November 20, 2018

Whitepaper: The Definitive Guide to Effective Close Management

close management whitepaper floqast

Have you ever heard a month-end-close story with a happy ending? Yeah, that’s a negative for us too, or at least it was until we met our friends at FloQast. What was once a source of frustration is now so much easier thanks to their helpful guide on the subject.

You must think we’re lying. Every accountant’s month-end diatribe is nearly identical.

Before you start working on the first task, you remember who you’re working with and sigh. Oh, you’re working with THAT person again. Awesome. Because it wasn’t enough fun working with them last month, your boss has stuck you with them again.

Aside from questioning the accounting program of some “accredited” colleges, bad colleagues make you wonder how you’re going to get through another month-end close if something doesn’t change. Hopefully, they change … companies.

Even with capable co-workers, the technical part, of month-end close is a chore. The unstructured, free-for-all environment changes almost every month. You rack your brain, trying to remember how you took care of this one problem last month. And didn’t you document how you resolved the issue? Where in the world is that thing saved?

Then there’s the mind-numbing task of decoding other team members’ spreadsheets and checklists. Do any two accountants think alike when it comes to organizing data? Never mind accountants working on the same team. Seriously, Sally, how does that make any sense?

And then there’s reconciliation. There should be an award for putting all the pieces of that hellacious jigsaw puzzle together. Just don’t ask for a step-by-step guide of how it was completed.

We all know Excel, and for the most part we love it. What self-respecting accountant doesn’t? Formulas, sort and filter functions, and pivot tables; ah, who doesn’t relish a perfectly constructed pivot table?

However, everyone also recognizes there are limitations to the old classic. Sharing a spreadsheet with a team? Ha! And the obvious elephant in the room, getting Excel and your ERP to talk civilly to each other. Or at all.

“I thought you said this story has a happy ending.” There is; an Oscar-worthy tearjerker, in fact.

  • What if there was a way to improve team communication? A central place for progress notes that everyone can see. Close your eyes and imagine fewer status meeting and obnoxious email chains. Nice, huh?
  • What if you could organize the close process to give you accurate results in less time?
  • What if there is a way to integrate Excel with any ERP system?
  • What if there is a way to automate the tie-out process?

There is a way. This is the fairytale ending we promised. Our friends at FloQast have lived the nightmare of month end close, and have vowed to put an end to it. Discover the resolution to these recurring issues in your one stop shop resource, the definitive guide to effective close management.

Need more? Check out additional resources from FloQast available on their website.

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Non-Profits Are Feeling the Pain

WSJ has a Monday piece “Once-Robust Charity Sector Hit With Mergers, Closings” (the Recession Forces Nonprofits to Consolidate) that may be found here. It tells the story of a “homeless” woman with terminal lung cancer and a charity no longer able to afford to help her out. Sad.

When one charity’s COO says “we’ve had funding cut after funding cut, and we never know when the next shoe is going to drop,” that is a bad sign.

Hit by a drop in donations and government funding in the wake of a deep recession, nonprofits—from arts councils to food banks—are undergoing a painful restructuring, including mergers, acquisitions, collaborations, cutbacks and closings.

“Like in the animal kingdom, at some point, the weaker organizations will not be able to survive,” says Diana Aviv, chief executive of Independent Sector, a coalition of 600 nonprofits.

I saw that on the Discovery Channel and it wasn’t pretty.

Note: the Service says the value of your blood is not deductible as a charitable donation but cars are. As of 2005, cars are only deductible at FMV, not Blue Book. Damn you, fair value, foiled by the free market again!

Blame the Service for tightening its charitable donation rules at the worst possible time? Not sure on that one. While you’re reluctant to donate your $200 Toyota (ha) to charity because you could have claimed $2,000 under old rules, find some comfort in the fact that (alleged) terrorist “non profits” can not file for 2 years and somehow get away with it. You wonder why I advocate fixing the system from the ground up?

You can text $10 to Haiti but what about the “Economic Homeless” here in America? asks Young Money.

If this were a survey and you asked me “What do you think the IRS could do to encourage charitable donations?” I would answer “Tax breaks. It isn’t the Treasury’s job to distribute bailouts.” Yet they continue to behave as though it is their duty.

See the problem yet?