How to Close Faster & Grow Your Business Instead

[Copied with permission.]

For finance professionals, the valuable things we can work on include the following:
  • Develop pricing strategies with sales and marketing to grow revenue.
  • Identify and engage in acquisition opportunities to expand market share.
  • Forecast cash flow for future investment opportunities
  • Install business intelligence and forecasting solutions with other departments. Help them spend less time with their head in the “weeds.”
  • Reduce non-valuable costs and focus those funds on long-term growth opportunities.

My list is by no means exhaustive.

The fact is though that we can easily get stuck in closing the books. Don’t forget though that closing the books is valuable. Your investors and creditors need to trust your books. So, you need to close well. You also need accurate historical numbers for future forecasting. Do not create financial model drivers based on inaccurate historical information.

Thus, the close process does provide value to a firm.

But, spending a lot of time in the close process does not…

Again, you want an effective close process. But, you also want an efficient close process.

Close faster and you can take the time saved to focus on bigger things. Every hour I reduce from my close time is a breakfast spent with a key real estate industry executive. That executive helps me to identify potential investment opportunities for future growth.

So, how do we close faster?

Our LinkedIn community is full of amazing finance professionals. Several of them have provided their insights on how they close quicker. Use their wisdom and try them out yourself. The time saved has dividends!

Arno Wakfer has the following tips:
  • Complete daily bank reconciliations. Understanding the cash in vs. cash out on a daily basis will allow you to spot problems faster.

Ben Wann also added:
  • Document your learnings. Don’t make the same mistake twice.
  • Trust, but verify. While something may look or sound right, be sure to double-check it. Otherwise, it will bite you later.

Dean Ramsdale adds the following tips:
  • Treat every month end close with the same importance as the year-end close.
  • Estimate accrual transactions so that you don’t spend time waiting to post that final incoming invoice.

Karl Kern also concludes:
  • Continuous analyze accounts. Through analyzing, you know your books and know when something is off.

José Lopes wraps us up with these final tips:
  • Make sure the entire organization understands their roles.
  • Don’t make the close process just an accounting process. Get other teams members involved.
  • Meet pre-close to ensure everyone knows what is expected of them.  During the meeting, ensure best practices learned from the last close are reviewed.

Finally, below were the common themes of all the above pros:
  • Use checklists and timetables.
  • Automate whatever you can. Use automation software to complete posting transactions to avoid bottlenecks in manual processes.
  • Identify bottlenecks and delegate tasks to others to keep up the rate of the close.
  • Look at your books on a weekly and potentially even daily basis. Identify the variances and attack the problem immediately..

Use these tips. Close faster. Spend more time growing your business.

This article was written by Mason Brady in collaboration with Arno WakferBen WannDean RamsdaleKarl Kern and José Lopes.

If you would love more insights like this, check out the Finance Value Creation LinkedIn Group. We would love your input as well!

This post was copied with permission by its authors.
Check the original post at LinkedIn for which I add the pleasure to contribute.