Five do’s and don’ts for an efficient year-end financial close

The end of the financial year has just passed, and finance teams are now scrambling to close the books and produce their year-end financials.

However, the year-end shouldn’t be a difficult and dreaded time. A successful rapid year-end comes down to planning and clear communication.

Here are our top five Do’s and Don’ts for a smooth year-end:

  1. Don’t get lost in the nitty-gritty detail: Establish your materiality thresholds early, and if something is immaterial, move on swiftly. If your business is audited, remember to communicate with your auditor early.
  2. Don’t use year-end as an opportunity to clean up your accounts: During this crucial period focus on closing the books accurately and resist the temptation to make significant adjustments or corrections.
  3. Do create a timetable of events as early as possible: Communicate deadlines with your senior management team and auditor to ensure everyone is aware of critical dates.
  4. Do leverage technology and systems to streamline your year-end processes: Understand how to make the most of these tools and, if possible, ban spreadsheets as they can often slow you down.
  5. Do ensure you have your accounting policies up to date before year-end: Take the time to understand how these policies are being applied in practice and ensure compliance.

In addition to these tips, immediate actions you can take to speed up your year-end process and improve your overall experience include trust and empower your team by delegating tasks as much as possible and focus your efforts on areas of material importance to maximise your efficiency and avoid getting caught up in trivial details.

Once the year-end period is over, conducting a thorough review is vital. Schedule it now so you don’t forget. Reflect on how the year-end went, identify areas of success and failure, and seek opportunities for improvement. If you want assistance undertaking the review, consider bringing in an external expert to provide an objective view, challenge existing thinking, and help drive meaningful changes.

Remember a smooth rapid year-end is not unachievable - you simply need to be prepared.