process and how a fit-for-purpose digital solution for maritime financials can help.

1.) Consolidate data

In today’s data-driven world, information comes in many forms. Without the ability to integrate, it’s easy to lose track of important information. Ideally, your voyage financial system will maintain a single version of the truth by connecting directly with ERPs and corporate accounting software at the general ledger level for accounts receivable and accounts payable. This reduces duplicate entry, allows for full continuity and flexibility, and improves the fidelity of your records.

2.) Collect maritime-specific information

Voyage accounting requires codification of fields not found in standard accounting management systems. Properly accounting for each aspect of a voyage necessitates a system designed to manage marine contracts and link them to the proper account codes. Your system should support invoices for all physical contracts – freight, commissions, claims, and time charters – as well as manage monthly settlements for paper trades and facilitate proof of regulatory compliance. This includes flexibility to allocate emissions to different charterers based on cargo, per Sea Cargo Charter guidelines. It should also automate invoice creation by pulling in data from contracts and mapping it to the appropriate general ledger accounts to reduce manual data entry and errors, enabling more accurate and efficient billing, tracking, and processing of everyday transactions.

3.) Gain actionable insights

After collecting detailed maritime data and structuring it for more efficient processing, the next critical steps involve reporting on financial performance so that it can be analyzed, shared, and actioned on. A system can help by enabling you to easily retrieve and run voyage period journals, capture and compare ‘snapshots’ of the P&L over time, and generate standard and custom financial reports for balance sheet analysis, voyage P&L, and more. Cash flow reports and receivables summaries are some other financial reports that can help manage liquidity and financial health effectively.

Data visualization tools, such as business intelligence dashboards, can be very valuable for consolidating and displaying information in a focused way that is easier to digest and action on. You should then be able to intentionally share relevant metrics with key stakeholders across departments to provide detailed visibility, aid the decision-making process, and empower continuous improvement.

A digital solution for voyage finance

In an increasingly digital world, marine accounting professionals need a software platform that integrates information not only within an organization but also with key external data sources and counterparties. The Veson IMOS Platform is the world’s most comprehensive maritime freight management platform, and its core IMOS Financials module simplifies your voyage control and accounting workflow by integrating it with every data point across the broader voyage lifecycle. IMOS Financials standardizes company policy across the post-fixture and posting processes by utilizing role-based workflows and approvals for improved system auditability and control over invoice creation and processing. Further, the ability to facilitate audits with built-in audit trail functionality enables you to review data changes in the system on a granular level.

Learn more about how IMOS Financials can dramatically improve your accounting process below.