Today’s world is one built on instant gratification, and companies across all industries continue to work hard to provide fast, efficient services to their customers. Believe it or not, your company’s financial close time can have a significant impact on numerous parts of your business, including your relationships with your clients and customers. Below, you can learn more about the benefits of a speedier financial close.
The Complexities of the Financial Close
Some people find the financial close process fascinating, but others see it as tedious and perhaps even daunting. After all, reviewing and reconciling accounts can be a time-consuming process, especially for companies without the right tools in place to expedite it. For the last 10 years or so, finance executives have agreed that a five-day close is best practice, but surveys show that 60% of companies take at least six days to close. In fact, despite the fact that the benchmark close time has shrunk in the last decade, most companies take longer to close the books now than they did a decade ago.
Why Are Closes Taking Longer?
It seems backward that businesses are taking longer to close the books now than a decade ago. After all, technology has improved a great deal, and with every passing year, businesses gain access to newer and more powerful platforms designed to help them simplify their finances and accounting. Despite this, many companies still use outdated processes and methodologies, and some simply have not adopted the newest and best technologies. They are still relying on spreadsheets and manual close processes that are slow and outdated rather than embracing technologies that offer drastic improvements.
Why a Faster Close is Better for Clients and Customers
An accurate financial close gives companies the opportunity to analyze their financials, and that analysis is what ultimately paves the way for decisions and the actions that follow. Regardless of a company’s industry, a fast and accurate close benefits not only the business but also clients and customers in a few important ways:
- Better visibility: With a more accurate and faster close, companies gain insight and visibility into things that may be negatively affecting their relationships with their customers. In return, they can find solutions to bottlenecks and make improvements more quickly, too.
- Enhanced compliance: Compliance issues can negatively affect clients and customers, too. When the financial close is faster and more accurate, there is far less risk for compliance issues that can negatively affect a company’s reputation.
- Happier employees: A happier and more productive workforce that spends less time closing the books will have far more time to spend on value-added tasks. This can affect their relationships with clients and customers in a positive way.
- Fewer errors: Some research has suggested that as many as 88% of spreadsheets contain errors of some kind. Reducing errors by automating the close process is sure to improve companies’ relationships with their clients and customers, as well.
Though the financial close is intended to help companies reconcile their books and ensure their financials are on track, it can also impact relationships with clients and customers in a few important ways. Fortunately, powerful financial management software makes it easier than ever to automate many aspects of the financial close. This saves a great deal of time – often days – without compromising the integrity of the data.