By: Karen Appleby, Senior Principal
Is your holiday happiness overshadowed by the dread of starting your year-end close in January?
Don’t worry: Salo has a list of things you can do now to get a jump on it!
- Review. Take a look at the steps in your close process. What are the major “chunks” of work and their order?
- Define your milestones. Gather a small group of close participants and identify the major milestones. Draw them out and determine the approximate day when they should occur.
- Define your process. Walk through each milestone in order with the group. What is needed to start? To finish? Is the timing achievable? If not, can you move something forward?
- Identify resources and assess bandwidth. Who is responsible for each phase? Do you need to redistribute tasks? What can be done ahead of time?
- Evaluate your timeline. Ask whether each step is really needed to get to net income and a balance sheet. Some account reconciliations can be performed after more critical tasks are completed, allowing others to move forward.
- Plan ahead for change. Is there anything new or different about this year-end close that might make it more challenging? Are there any unusual staffing challenges? What can you do to prepare?
- Communicate the plan. Once you have a plan in place, share it with others so everyone knows their role.
- Name a project manager. This person can confirm that major milestones are happening as planned and that bottlenecks get immediate attention. This person should also record successes and challenges along the way.
- Celebrate when you’re done! Find ways to demonstrate your appreciation for all of the effort.
- Review and modify. Get the planning group back together for a post close discussion. What worked? What didn’t? What would you change next time?
Connect with Salo to learn more about how others have improved their close process.
Karen Appleby is a Senior Principal in our Chicago office.
Click here to connect with Karen.