Faster and error-free closing of the books is one of the most important tasks for finance departments. This is because the analysis generated from this activity spans across several parts of the organization. It is and must be operational in nature for it to be worthy of the time investment.
Being able to close the books fast means enabling the management to see in a timely manner what went wrong, what the team has succeeded in doing, and what else can be done to avoid future problems. It is all about being quick enough in adjusting the strategies employed.
Faster closing of the books, undoubtedly, gives more time for everyone to do a deeper analysis of the business and more time to prepare for other reports.
We have listed below what we think can help you speed up your process of closing the books to be able to complete this process in ideally just 5 days or less.
- Ask yourself the question, why can’t I close the books faster?
Closing of the books must start with an attitude of wanting to consistently improve. By answering this question, you can have a rundown of the issues that currently plague your processes. It is a good way to find out how well you manage certain aspects of the financial process such as reporting issues, data integrity issues, accounts receivable and accounts payable issues, and many others.
By always asking this question, it is easier to see a trend over time on which areas of the process continue to delay the closing. Armed with this knowledge, you can look at that specific aspect of the process to try and improve it.
- Are my data consistent and reliable?
The integrity of data is one of the most crucial aspects of closing the books. Several companies complain of delays due to lack of trust in the numbers that there is a need to retrace certain steps before they can move forward. Ensuring that data is clean and reliable must be one of the top priorities for improvement.
Several financial management software such as Performance Canvas by DSPanel is tasked to ensure just that – achievement of consistent and reliable figures.
- Do I do a step by step documentation of my process for the next close?
This question is important because it tries to suggest a helpful step of documenting. By doing this, it becomes easier to track the aspects of the process that usually cause problems. As the process gets repeated, there is continuous learning that might ultimately lead you to reorder the steps in a more efficient manner, maybe simplify some of the other steps, or even totally remove unnecessary steps.
- Is my intracompany eliminations and workflow automated?
There is a strong correlation between automation and the number of days it takes to close the books. By automating your intracompany eliminations and other processes, significant time is saved.
Several companies understand that automation is important but the biggest problem still lies in the fact that only a certain portion of the process is automated. The rest are still manually done. Manual work leads to unnecessary time spent and higher likelihood of errors which can again add to further delays.
- Am I delayed due to spreadsheet errors?
Despite the known problems associated with spreadsheets, it cannot be denied that the response of many companies in moving away from spreadsheets has been slower than expected. Spreadsheets are still deeply entrenched in business processes. The major problem with this is that there is a huge number of errors that can lead to a lot of frustration and unnecessary delay.
This should be easily addressed by choosing a software to aid your organization in trying to move away from complex spreadsheets as fast and as efficient as possible.
- Have I adopted a new financial management software?
Around closing of the books time, CFOs and Finance managers need very little convincing in adopting a new financial management software – both for reporting and budgeting as well as consolidating. This is because the pains of closing are still fresh in their minds. However, as the search for the right technology begins, they realize it is a vast ocean out there with several fishing boats claiming more or less the same thing.
It is such a big decision that it requires a lot of time for you to look into the most appropriate solution. This is completely logical and understandable but it is important that you keep in mind that you need technology if you want to be agile. What has always worked in the past does not necessary mean it is the only way forward.
It is also important to remember that you do not need to adjust your entire process to accommodate the software. The software must adjust to ensure it meets your unique business needs.
If you are looking for ways to be able to close the books faster and in an error-free manner, Performance Canvas by DSPanel offers cutting edge integrated technology for reporting and analysis, budgeting, forecasting, and consolidating. It also offers automation of accounts receivables, accounts payables, profitability analysis, and more.
DSPanel offers cutting edge technology platform for business analytics, planning, and visualization. DSPanel designs, builds, and operates with the end users in mind. Performance Canvas was created by DSPanel to answer the unarticulated needs of the market not addressed by previous available solutions. With Performance Canvas, information is transformed into valuable business insights for the business executives to utilize in their decision-making process. DSPanel currently has over 2500 organizations deploying their solutions.