The month-end close: a job we (as finance staff) all love to hate. Yet with these best practice principles you could learn to love it.
In case you missed it, Adra Match recently conducted a webinar on how to improve the month-end close process. The webinar was a success; highlighting some key best practice principles for finance staff, fill in this contact form to get your free recording of the ‘month end best practise webinar’. Here are some of the takeaways:
The problems of month-end close processes
There are several key issues that we as finance staff are faced with when it comes to the month-end close process. These can include:
- Intensive manual processing, such as data matching and reconciliations
- Differences not satisfactory identified and some items left open, due to lack of time
- The knowledge that the heavy manual workload can lead to human error, and all the effort for preventing it
- Will we make it in time? How far have we actually come? The lack of easy visibility
- The overall increased pressure to close the books faster
This creates an overwhelming challenge for finance staff.
This challenge is compounded by tight regulation which requires steps to be taken to combat fraud and financial misstatement, making the little or no segregation of duties for the month-end close process trickier.
So with these challenges in mind, let’s take a look at some best practices that can help alleviate some of this pressure.
Some best practices
- Categorise accounts – which are the most risky ones, to the less risky ones.
- Spot the key accounts, they might not be risky, but if they are correct, other accounts will be follow.
- Reconcile key accounts first and then the risky ones.
- Have a schedule for when accounts which accounts reconciliation has to start and finish, and which are to succeed. Actually, some accounts can actually be reconciled earlier than after their closing.
- Make consistent templates and ensure everyone knows how to use them. It is important that the main part that makes up for the reconciliation can be understood and checked in the template and not by having to check the supporting documentation. This makes the approval easier.
- Ensure everyone knows how to use the different templates … and uses them.
- Make sure to have a second approver. If the templates are properly used, then the approval is a simpler task, both because all reconciliation are conform, and since it is easy to check them.
With these best practices in place your month-end close will be quicker and more reliable.
However, for most, applying them can seem like more trouble than it is worth.
A smarter month-end close in a single step
Fortunately, all these best practices can be implemented in one easy step for a smarter month-end close process. Specialist monthly close software, such as BALANCER, provides:
- Custom templates and automated workflows for process best practice
- Central dashboard for management visibility and oversight
- Governance, risk and compliance (GRC) portal for quick and easy risk monitoring
- Automatic drill-down reporting for monitoring and testing
…and many more essential features.
What’s more, since it is a Cloud-based accounting solution it can be installed quickly and painlessly – so you could have all your best practices in place for your next monthly close. See the full list of benefits, watch this free demo video of balance sheet reconciliation software BALANCER today.
Fill in this contact form to get your free recording of the ‘month end best practise webinar’.
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