Decoding the Challenges of the Month-End Close

The month-end close is a critical process, and even more so because it affects all aspects of a business. Unfortunately, this process isn’t always smooth, and mistakes can happen, but having the right tools and systems in place helps ensure everything is correct, allowing you to use the month-end close to your advantage.

Our ongoing blog series explores how businesses successfully complete the monthly close: highlighting tools, checklists, and guidelines to prepare for month-end closing and better estimating how long the closing process will take.

We wanted to dig deeper and look at the specific challenges companies face when closing their books at the end of the month.

Challenge 1: Data Lives in Spreadsheet Madness

When it comes to your month-end close, data is king. But when your data lives scattered across multiple spreadsheets, gathering and organizing everything in time for the close can be challenging. 

Spreadsheets are also prone to human error, and the last thing you need is to spend countless hours tracking down the source of an error. All it takes is one misplaced decimal point or added keystroke for an incorrect entry, and suddenly your entire financial report is inaccurate.

Challenge 2: Lack of Clearly Defined Processes

Without a clear understanding of what needs to be done and when, you’re left stumbling around in the dark, increasing the risk of errors and omissions, which can have serious consequences.

Starting with a detailed checklist to define the steps of the close and establish roles and responsibilities will help set you up for a more successful close.

Challenge 3: Being Reactive Rather Than Proactive During the Month-End

You shouldn’t be functioning in constant crisis management mode. If you’re always reacting to issues as they come up and not addressing the root cause of the problem, you’re going to keep encountering the same issues month after month.

Here are three ways that reactivity can make the month-end close more difficult:

  • Lack of visibility: By only reacting to issues as they arise, you’re not getting a clear picture of the overall process. This lack of visibility can make it difficult to identify areas for improvement and can hinder your ability to make strategic decisions.
  • Time constraints: Reacting to issues is time-consuming and leaves little time for analysis or optimization. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details and lose sight of more important closing activities.
  • Increased risk: When you’re dashing to meet deadlines and constantly putting out fires, you’re more likely to overlook or miss important details altogether.

Challenge 4: Outdated Software Causing Limited Financial Insight

Many accounting teams lack the resources and tools to efficiently handle the month-end close. This makes it difficult to understand performance from one period to the next and limits their ability to have access to real-time financial insights.

Fortunately, modern cloud solutions like Sage Intacct make it easy to unify financial operations and increase visibility into your business, bridging the gap between siloed, manual processes and dynamic, real-time visibility.

With a more advanced and up-to-date platform, gain key insights and build better processes to make the month-end close easier and faster to manage.

Learn more about how to overcome these challenges with our tips for best practices in our upcoming blog, or get in touch with our trusted financial advisors.

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