Automation and the Month-End Close

  • By Liz Briggson
  • July 17th, 2023

The month-end close process can vary significantly from one organization to another. The industry, entity size, and nature of the business operations play a significant role in the month-end close process. Outside of these considerations, there is another factor that has an even larger impact on the quality and duration of the close: Automation. Regardless of industry or size, organizations who embrace the right automation can experience a very different month-end close process and outcome versus those who rely on manual methods. 

In a recent webinar, Nancy Wu with SkyStem discussed the immediate impact of automation on the month-end close: Month-End Close – Before and After Automation 

Nancy discussed how automation can lead to maximizing efficiency, continuous improvements, and consistent quality. 

There are telltale signs of organizations who do not embrace automation. For these organizations, the month-end close is often unpredictable. The timing and quality of the reporting can vary significantly from period to period. Additionally, a troubled close process can lead to:

  • Poor accountability with team members
  • Results that are difficult to measure
  • Financial reporting that is difficult to audit (internally and externally)
  • Fragile processes (one mistake can blow up everything)
  • Lack of management and executive reporting

A common mistake is for teams to lack controls over creating new general ledger accounts. When there are too many accounts, it means there is more analysis and management oversite needed. It also means there are more opportunities for errors, especially in a close without automation. 

Accounting teams can incorporate the following steps to improve their close process: 

  1. Set the account population (less is more here)
  2. Set a consistent time to lock down the books
  3. Assign clear ownership and oversight
  4. Maintain a close checklist
  5. Mind the reconciliations (when accounts are reconciled, there are less errors!)
  6. Don’t forget to flux the accounts
  7. Employ thresholds on the analysis
  8. Set goals and milestones

Some may think the steps above look like a daunting task. Especially if the current month-end close process is in chaos. The most effective way to move your close towards a streamlined process is to embrace the right automation. Utilizing a tool such as SkyStem’s ART enables teams to standardize their reconciliation and close processes. ART offers the following features: 

  • Reconciliation Automation
  • Balance sheet flux & P&L variance analysis
  • Account certification
  • Close process automation
  • Reports and dashboards

To see ART in action you can schedule a demo HERE 

For more information, visit and follow SkyStem on LinkedIn You can also checkout SkyStem’s upcoming events on Encoursa from their company page:

  • SkyStem
  • automation
  • month-end close
About the author
Liz Briggson
Liz Briggson

Liz is a licensed CPA in the state of Michigan and a member of the Encoursa team. Liz also provides business valuation consulting services and is actively involved in the Grand Rapids, MI business community through the Association for Corporate Growth.

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