Every organisation is familiar with the month end close. It’s a critical financial process involving reconciling accounts, reviewing financial statements and preparing reports. However, as crucial as it is, every finance team recognises that the month-end close can be a time-consuming and tedious task. There is no way around it, the process has to be completed. Fortunately, there are ways to streamline and accelerate this it and make the close period a far less stressful time.
In this latest blog we explore seven tips to speed up your month-end close, whilst ensuring efficiency and accuracy in your financial management.
1. Streamline your closing checklist
Create a detailed checklist of tasks to be completed during the month end process. This will ensure you are organised, know exactly what needs to be completed and that nothing is overlooked.
By having a clear and comprehensive checklist, you will be able to effectively manage your time and resources. Start by identifying all the necessary tasks that need to be completed:
preparing financial statements
reviewing budget variances
Break each task down into smaller sub-tasks and assign specific deadlines for completion. This will help you stay on track and ensure that all necessary steps are taken. Regularly review and update the checklist to reflect any changes or improvements that may arise.
By streamlining your closing checklist in this way you will improve your efficiency and accuracy of the process.
2. Automate repetitive tasks
In order to streamline your workflow and save valuable time, it is best practice to identify time-consuming and repetitive tasks. These tasks can range from data entry to report generation.
Through the analysis of these tasks, you will be able to determine which ones can be automated using tools or software. Automation not only reduces the amount of manual work required, but also increases productivity and significantly reduces the margin of error.
3. Set clear deadlines
To ensure a smooth month end process, it is essential to establish clear deadlines for each step. These deadlines should be communicated to all relevant stakeholders such as team members and clients, in order to keep everyone accountable and ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner.
By setting distinct deadlines, you create a sense of urgency and promote a proactive approach towards the completion of tasks, ultimately contributing to the overall success of the month end process.
4. Standardise processes
Standardising procedures for each month end task will help eliminate any confusion or duplication of efforts. By establishing a set of standardised steps, everyone involved can easily follow the same process, time can be saved and errors reduced.
With a clear and consistent approach, the entire month end process becomes more streamlined and reliable.
5. Use technology to your advantage
Leveraging financial management software, such as Sage Intacct, can vastly enhance the month end process. This advanced technology, which can be seamlessly integrated with other platforms, automates and streamlines various tasks, making them more efficient and less prone to errors.
Embracing technology allows for greater accuracy and faster turnaround times in the month end process and overall improved financial management.
6. Implement a continuous close process
Rather than waiting until the end of the month to start the closing process, implementing a continuous close process can greatly improve the efficiency of your financial procedures. By performing certain tasks throughout the month using your financial management software, you can distribute the workload and reduce the overall time it takes to close the books.
This proactive approach ensures that you are constantly staying on top of your financials, rather than waiting until the end of the month.
7. Review and improve
Regularly reviewing and improving your month end process is essential for optimising your procedures. Seek feedback from your team to identify areas where improvements can be made.
By streamlining and optimising your processes, you can further enhance the efficiency of your month end closing process.
Financial management software, such as Sage Intacct, can play a crucial role in speeding up your month end process. The automation capabilities can help you eliminate manual tasks, reduce errors and save valuable time.
By leveraging technology, you can streamline your closing checklist, automate repetitive tasks, and standardise processes. Implementing a continuous close process and regularly reviewing and improving your procedures can further enhance efficiency. And with the right tools and strategies in place, you can significantly accelerate your month end process and improve overall productivity.
If you want to close the books faster, consider the immediate steps you can take and start to make a change. If you are ready to make a more significant change, the implementation of a new finance management system is the route to success.
Close the Books Survey
The results of Sage’s annual ‘Close the Books’ survey have now been released.
The findings of the 2023 survey, where over 1,000 finance professionals shared their best practices on how to achieve a faster and more accurate close, have been collated into a highly insightful eBook.
You can download the results for free and find out:
how your processes measure up against your peers
how you can meet the challenge of closing the books faster