A comprehensive guide for accountants and bookkeepers.
Accounting month-end close timeline
The end of the month can be a challenging experience for the accounting team due to their obligation to complete the month-end close. The month-end close process entails a number of tasks that must be completed. To execute it smoothly, you must use a standard checklist.
Also, meeting the month-end close deadline is critical, so determining how the month-end close will be carried out becomes inevitable. A month-end close timeline is a valuable tool for determining this. In this blog post, we will go over the accounting month-end close process timeline.
1. Data gathering:
The month-end close timeline's first stage is data collection. This involves compiling financial information, such as bank records, invoices, receipts, and other financial documents. The rest of the close process will go smoothly when all financial data is readily available.
Reconciling all accounts is the next step to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the financial information gathered. It involves comparing the bank account transactions to the entries in your accounting books. It also includes credit card transactions.
3. Journal entries
Transactions that aren't recorded in the accounting software are called journal entries. Journal entries consist of adjusting entries to fix mistakes or transactions that happened but weren't noted in the accounting software.
4. Financial statement preparation
The preparation of the financial statements comes next on the month-end close checklist. The balance sheet, income statements, and cash flow statements are all examples of financial statements. The company's financial performance for the month is summarised in all these statements.
5. Review and analysis
When the financial statements are ready, it's time to review them. This entails comparing the outcomes for the current month with the financial information from the previous month. The account team must deal with any anomalies or unexpected trends that were found during the analysis.
6. Client communication and review
After the review and analysis, client communication follows. Regarding the monthly financial statements, the accounting team must consult with the client. Presenting the financial statements and explaining any unexpected trends are part of this (If it is one). The accounting department must address the client feedback.
Once finalized, the next step is to go through the books to find any areas that could still use improvement. Significant errors are occasionally discovered during the final closing. Additionally, this step guarantees that your books are clear of mistakes.
8. Audit preparation(If applicable)
This could be the following action on the month-end close checklist if the company is being audited. This entails assembling all required paperwork and acknowledging the accuracy of all financial statements.
9. Archiving and documentation
All financial records associated with a given month must be archived and documented after the month-end close process is finished. Your financial information will be stored electronically using this approach. It can be very beneficial when unanticipated disasters occur.
10. Post close activities
The last step is to focus on the management feedback after the month-end close procedure is complete. The post-assessment review ensures that the company is moving in the right direction with regard to its long-term objectives.
The bottom lines:
Finally, it should be noted that the month-end close procedure is an essential phase of the accounting cycle. Account teams can complete the process accurately and quickly by following the procedures outlined in this guide.
The accounting team can ensure that the month-end close procedure runs smoothly and delivers correct financial data to management by giving these processes the highest priority.
FAQs(Frequently asked questions)
An accounting month-end close timeline is a schedule that outlines the tasks and deadlines required to close the books at the end of each month. This process involves reconciling accounts, reviewing financial statements, and preparing reports to provide accurate and timely financial information to stakeholders.
An accounting month-end close timeline is essential because it ensures that the financial information presented to stakeholders is accurate and timely. Without a defined timeline, the closing process can be disorganized, resulting in errors, delays, and financial misstatements.
The key steps involved in an accounting month-end close timeline may vary depending on the organization's size, complexity, and industry. However, some essential steps include reconciling accounts, reviewing and adjusting journal entries, preparing financial statements, and completing variance analysis.
Some common challenges faced during the accounting month-end close timeline include missing or inaccurate data, insufficient communication among departments, and competing priorities. These issues can lead to delays, errors, and financial misstatements.