It’s crazy how fast the year goes. It seems like just yesterday, we were planning our upcoming year, and now it’s time to do it again. As this calendar comes to a close, it’s important to ensure you have a secure foundation that allows decision makers to have access to organized workflows and critical information that’ll pave the way for a smooth finish.
As the year draws to a close, controllers, CFOs, and accountants often find themselves scurrying to find the information stakeholders need to justify the decisions that have been made over the past twelve months—and those that are forecast to be made in the coming year. Before you know it, you’ll be facing down deadlines, as regulators and investors ask for critical financial reports that showcase your company’s results over the last year. By Q4, it’s a race to the finish to ensure all adjustments, accruals, and allocations have been recorded. It’s only when everything is signed off on that leaders can begin a comprehensive review process to look for material mistakes, errors, and omissions.
When you have established processes, great tools, and proper workflows in place, you’ll be able to ensure no stone is left unturned. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for businesses to struggle with this setup. As period-close workflows approach, it can be difficult—if not impossible—to pinpoint exactly where bottlenecks and obstacles reside.
That’s why we’ve created this year-end checklist to help you and your fellow leaders take control of your organization.
1. Focus on Accuracy
Accuracy doesn’t need to equal perfection, but your records still need to be as correct as possible. If you’re still using spreadsheets and sticky notes, the upcoming months will be far more difficult for your organization than if you have an automated tool in place that’s built to bring all your systems together.
If you don’t have methodical business practices in place, you’re not capturing all the material information you need to analyze your company’s financial health. It’s one thing to reorganize the order of responsibilities in your firm; it’s another to actually document those changes so your team can realize the benefits of the improvements you’re hoping to make.
As you make changes to your processes, it’s important to focus on accuracy. If you have gaps in knowledge or processes, your team can struggle to keep up, particularly as year-end comes to a close.
This is why it’s essential to lean on cloud-based solutions that decrease errors and manual entry. When you do so, you’ll have a better grip on the scope of your projects and the time it’ll take to complete requests from stakeholders. This means you’ll free up employees’ time and ensure you’re delivering the most accurate results possible to those most invested in your projects.
2. Don’t Negate the Importance of Timeliness
Timeliness is just as big of a struggle as accuracy. As deadlines rush in, it can be difficult for team members to make sure they’ve captured, sorted, and verified all necessary transactions within the timelines given. Of course, when it comes to combining month-end, quarter-end, and year-end data, leaders require a flood of reports that were needed yesterday.
When team members have to trace, vouch for, and analyze information, it adds to the burden of retrieving data in a timely manner. Without a proper system in place, staff has to spend time compiling and presenting their findings to stakeholders.
Naturally, everybody’s on a tight schedule, and turnaround timeframes are often expected at unreasonable lengths, particularly if you’re operating on an outdating system that doesn’t reconcile all data into a single platform.
A lot of the dread related to end-of-year reporting can be stifled when you have a great toolset in place. The stress and uncertainty of this quarter can be relinquished when you have controls and processes in place. NetSuite’s platform offers you visibility into the strengths and weaknesses of your organization in real-time. This means manual tasks can be automated and repetitive tasks can be eliminated, minimizing the risk of human error and saving time when leadership needs reports right now.
3. Shine a Spotlight on Your Employees
The essence of great leadership is highlighting the great things your employees have done for your organization. If you’re responsible for a team, set aside your need to be seen and shine the light on those closer to the frontlines
It can be difficult to track all the great things your people do for your company and customers over an entire year, but there are tools to help you acknowledge these efforts. Lean on a software solution that lets you compile the accomplishments of your team throughout the year so you don’t have to go back through hand-written notes when Q4 hits. Keep up on these initiatives as the calendar pages pass by so you’re equipped to offer kudos when the year draws to an end.
4. Engage with Audit Committees Early
If you don’t have the right systems and processes in place, you’re more likely to put off audits until absolutely necessary. This can be trying and time-consuming for your staff. However, if you’ve got the tools you need in your toolbelt, you’ll be apt to request audits early in the year-end close process so you can avoid pitfalls that can bottleneck processes.
5. Improve and Implement Financial Controls
You really need a financial management system that can help you assess how your company is doing at any given time so you can forecast success and mitigate risks when they occur. Auditors are more than likely to assess your systems, and if they don’t deem, they’re operating properly, you’ll not only be at risk of time and effort—but you may be risking your business.
Lean on technology to show you the way when it comes to financial controls. NetSuite can help you get where you need to be.
6. Talk to MIBAR
Taking back control with NetSuite and MIBAR. NetSuite builds efficient close processes from the ground up, ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of year-end financial reports. Built-in automated processes reduce manual data entry, minimize human error, and support a faster close, while period-close checklists and configurable task lists ensure workflows remain on track.
Having a business partner that understands the need for controls within this most critical business process, MIBAR can help you leverage the awesome power of the NetSuite financial management system like nobody’s business. Whether its year-end close, multi-company consolidations, a complex chart of accounts re-design, cash flow management or financial reporting know how, MIBAR consultants have the experience to help you stay in control with more timely financial reporting, transaction level audit control, expense approval management and budgeting. So give MIBAR a call or fill out our contact form and talk to one of our experienced consultants to learn how we can help ease your end-of-year stress.