April 7, 2022
It’s not uncommon for accountants to have multiple companies and sub companies to work on for one client. As businesses buy, sell, and merge with affiliates and build complex groups of companies, it gets more and more complex to consolidate information. You need reports that include all the companies that make up the group but getting them is a little more complex than you’d like.
The good news is that there are consolidation accounting software options out there, and if you’re looking for the best financial consolidation software, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you need to know.
The first question most people have when figuring out how to consolidate financial statements in accounting software is: can QuickBooks consolidate multiple companies?
That’s understandable since so many companies and their accountants use QuickBooks or QuickBooks Online these days.
The good news is that, yes, you can consolidate multiple companies with QuickBooks. The bad news is that it’s not automated.
In fact, with a standalone version of QuickBooks Online, you will need to export each company’s financial reports to Excel, consolidate the data in a workbook, and manually set up your consolidated P&L, Balance Sheet and other reports. So it’s possible; it’s just not easy or convenient.
Fortunately, there are some other options.
Even though QuickBooks Online doesn’t handle consolidation on its own, there are still some software options that can help you consolidate multiple companies. Some do work with QuickBooks and other accounting packages. But what should they be or do?
The whole point of consolidation accounting software is to automate part of the accounting process when you’re dealing with multiple companies. So it would help if you had something that is going to save you time. If it takes as long or longer to get your consolidation accounting software to work than you would spend creating reports, then you’re negating the whole point of having it.
You also want something that can integrate with your current systems. The last thing you want to hear when you’re asking how to consolidate financial statements in accounting software is that you have to change your whole system from the ground up.
If you have multiple different companies that process transactions in different currencies, you also need something that can handle the currency conversions for you and that is customizable to suit your unique accounting situation.
Finally, you want something that doesn’t need to be rebuilt every time you want to create consolidated reports. The QuickBooks Online system is a problem because you have to do it all manually whenever you want consolidated reports. So instead of reinventing the wheel every time, you need something that you can set up, and it will automatically update in real-time.
The best thing about financial consolidation software is that you don’t really need to worry about how it works. Good financial consolidation accounting software is plug and play and will do all the stuff that’s required in the background. You don’t need any technical knowledge to set up the software itself. But it’s still worth knowing how it works.
Here’s the basic workflow for this kind of software:
Good consolidation software is quick and easy to set up to do all of this, and once you’ve set it up, it will automatically update when something changes. So you always have the reports you need, when you need them, without the manual labour.
In the past, there weren’t too many options to extend software like QuickBooks that didn’t require a lot of technical skill, a lot of time and a lot of money.
Building custom automations that allowed you to consolidate data from a system like QuickBooks would have meant hiring a software developer and waiting months for them to create something just for you.
The problem with that is the software they created would probably be hardcoded with the information you need now and be hard to change when you need to add or remove a company. You’d probably have to hire the developer again every time you wanted a change made, and if there were updates to QuickBooks itself, your custom solution might not work the way it should.
The good news is that the fintech sector is growing fast, and there are now consolidation accounting software options available that you can subscribe to and deploy in minutes, that are easy to set up, and that have a team of developers on hand to make updates and changes to features and functionality whenever they’re needed.
When you’re evaluating your options, look for platforms that offer the following:
To kickstart your search for the best financial consolidation software, here are some of the highest-rated options out there:
OneStream is a consolidation accounting software with many other financial planning and reporting applications. It does not have a native QuickBooks integration, though, so you will need to use a third-party tool like Zapier to create a workflow, which might not be the ideal solution for QuickBooks users.
FloQast offers a suite of accounting and financial planning tools. However, they’re more focused on custom solutions for companies. Their system is not set up to integrate directly with QuickBooks either, so you would need to create a workaround to use this platform too or switch accounting systems.
Oracle has some of the best financial planning tools and features out there, but it is built for large companies and priced to match. Like the other options on this list, there is no native QuickBooks integration with Oracle, but you can use various third-party tools to build a connection.
Unlike the other software options on this list, LiveFlow is built to consolidate your QuickBooks companies so that it can be set up “out of the box.” It’s also got the LiveFlow Google Sheets Add-on so that you can pull data directly from your multiple companies from QuickBooks into your Google Sheets report. LiveFlow also has a refresh feature that will keep your reports updated automatically.
If you're looking for a Google Sheets Profit and Loss template for multiple entities, here is an example of the consolidated P&L generated with LiveFlow. This P&L Google Sheets template is pulled from QuickBooks and is updated on an hourly basis.
If you’re wondering how to consolidate financial statements in accounting software and import live data into Google Sheets, the answer really depends on what kind of accounting software you’re using.
However, if you’re one of the millions of accountants or businesses that use QuickBooks Online and you don’t want the hassle of building custom software or creating third-party bridges and integrations, LiveFlow is the best ready-to-use solution. It even offers a free Google Sheets Budgets vs Actuals template and a Consolidated P&L template. You can use LiveFlow's Financial Dashboard template for Google Sheets too.
Using accounting automation to consolidate your companies should be quick and easy. When you need time-saving solutions, look for the solutions that actually cut down your time – and in this case, LiveFlow is the most straightforward choice to import live data into Google Sheets and consolidate your P&L and other reports.