As a finance leader, we know you are faced with various business challenges on a daily basis. Manual processing and over-reliance on spreadsheets leading to mistakes; a lack of real-time performance visibility making reporting tedious and outdated before reports are even complete, keeping abreast of changing laws and regulations to ensure compliance; and even staying tech-savvy to avoid cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Each challenge has an impact on the time it takes to close the books every month. How long it takes to close the books depends on your organisation, the complexity of your finances and the size of your accounts team. However, on average the average monthly close cycle takes organisations five to ten days to complete. Whilst the aim is always to complete month-end tasks as swiftly as possible, corners cannot be cut to ensure mistakes are not made.
So, why does closing the books take so long?
Month-end is a stressful time for finance teams. And the worst part – it comes around quickly, 12 times a year.
Performed at the end of each month, it involves several steps to prepare accurate financial reports, including account reconciliations, transaction reviews, entry adjustments, preparation of financial statements and performance analysis.
Unfortunately accounting teams often lack the organisational efficiency, technology and automation it takes for a straightforward, quick close. And a disorganised monthly closing process takes a toll on decision-making, budgeting, and forecasting.
Stakeholders are often waiting for the information and when the pressure is on to deliver, mistakes can be made. If mistakes are identified, more time is spent rectifying. But worse, if they are not spotted before reports are circulated, inaccurate information will be shared.
Finance leaders want to know; “How do I close the books faster?”
One of the top “wants” of financial leaders is to close the books faster. They want to empower the finance team and build inter-team confidence, relinquishing individuals from repetitive clerical tasks to focus on meaningful strategic activities.
Sage’s annual Close the Books survey, a global study of over 1,000 finance professionals, reveals trends and insights on achieving a faster, more accurate financial close.
Finance Leaders, Financial Directors and Chief Finance Officers were surveyed on the people, processes and IT behind their month and year-end.
The survey is free to read and uncovers the key questions all finance professionals are itching to get a honest answer to:
Can you meet the challenge of closing the books faster?
How do your processes measure up against your peers?
How can you make a bigger impact in your role?
Read the report today to reveal the truth and see how you stack up against your fellow professionals.