Closing the Books Faster and Better

By Philippa Lawrence.

Finance teams face mounting pressure to act and adapt at an ever-accelerating pace. This is perhaps most evident in the increasing demand to close the books faster. According to a recent survey of more than 1,400 finance and accounting professionals, a whopping 93% say they’re under pressure to close more quickly.

But “quick” is not a term typically associated with closing the books. Traditionally, reconciling financial statements at the end of a reporting period—whether monthly, quarterly, or annually—has been a labor-intensive process that can take weeks to complete.

What if it didn’t have to be that way? Finance leaders and accountants should aim for one of accounting’s most ambitious goals: a zero-day close, leveraging continuously available, up-to-date information to close the books at any time.

Faster is better, but speed itself isn’t the point. The goal of a zero-day close process is to establish a nonstop feedback loop that delivers superior business insights and provides all stakeholders with a complete, real-time snapshot of the health of the business. While a zero-day close is the ultimate goal, as organizations work toward achieving this milestone, they will find that the incremental day-to-day process improvements are truly advancing the finance function.

One of the major benefits organizations will see on their path to reaching zero-day close is freeing up the finance team’s time to focus on more high-impact…

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