Man on treadmill

Continuous Accounting: A Realist’s View

How realistic is the accountant’s dream of escaping “the round eternal” of never-ending accounting cycles?

While he faced the round eternal of the cash book and the journal…

Many Australians will instantly recognise the words above as the penultimate line of Banjo Paterson's famous poem, Clancy of the Overflow, first published in 1895. Readers who belong to the accounting profession might find it a bit too close to home.

Accounting has always been a continuous process. “The round eternal” of closing the books and reconciling the last fiscal period when the next one has already commenced, like a dog chasing its tail, or a mouse on a treadmill.

The term Continuous Accounting has crept into the vernacular relatively recently, often in the context of modern accounting systems like Sage Intacct or Oracle NetSuite. This article hopes to concisely answer a few questions:

  • What does it mean?
  • What are the benefits?
  • Can you adapt existing systems and processes to achieve some of those benefits, rather than starting from scratch?

The What and Why of Continuous Accounting

You’ll find more elaborate definitions, often as part of a sales pitch, but in essence it means using automation to fully process financial events in real-time, with the ultimate objective of doing away with manual, batch-oriented, period-based accounting processes.

Key features in a fully-realized implementation include:

  • Real-time Processing: Transactions are processed continuously as they occur.
  • Automation: Routine accounting tasks, such as reconciliations and journal entries, are automated using technology (possibly including AI).
  • Integration: The seamless data flow between accounting and other business processes and systems.

Benefits could include:

  • Improved Accuracy: Automation should mean greater consistency, reducing or eliminating human error.
  • Timely Insights: Continuous monitoring and analysis of financial data can enable quicker identification of trends, issues, or anomalies.
  • Risk Management & Compliance: Early detection of errors and discrepancies can also reduce financial and fraud risks while supporting regulatory compliance.
  • Enhanced Stakeholder Confidence: Stakeholders have more trust in the accuracy and currency of financial reports.
  • Efficiency/Value Gains: Automating repetitive tasks can free up accountants to focus on higher-value activities like analysis and strategic planning, rather than the “round eternal” of end-of-period reconciliations and book-closings.

Where to Start – is it All or Nothing?

A sales pitch for the latest accounting package, no doubt cloud-based and AI-enhanced, might well suggest this is the only way to move towards the nirvana of Continuous Accounting, but where does that leave businesses that are not ready or willing to take that leap?

Could you keep your tried-and-trusted accounting system, while seeking to implement incremental changes that could realize some of the benefits?

If so, what steps might you take to go down that path? How about:

  1. Audit your existing accounting processes and identify potential candidates for real-time transaction processing, integration, and reporting.
  2. See if your current accounting software has relevant automation capabilities that you aren’t taking full advantage of.
  3. Look for established 3rd party add-ons that could help close the gaps.
  4. Think about low-hanging fruit that might warrant limited bespoke customization.
  5. Implement changes, bed them down, then return to step 1 and iterate!

Leveraging the capabilities of your traditional accounting software, plus judicious use of 3rd Party modules, can allow you to gradually transition towards Continuous Accounting principles, improving efficiency, accuracy, and responsiveness in financial management.

Orchid Systems: How can we help?

Let’s look at some specific areas, through a Sage 300 lens, where Orchid’s Sage Add-Ons could help you take that journey.

  • Automation Opportunity: Reconciliations, journal entries, data imports, task scheduling, and pre-defined workflows.
  • Relevant Orchid Modules: Inter-Entity Suite, Process Scheduler, Extender
  • Automation Opportunity: Integrate your ERP with other systems where financial data originates or is processed, such as CRM and bank feeds.
  • Relevant Orchid Modules: Process Scheduler, Extender, EFT Processing
  • Automation Opportunity: Configure dashboards and reporting tools to provide real-time insights into financial performance.
  • Relevant Orchid Modules: Report Runner, Info-Explorer, Process Scheduler, Extender, Optional Tables
  • Automation Opportunity: Set up alerts and notifications to flag anomalies or discrepancies in real time.
  • Relevant Orchid Modules: Extender, Process Scheduler
  • Automation Opportunity: Facilitate real-time communication and information sharing among finance teams and other departments.
  • Relevant Orchid Modules: Notes, Document Management Link, Extender
  • Automation Opportunity: Ensure that stakeholders have access to relevant financial information and reports as needed.
  • Relevant Orchid Modules: Report Runner, Info-Explorer, Process Scheduler

Here are some very brief overviews of the Orchid products mentioned above. Browse the Orchid Systems website for more information!


  • Streamline accounting processes with workflows, alerts & notifications.
  • Customise Sage 300 screens, e.g. add enhanced validation, or buttons to trigger downstream processing.
  • Develop Python scripts for further bespoke automation and integration.

Process Scheduler

  • Schedule day ends, postings, reports, and other recurring business processes to run automatically and unattended.

EFT Processing

  • Generate EFT files in the format required by your bank, fully integrated into your normal AP & AR processes.
  • Speed up transaction cycles, while cutting costs and reducing your reliance on office-based staff.

Inter-Entity Suite

  • Automatically keep loan accounts in balance in real-time.
  • Trigger additional transactions
  • Generate reciprocal documents when related entities trade.


  • Integrated analysis, budgeting, and forecasting capability.
  • Automate the refresh & distribution of cubes using Process Scheduler.

Optional Tables

  • Maintain granular KPIs, budget & forecast data to support enhanced reporting and analysis.

Notes & Document Management Link

  • Display context-sensitive data, and links to relevant documents, where and when needed.
  • Facilitates real-time collaboration between staff at different locations

Report Runner

  • Streamline the execution and distribution of financial reports.


Man on treadmill
Continuous Accounting: A Realist’s View
How realistic is the accountant’s dream of escaping “the round eternal” of never-ending accounting cycles?