Month-end reporting – there is a better way!

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100% of attendees at the recent CPA Management Accounting Conference series want to improve – and you can too.

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The conferences brought together accountants from all different industries but the one thing they all had in common was the desire to improve – they all know that what they’re doing isn’t quite right and they want to find a better way forward. That’s why they were attending my session on Streamlining Month-end Reporting, Budgeting and Forecasting!

Of the more than 300 CPAs I surveyed, 97% laboriously handcraft reports each and every month. The numbers were about the same for both budgeting and forecasting and both saw people working long hours for days or weeks over and over again. I have to say that I found that quite shocking but it was great to see so many people looking for ways to change their processes. It doesn’t have to be that way!

I collected some other statistics:

91% of people spend more than 4 days producing and distributing month-end results. The average is 7 days with a maximum of more than 20 days! I hope they didn’t work through the weekend.  Boy, year-end must be a real nightmare. Interestingly, many of the people surveyed only have one ERP, so I expected they would be receiving a reasonably decent set of accounts but apparently not. The ERP or the lack of order in the ERP is often the cause of this pain.

On average, people are closing accounts payable 4 days after month-end. Over 62% of people leave accounts payable open for more than 1 day – and that’s still too long. The longest is over 20 days.

Only 30% of people go home on time! 70% work overtime, every single month. Most of this time is toiling in Excel, repeating last month’s reports for this month, keying in data, copying and pasting, making errors, fixing errors etc.

69% of people are constantly asked questions about the month-end results leaving little time for other projects. This is because a set of Excel spreadsheets is sent to people who are not accountants.  They are sales people, project managers, HR people etc. They don’t understand Excel like accountants – particularly like the person who crafted the reports.

Only 36% of people have a flash report that is about "mostly" correct at month-end. With one of these in place you are getting enough, mostly correct information to the right people at a time when they can take action.  This should only be 1-2 pages max.  What should go on this report?  Ask the people who currently receive your reports today.  It will be basic and probably include very high level sales and expenses, perhaps by region or cost center, for the month, YTD verses budget. This will buy you time to work on streamlining your month-end process!

If you, like the people who attended my session at the CPA conference, would like to save time, have more accurate reporting, not work overtime, significantly improve your department and its output, then email or call me. CALUMO will help. And you don’t even have to lose Excel, just most of your spreadsheets.

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