How changing the month-end close process can impact your business

Written on Aug 31, 2017

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

A faster month-end close is possible, but you first must change the way you think about it. Greg Meredith, practice leader of business advisory group Brixey & Meyer, said he wants professionals to start approaching month end from a business mindset.

“It is a key business process, and people who are inside that process don’t always think about it from that perspective,” he said.

Meredith spoke last week at OSCPA’s Accounting Technology Conference in Columbus on ways to optimize month-end close and how it can positively impact the business.

He said three major factors determine whether a business will have a fast close: “The people that are involved, the process that is followed and the technology that is used to support it.”

“If even one of these three areas aren’t at their best,” Meredith said, “the problems can cause a domino effect slowing everything down.

“There are several indicators of a broken process and you need to identify what the source is of those issues,” he said. Broken process indicators include work that isn’t done right the first time, too many reviews and relying too much on certain individuals. Meredith said the sooner these issues are addressed, the sooner businesses will see the positive impact of a faster close.

One of those benefits, he said, means going from being a scorekeeper in the organization to a strategic partner.

“That’s really important because if you can deliver a fast close that is meaningful and improves the operating metrics of the business, then they know what they’re getting and can rely on it,” he said.

Accurate information delivered efficiently from month end will allow your business to pivot and make decisions more quickly, and Meredith said this changes how those involved with the process are viewed. Your peers will know it’s essential to work with the CFO and controller because they provide the strategic information needed to make better business decisions.

“Think about it more broadly as a key business process rather than just keeping score,” Meredith said. “Don’t think it doesn’t impact the business at a deep level because in most businesses it really does.”

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