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.

  1. Review your chart of accounts and set the account population. More accounts mean more work and a higher likelihood of errors.
  2. Lock down unused and inactive accounts within your GL or ERP system.
  3. Assign every GL account one owner.
  4. Maintain a detailed close checklist that lists each close activity along with the owner, reviewer, deadline, status, risk level, instructions, and other pertinent information.
  5. 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.)
  6. Perform a flux analysis with thresholds and investigate variances.
  7. Set close milestones with the goal of closing on a consistent timeframe every month.
  8. Analyze your close regularly and continually make improvements.
  9. 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

For more information, visit www.skystem.com and follow SkyStem on LinkedIn.


  • Month-end close
  • process improvement
  • financial close
  • continuous improvement
  • controllership
  • balance sheet reconciliations
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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