Once a year the month-end close falls on Halloween, but finance staff are battling with some spooky demons all year round. You may not believe that these demons really exist, but according to the Adra Match Financial Benchmark Report, only 19% of finance staff trust their reported figures, and 90% reported being under pressure to complete the month-end close faster.
These demons sneak into the monthly financial close, wreaking havoc and causing sleepless nights, errors, and delays in reporting.
Let’s take a look at the usual month-end demons…
The Account Specification Beast
This demon doesn’t care whether you specify accounts on multiple tabs on an Excel document or create separate files for each account – the account specification beast will still cause you a whole lot of problems. By creating multiple tabs in one file you ensure that only one staff member can make edits at a time – delaying the process – yet using separate files leaves a huge mess of files that could easily be misplaced.
The Documentation Devil
Documentation can prove another little demon. Either you need to destroy a forest every month to print every piece of documentation out; add every piece of documentation to the spreadsheet, building a huge file in the process; or you create links to the documentation stored on your server, in which case you can’t even touch your file architecture for at least 10 years. None of these are particularly effective against the documentation devil, yet a third of finance departments continue to use binders.
The Four-Eyed Approval Demon
This demon loves to mess with your governance, risk, and compliance. By requiring two sets of eyes to check and approve the month-end close figures, the demon eats your time, delaying the reporting date.
An Overview Nightmare
Did you know that only 8% of finance staff are happy with the visibility of their close process? Getting a quick, clear and up-to-the-minute overview of your month-end close status is difficult at the best of times, but with shared spreadsheets, digital documentation, and communication via email, it becomes an impossible nightmare to escape!
Archiving can prove its own special circle of hell. Either you print everything out and keep it in binders – wasting paper, ink, and storage space – or you keep a digital archive on servers, which makes that servers space completely untouchable for at least the next 10 years. Both options see you descending further into archiving hell with little hope of escape.
The Bloodcurdling Audit
Does the prospect of an external audit make your blood run cold? A mysterious force swoops in to judge whether your accounts are accurate, whether your processes are up to scratch, and determine whether you are remaining compliant with all applicable regulations. Given the lack of trust, visibility, and the overreliance on binders for archiving, how well do you think most accounts departments fair during an audit?
Fortunately, you can put these month-end close demons to bed once and for all – download our free guide to dealing with the seven spooky challenges of month-end reconciliation for more information on how to vanquish these demons.