The Accounting team usually prepares checklists to manage the various tasks and deliverables required to close the books.
Most organizations have a certain set of common tasks to be completed every month and some tasks may be done only on a quarterly or annual basis.
The close checklist is not a “static reference” or a cheat-sheet, it’s a dynamic tracker for managing a successful on-time month end close process.
What is a “Month Close Checklist?”
Every accounting team manages a set of tasks to be completed to ensure that the organization’s books are closed on time with no errors or omissions. In larger organizations, these tasks often involve multiple individuals across different departments and geographies. To help manage and track the tasks or deliverables to be done by various functions, accountants prepare a calendar of the necessary tasks. This checklist becomes a ‘living document’ and roadmap that is used throughout the month end close process to ensure that all tasks are completed on time. Most organizations have a certain set of common tasks to be completed every month and frequency of other tasks may vary.
How to use the Checklist:
Download the template provided and customize to your specific due dates and tasks as relevant to your organization. For example, if the billing cut-off takes place on the last working day of the month, you can include the same along with the name of the person responsible for the billing.
Track actuals data on a monthly basis
Compare actual completion dates with planned dates to identify potential areas of improvement.
How our Checklist will help you:
Identify the essential features to ensure the success of your month closing
Help you look for reconciliation and month end software that is flexible and allows you to streamline your entire close task management;
Seek features like touchless invoice processing, mobile invoice approval, e-procurement, and much more, to fully close process automation.
Frequently Asked Questions
At HighRadius, we know Finance because we come from Finance. This close checklist was developed by a team of experts from leading global systems integrators as well as public company finance teams, and designed to be flexible and adaptable to your organization’s unique needs.
A Month close checklist ensures that all critical tasks that need to be completed are done before the books are closed. This includes things like making sure that all billing is completed, all expenses are accounted for, and any necessary account reconciliations are completed etc.
Beyond the core function of making sure that the essential month end close process tasks are completed, the checklist can spotlight other opportunities to improve your month end close process. Are there opportunities for training and/or automation? Where are the recurring bottlenecks? Are we using our distributed team in the most effective way?
The best way to manage the checklist is to leverage a Smart Close Management tool which can not only provide high level visibility of tasks done and pending completion but also help identify potential roadblocks or delays.
As organizations grow their business and mature their finance processes, it’s typical to graduate from spreadsheets to a proper financial close management solution for a comprehensive, transparent, robust and repeatable month end close process.
What gets measured, gets improved. Using an accounting month end close checklist excel will give you baseline consistency and repeatability. Following the process consistently, you will be able to quickly identify areas of improvement and potential impact on close timelines.
To improve close timelines and complete tasks faster, it is important to ensure that you are not spending too much time at month end correcting upstream errors or carrying out manual excel operations. Automation of tasks should be the # 1 priority so your team can focus on higher-value work vs. repetitive close tasks.
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