Controlling the Chaos of the Close (Infographic)
Jan 24, 2017 | By Aidan Anderson
We know from experience that for many organizations the month-end close is a chaotic process. Long email chains, constant update meetings and late nights in the office are all too common. In order to get a better idea of what accounting teams go through during the month-end close, we recently sponsored a survey conducted by Dimensional Research that surveyed accounting professionals regarding their month-end close experiences.
We weren’t really expecting pretty results, but we weren’t quite ready for ugly. And ugly is what we got. For many organizations, the month-end close process is chaotic, unorganized and robs employees of a work-life balance. Here’s a sampling of the results:
- 4 out of 5 surveyed reported that the month-end close negatively impacted them personally
- Almost ⅔’s reported increased stress levels with a third stating that the close made it difficult to schedule life events like having to miss or reschedule vacations and medical appointments and some cases, more personal activities such as birthdays, anniversaries and children’s school and sport events and
- Almost 1 in 5 stated the stress of the close negatively impacted personal relationships!
All would not be such a bleak picture if organizations felt good about their month-end close and that such are accurate, but nor was that the case. In fact,
- Only 1 in 4 reported that they were “very confident” that their last close was error free and
- 3 out of 4 surveyed reported they had to reopen their books after close due to error.
We also took the opportunity to survey organizations who are using close management software to assist with their month-end close. Yes, it might be self-serving, but you cannot dispute the facts. Individuals at organizations where close management software is deployed, reported distinct benefits for their close processes, based on the incorporation of technology, including
- 4 out of 5 stated their close processes to be more transparent and better documented
- ⅔’s stated their teams are better aligned and
- Another ⅔ are more confident in their overall close
Other benefits were also reported, including 4 out of 5 were able to reduce their time to close; more than half gained at least a full day of staff time during each working week of the close. And almost three quarters reported that it helped improve the audit process by helping streamline PBC requests and addressing SOX requirements.
Want to learn more about the survey findings? Download your own complimentary copy to see all the results.