9 Hard-Won Tips to Improve Month-End Close
- By Liz Briggson
- February 24th, 2023
Have you ever felt stuck in your current month-end close processes? When close comes around, most professionals feel they are racing a clock. For this reason, most teams can benefit from taking time after the books are closed to assess and improve their month-end close processes.
Nancy Wu with SkyStem provided an overview of where to start in her recent webinar Show Some TLC for the Close. With a background as a consultant and auditor, Nancy has interacted with the month-end close cycle in some way for most of her career. Consider these 9 tips hard-won wisdom to share to your team.
- Review your chart of accounts and set the account population. More accounts mean more work and a higher likelihood of errors.
- Lock down unused and inactive accounts within your GL or ERP system.
- Assign every GL account one owner.
- Maintain a detailed close checklist that lists each close activity along with the owner, reviewer, deadline, status, risk level, instructions, and other pertinent information.
- Reconcile your balance sheet accounts during month-end close. (Check out the 19 minute market of the webinar to see an actual example of a best practice account reconciliation.)
- Perform a flux analysis with thresholds and investigate variances.
- Set close milestones with the goal of closing on a consistent timeframe every month.
- Analyze your close regularly and continually make improvements.
- Document your close processes and cross-train your team members.
Utilizing cloud-based tools helps tremendously when seeking to follow a checklist and assign ownership in a way that is visible to the entire team. SkyStem’s ART platform provides reconciliation automation, close process automation, built-in flux and variance analysis, and more.
To see SkyStem in action and earn 1 CPE credit, join us next month for SkyStem’s live demo webinar: Harness the Power of Month-End Automation
- Month-end close
- process improvement
- financial close
- continuous improvement
- balance sheet reconciliations