Reduce Year-End Accounting Woes with these End-of-Month Closing Best Practices
By Wiss Advisory Associate
One of the best ways to alleviate end-of-year financial stress is by being more proactive in your monthly closing process. The trick to keeping procrastination at bay throughout the year is to make your monthly closings more productive and predictable. Follow these tips to stay on track each month.
Set and maintain a schedule. When your staff knows that the final Friday of the month (or whichever date you set) is close time, it becomes a structured part of the schedule. An official date is less likely to get pushed back or to take people by surprise.
Break big tasks into smaller activities. The month-end close can seem like an unwieldy beast, until you break it down into individual responsibilities and assignments. Map your duties out by due date, and you’ll have an action plan for success. Your task list might look something like this.
- Final date to close accounts receivables so that subledger and general ledger reconciliation can be performed
- Final date to close accounts payable for the month so that accounts payable aging is up to date and reconciliation can be performed
- Date for all manual journal entries to be turned in
- Date for submission of all financial reports/packages that have to be created
Assign tasks. Who’s responsible for what? Make sure all team members have their assigned duties and that one person has primary overall responsibility. If there are multiple people on the team, cross-train each member on every responsibility. That way, you won’t be caught when someone goes on vacation, takes maternity leave or turns in two weeks’ notice.
Above all, good communication within your department is the key to a successful monthly close. When you encourage your bookkeeping team to keep up on a monthly basis, they’ll be able to make progress on key financial activities well in advance of tax time.
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