Are you forgetting important financial tasks?
With the growing number of tasks that need to be performed on a daily, monthly & annual basis to meet regulations it is no wonder that many people are feeling overwhelmed. Using the excuse of you “forgot” may have worked years ago however with regulation becoming tighter and penalties becoming more severe there has to be an increased focus on ensuring that critical financial tasks are performed timely.
One such way of ensuring that key financial tasks are performed timely is by using a month-end checklist. A month-end checklist can be in any format, but the main purpose is to compile a list of the key financial tasks that need to be performed, the frequency with which you need to perform those tasks and then perform the task of tracking to ensure completion of the tasks.
The benefits of a month-end checklist:
Assists with planning your workload during the month to ensure tasks are not left to the last minute or missed;
If tasks are performed earlier then any issues that arise can be resolved earlier;
The focus of your finance team at month end can shift from completing journals and registering invoices to focusing on analysis and reporting.
Key Considerations when compiling a month-end checklist:
Tasks that can be performed earlier in the month should be done so. These should not be left till the end of the month.
Tasks that require a substantial amount of time should be split up during the month. If a task can be performed weekly, then it should. This means that any issues can be identified as you perform the task and not right at the end of the month when there is time pressure. An example could be a complex reconciliation. If entries are performed weekly and the reconciliation is updated weekly, then any discrepancies can be identified on a weekly basis and resolved.
Consider if a review of the task is required and build that into your planning. For example, if you know that your reconciliation requires review by a manager then estimate a reasonable amount of time for the manager review and by working backwards you can determine when the journal needs to be ready for review.
Be realistic when planning the time required to complete the task.
Consider a task dependency as these could have an impact. For example, if you require payroll to be calculated prior to posting the payroll journal then you will need to know the date when the payroll journal needs to be posted and work with HR to ensure that payroll is calculated timely so that both tasks are completed on time.
Doing a bit of upfront planning of your financial tasks can really make a difference to your month-end process and ensures that at the end of the month you are focused on analysis and reporting rather than trying to post entries and play catch up.
To obtain a free excel template that can be used to help you track your month-end tasks please click this link to request it.
If you would like assistance in assessing your financial tasks and how your month-end process can be made more efficient please contact us.