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Winning CFOs: Implementing and Applying Better Practices, with Website by David Parmenter

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CHAPTER 2

Timely Month-End Reporting: By Working Day 3 or Less

Many large organizations have made massive inroads into fast and accurate month-end reporting. I say to them “Celebrate your achievement” and simply move to Chapter 3. However, the vast majority of finance teams around the world have month-end processes that are career limiting, to say the least. This chapter is an extract from a white paper1 I deliver around the world that has revolutionized many finance teams.

When I was a corporate accountant, each period-end was a disaster waiting to happen. Each month-end had a life of its own. You never knew when and where the next problem was going to come from. Two or three days away, we always appeared to have it under control, and yet each month we were faxing (email was not on the scene then) the result five minutes before the deadline. Our fingers were crossed as a series of late adjustments had meant that the quality assurance work we had done was invalid and we did not have the luxury of doing it again. Does this sound familiar?

CEOs need to demand a complete and radical change if they are to free management and accountants from the shackles of a zero-sum process—reporting last month’s results halfway through the following month. Here are the facts:

  • U.S. companies are now providing commentary and numbers by the first working day.
  • Companies are migrating to closing the month on the same day each month (i.e., months are either five or four weeks).
  • In leading companies, the senior ...

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