How an Accelerated Financial Close Boosts Your Post-COVID Agility
There’s never been a better time to be more agile, more efficient, and more knowledgeable about your business financials.
Your business, like so many others, is on the cusp of a collective post-COVID comeback. Experts say the U.S. economy is about to boom — or, to use the words of the Federal Reserves’ Board of Governors member Christopher Waller, it’s “ready to rip.” The impact will be felt here at home as well as abroad.
Successful businesses will be those with the ability to efficiently and effectively adapt and respond to new opportunities a boom will bring. Speed and accuracy in financial reporting that leads to faster and better decision making information will be the difference-maker in business agility, and now is the right time to boost it.
An accelerated financial close will give you the insights you need to make better, smarter business decisions faster than ever before.
Why Accelerate the Financial Close Process?
Long, drawn-out closes are draining your business of the critical insights it needs to thrive.
Despite requiring significant investments of time and effort from staff, long closes often result in inaccurate, incomplete, and outdated financial statements. CFOs today are relied on to contribute to real-time decisions that set direction for and impact the future of the business. You just can’t successfully advise and guide a business in real-time based on inaccurate, incomplete, or outdated financial data.
An accelerated financial close simplifies and standardizes data collection to give you faster reporting, better data, and more insights. With less time spent on the close process, there will be more time to analyze that data and mine it for valuable insights to guide decision making. The result is empowering smarter, more informed decisions that impact the future of the business.
Better. Smarter. Faster. That’s the agility you’ll need to level-up, compete, and get ahead in a post-COVID world.
Boost Your Agility with an Accelerated Financial Close
The dictionary defines agility as “the power of moving quickly and easily.”
In business, agility is power.
Agility is the power to pivot and adapt to changes — in your business, in your industry, in your market, and in the economy.
Agility is the power to invest in order to take advantage of new opportunities — or shift funding where and when it makes the most sense for your business.
Agility gives you the power to compete, survive, thrive — and grow.
Right now, the power of agility is more important than ever, as your business will need to prepare for and respond to change — to fully rise to the occasion and harness the momentum of post-COVID economic growth.
An accelerated financial close will boost your agility with:
- Faster reporting that gets stakeholders the data they need to see an accurate picture of the business in real-time.
- More accurate data that gives stakeholders more confidence in their ability to make informed decisions for the business.
- Better insights from deeper analysis of key metrics that reveal trends, interpret costs, and forecast results, teeing up more proactive problem solving, more effective strategic planning, and smarter action.
More timely. More accurate. More responsive. That’s what you get when you boost your agility with an accelerated financial close.
Additional Benefits of an Accelerated Financial Close
Boosting your agility in a post-COVID world is certainly the headline benefit of an accelerated close, but it’s not the only one. An accelerated financial close can also help you:
- Improve retention and satisfaction because staff have a more balanced workload, are positioned to add more value, and feel able to make meaningful contributions to the business.
- Enhance communication and data access with centralized self-service reporting that’s ready anytime, from anywhere, and for anyone who needs it.
- Reduce operational costs when process improvements can allow you to shift, adapt, or eliminate resources as a result of enhanced efficiencies.
- Reduce operational costs as a result of using less time and fewer resources to complete the close.
- Have more availability for the accounting department to do additional projects that add value to the company versus closing the books.
To summarize, in addition to boosting your agility to manage change and growth, an accelerated close can also improve retention and communication while creating cost-saving opportunities. Talk about a win-win!
How To Achieve an Accelerated Financial Close
So how can you set up an accelerated financial close and reap the benefits for your business? It’s all about shoring up process:
- Evaluate current processes to determine where the most time and effort is spent.
- Conduct a detailed process analysis to discover bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
- Identify tools and strategies to fix bottlenecks, close gaps, and streamline steps with the ultimate goal of achieving a new close date.
- Create processes for estimating outstanding reporting that won’t be ready by the new close date, such as outstanding APs, in a way that’s logical and consistent.
- Document specific, repeatable steps in your close process to ensure consistency, efficiency, and effectiveness each and every time. Cross-training team members on critical steps can also help prevent unexpected delays.
- Create a close calendar that details when every step needs to occur to achieve the new close date, including dependencies and milestone communications.
The close calendar is key — it will let you know when the process is slipping and putting the accelerated close at risk. When you monitor progress, you’re better able to problem-solve to stay on track — rather than find out when it’s too late to affect change.
COVID has already changed the way we do business, and in many ways for the better. COVID accelerated process improvement to streamline how things are done. It also was the impetus to improve both communication and information sharing among remote individuals and teams.
Let’s keep it going and boost your agility in a post-COVID world with an accelerated financial close that will empower you to continue advancing your business this year — and beyond.
To find out how Fahrenheit can help you streamline financial processes, evaluate and implement cloud-based and other tools to maximize efficiencies, and boost your agility in a post-COVID world with an accelerated financial close, contact us today. Our team of seasoned, C-level executives and consultants can accelerate your progress and help you overcome challenges.
about the author
Mike Moore is experienced in creating new processes and controls to ensure audit readiness and has led systems conversions for several clients. Relying on his strong management and analytical skills, Mike has served as fractional CFO and interim controller for several foundations. He has also guided several corporate clients through implementation of GAAP standards including the new revenue recognition and lease guidance. Mike is skilled at tailoring his broad expertise to the needs of each client.