It’s that time of year when the finance team must begin thinking in earnest about closing the books for the year. For many CFO’s, the task will be especially challenging this time around, as they face an increased shortage of qualified CPAs and other finance professionals. If you haven’t already considered how you might lighten the load for your staff in the early months of 2022, now is the time to start looking for creative solutions. Here are some suggested strategies:
Do as Much as Possible in Advance
Not all of your year-end worksheets necessarily need to be prepared after December 31st. Lease accounting and loan amortization tables can often be reconciled before the year-end, at least on a preliminary basis. Identify accounts that typically require periodic reconciliation, but are relatively predictable as to activity that will occur in the final weeks of the year. Leases and loans, fixed assets that were acquired or sold, and even some cash accounts with minimal activity may be candidates for a preliminary round of reconciliation. Keep a list of such accounts, along with worksheets and other backup materials, so that balances can be verified and signed off after transaction processing has been closed for the year.
Line up Temporary Help
It’s a busy time for everybody, but to the extent that temporary resources may be available, it’s worth getting in line early. Temp agencies and internships may be good sources of part-time staff to help fill the gap. Recent retirees may also be open to short-term engagements, provided that you can find them, get them on the schedule in advance, and determine which tasks may be most appropriate to delegate. Employees who recently retired from the company on good terms may be an especially rich source of temporary help, especially given their familiarity with your organization. If you can offer competitive pay and an opportunity to work from home, you can potentially sweeten the pot enough to bring them on board for a month or two early in the new year.
It’s Not Too Late to Automate
Many of the most time-consuming tasks associated with end of your closing involve fairly extensive manual manipulation of data in spreadsheets. There are excellent software solutions on the market that help companies to automate those kinds of tasks. In addition to saving time, they generally also reduce the incidence of errors by eliminating tedious copy/paste processes and manual data entry.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that automation necessarily amounts to an expensive, time-consuming software implementation project. With modern cloud-based solutions, a relatively small investment of time and resources today can often get your team up and running with automation in just days. If you can sign up for a limited-scope time commitment, the cost/benefit of doing it now gets even better.
For Consolidated Financials, Automate the “Last Mile”
Manual spreadsheet-based efforts are especially painful for companies with multiple locations, where finance teams are tasked with aggregating and harmonizing data from multiple entities to produce consolidated financial statements. Gathering information from finance leads in each company, entering that information into a consolidated spreadsheet, re-checking balances, and running financial statements can be cumbersome when you’re dealing with multiple corporate entities, different currencies, and even different ERP systems.
The emergence of multiple bodies of accounting standards, – GAAP, IFRS, and numerous country specific GAAP variants, – renders this problem even more challenging.
When your organization relies upon multiple, distinct ERP systems (including separate companies running the same ERP), it can often be frustrating to bring that information together into a single, harmonized view of the business. The central corporate finance team needs to make adjusting entries and eliminations, perform currency revaluations, and render financial statements that conform to US-GAAP, IFRS, China-GAAP, and other standards.
At Mondial, we provide that “last mile” accounting system that integrates with every group-company ERP under your umbrella, importing subledger detail to preserve drill-down visibility to sales and purchasing, with a complete audit-trail in place. With our Mondial CRx product, we make it easy to produce financial statements from that information that meet statutory compliance standards for every jurisdiction in which you operate, with full multicurrency support.
Mondial CRx can be implemented at your business in just days, taking a big chunk out of your year-end closing efforts later on. Until December 17th, we’re offering a no-obligation opportunity to try CRx on a limited-commitment basis. Schedule a free, no-obligation demo to learn more.