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Year-End Close Checklist

A comprehensive checklist to organize your year-end tasks and wrap up your close. Better, smoother and faster!

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A comprehensive guide for accountants and bookkeepers.

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7 ways to make the year-end close stress-free

7 ways to make the year-end close stress-free

how to deal with stress during the year-end closing

“Running around like headless chickens”. This is the phrase that perfectly describes the life of accounting professionals during the super busy year-end close.

From initial planning to final closing, the account teams are duty-bound to complete the year-end close within the deadlines without any error. They look stressed, exhausted, panicky, and desperate. Sometimes, the year-end close can be so cruel that it can cause bookkeepers and accountants to fatigue. The fact is, the deadlines for the year-end closing will be looming just like they are every year. Indirectly, it demands the need for an action plan that can help you avoid stress during this crucial time.

This is the paramount time that can make or break your business. If the account team of any business can manage the year-end tasks effectively, they can eventually attract more clients.

On the other hand, if the team is not able to complete the year-end tasks with accuracy, the business may fail to retain the existing clients. The gist is you need to learn how to deal with stress during the year-end closing. 

Ways to make the year-end close stress-free

We've gathered some valuable tips from the successful account team.  With this wealth of priceless guidance, you can manage your year-end closing tasks with ease.

1. Plan and Organize Ahead of Time

Before beginning crucial activities like month-end and year-end close, the account teams of successful accounting firms always plan and organize. You can follow the same model. Start the year-end close process before the fiscal year-end begins. You can stay organized during the year-end close by recording transactions promptly, reconciling accounts regularly, and addressing discrepancies.

If the company operates on a calendar year, the year-end close must start on the first day of the fourth quarter. Although it may seem too early to begin the year-end closing, using this technique will help you reduce the likelihood of errors being made. Additionally, it provides you more time to analyze and fix any errors you may have unnoticed in your books.

Another advantage of starting early is that you will have more time to train your junior team members. When you start early, you can have enough time to create a comprehensive checklist to ensure you don't overlook anything vital during the hectic year-end closure. As you follow this method, you have fewer tasks to deal with during the year-end close, which allows you to conduct it smoothly and stress-free.

2. Leverage Technology for Efficiency

Gone are the days when accounting professionals had to handle accounting tasks manually. The traditional approach to managing accounting activities involved a cumbersome cycle of juggling multiple spreadsheets and using various applications. This method required significant human effort but often fell short of efficiency. Embrace the present and harness modern technology to streamline your accounting duties.

Numerous tools are available to simplify day-to-day accounting tasks, allowing you to automate repetitive processes and effortlessly wrap up your financial records. This, in turn, makes year-end closing tasks a breeze. Even if your firm handles a multitude of clients, you can efficiently manage each of their accounts. One such tool, Xenett, stands out for its ability to automatically detect errors in your QuickBooks or Xero. Many leading accounting firms rely on Xenett to accelerate their year-end closing procedures.

3. Delegate tasks and Collaborate

A structured work strategy constantly produces fruitful outcomes, and the same is true for year-end closing tasks. When tasks are assigned to the proper team members, they may be completed precisely, providing a seamless year-end close process. For example, assigning financial reporting chores to an accountant with competence in that field is more productive than burdening them with data entry or filing duties. Delegating responsibility and encouraging collaboration minimizes stress while also allowing staff to concentrate completely on their allocated tasks. This technique ensures a stress-free year-end close experience.

Also read: Year-End Closing Tips For Small Businesses

4. Stay Informed and Compliant

When your accounting team is updated on the newest accounting policies and regulations, the year-end close goes smoothly. We sometimes fail to notice the most recent policy changes in accounting rules, which causes us problems later on. You may avoid the danger of potential errors, enhance efficiency, and have peace of mind knowing that your financial records are correct and in accordance with the most recent regulations by doing so.

Follow these tips to stay compliant

  • Subscribe to industry publications
  • Attend workshops
  • Hire a tax advisor. (If needed)
  • Use reliable accounting software
  • Delegate tasks to qualified employees
  • Have regular meetings with your team

5. Prioritize Tasks

As you know, the year-end close is a busy and stressful time for accounting firms; it inevitably creates chaos. There can be multiple tasks to manage, and deadlines are often tight. If you don't know how to prioritize work, it can be very bothersome and worsen with time. Prioritizing tasks can assist you in reducing stress during this period.

This is what happens when you prioritize tasks

  • You can focus on the most important tasks rather than the trivial ones.
  • You can avoid procrastination if you know what chores must be completed and when they must be completed.
  • You will always stay on track.
  • You can manage your time effectively
  • You can ensure you are working on the right tasks at the right time.

6. Maintain Well-being

The most important thing to remember during the year-end close is to take care of your health. Your health is more vital than any of the duties involved in this process because you can only do them successfully if you have good physical and mental health. So, how can you keep healthy throughout this hectic period?

Get enough sleep:

Sleep is critical for both your physical and emotional health. Aiming for a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night is critical for optimal recovery and general health.

Eat healthy food:

A healthy and fulfilling diet can supply you with the energy you need to stay energized during the hectic year-end close. To keep your energy levels up, avoid sugary snacks or beverages, excessive coffee consumption, and processed foods.

Exercise regularly:

Exercise is an excellent idea to keep energy levels high throughout the day during the year-end rush. Aiming for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day can considerably improve your mood and overall well-being.

Relax for a while:

When you're putting in long hours at work, it's necessary to set aside some time each day for yourself. You can have fresh air to stay refreshed. Also, you can allocate a little time to do your favorite activity. It can be reading a book or cherishing precious time with friends.

7. Track Progress and Celebrate Small Wins

As per the size of the firm, the complexity of the year-end close process may vary. If your firm has a number of client files to manage, you may need to track the progress and ensure that you are aware of the deadlines. However, you need to celebrate small wins to keep yourself motivated during the agitated time of year-end close. During the active year-end close process, it can be easy to get caught up in the to-do lists and forget to acknowledge the effort you have been putting in so far. You must take some time to appreciate your hard work and fuel up for the remaining tasks.

The bottom line:

As discussed, the time of year-end closing for accounting firms can be tough and stressful, but with careful planning, teamwork, and the correct attitude, you can get through it effectively.

Keep in mind that approaching year-end closing as a well-prepared and confident accounting professional is the key to controlling stress during it. Now that you know the best tips on how to deal with stress during the year-end closing, you can accomplish this task effortlessly. If you keep your attention on precision, compliance, and efficiency, you'll come out of this challenging time stronger and more resilient than ever.

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