2020 forced us to learn many new tricks — like finance teams figuring out how to close the books while working from home. These finance teams may not know that by achieving the remote close, they’ve also made significant headway in simplifying their close — and generating a whole gaggle of other great changes. All they need to do is add some automation.
The same technology you use to close the books remotely can also help you close the books gradually throughout the month, a practice called the continuous close. Reconciling just a couple of items every day vs. all items at month-end, for example, makes accountants’ jobs easier. It also makes the month-end process quicker. Most finance software can easily automate reconciliations, as well as invoice processing, financial reporting and more. These day-to-day activities allow you to continuously work toward your close throughout the month.
The continuous close also gives finance teams time to analyze the numbers that they usually just report, so they can have a say in the overall strategy of their businesses.
Finally, a continuous close makes up-to-date financial insights available to all departments on-demand. This gives the finance team, along with other leaders, data with which to make the quick strategic adjustments we’ve come to recognize as critical.
You’re likely already using upgraded technology to perform your close remotely. The task now is to use automation to perform the continuous close. It’s a big step, to be sure. We’ll break it down: