Only 26% of companies close the books in less than one week, meaning almost three quarters take longer. For most, the monthly, quarterly, and especially year-end close are notorious for being slow-moving and labor-intensive efforts. But clearly some companies have perfected this process and condensed the labor involved. Now, at the end of the most chaotic year in recent memory, it’s worth asking what’s keeping everyone from achieving a best-in-class close?
The obvious answer is accountants. As an “all hands on deck” endeavor, the close process goes faster the more people get involved. But considering the high-cost and low-availability of accountants right now, hiring people to streamline the close doesn’t make sense. Neither does asking the existing team to do more with the exact same resources.
Fortunately, the quarter of companies who fit the close into a week don’t rely on staff to meet that short deadline. Just the opposite – they remove accountants from the equation as much as possible. That might sound counter-intuitive, yet anyone who’s been through the close process knows it amounts to hours of manually moving and entering data. Why rely on accountants to handle this tedious work when technology could do it instead – and better than ever.
A financial management solution like Sage Intacct that handles every aspect of accounting offers exactly what accountants need to revolutionize the close process: a central repository for all accounting information surrounded by robust automated capabilities. Once configured, those capabilities can perform the consolidations that accountants dread doing, and do them faster and more precisely than any accountant ever could. With Sage Intacct, the year-end close process and producing 1099s is no different than closing your sub-ledgers and your general ledger, just as you do at the end of each month.
Sage Intacct also comes with tools to increase visibility and flexibility around the close process. Though automated, the close isn’t out of control. The accounting team can tailor it to fit their needs and monitor it for consistency and quality. Primarily, though, the team can refocus their time at the end of the month, quarter, or year onto something more important: high-level, revenue-generating, or strategic accounting that benefits from their attention and expertise.
With Sage Intacct, you don’t even have to close the books monthly or annually, though it is recommended to prevent unwanted additions of any transactions after the end of the year. If you have not performed period end closings prior to year end, you can still choose to close the entire year!
A best-in-class close orchestrated by Sage Intacct makes life easier for accountants while improving financial decision making across the board. Automated consolidations mean that updated numbers are available all the time. There’s no need to wait for the close; accountants, executives, and managers across departments have the newest numbers whenever they need them. In that way, the close is a mere formality – the official end to a process already complete rather than a process unto itself.
Make this new year the time when you elevate your close process – and financial management as a whole – to best-in-class status. Contact Equation Technologies for help with your year end close or to see how Sage Intacct can help your organization with stronger financial management.