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April 12, 2018

4 Steps to Effective Month-End Reporting

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Month-end reporting is a crucial task for many businesses, but the process can be complicated and time-consuming.

When done right, month-end reporting provides businesses with a detailed and accurate picture of how they are performing. The process ensures that all transactions have been recorded properly and without any accounting errors. This allows for effective data analysis that can result in strategic business decisions.

But preparing these reports can take a great deal of time, and often involves addressing numerous challenges on a regular basis. The larger the company, and the more divisions it has, the more complicated and time consuming these reports can be.

How can companies stay on top of month-end reporting?

1. Create frequent reports.

The report at month’s end should not be the month’s only one. In fact, it’s a good idea to create daily or weekly reports to track activities and goals, and to do so in a format similar to the month-end report. Rather than waiting until the last week, check for errors throughout the month. By maintaining accurate reports on a regular basis, your reporting at month’s end will be that much less daunting.

2. Clear your calendar.

Even if you generate reports on a regular basis, you still should expect to devote a designated amount of time to month-end reporting. Block out your calendar for the last few days of the month and make a list of everything that needs to be done. Your list should include departments that must send you reports, which activities should be temporarily halted and which employees should be contacted. You might also wish to assign each department a risk level for errors, so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.

3. Expect mistakes.

Even with scrupulous planning, be prepared for errors, and be prepared to review all the material to locate and correct them. This is the most time-consuming step of the reporting process, and it can involve multiple departments and employees. Mistakes can cost businesses dearly in money and time, so finding them at this stage will help your company in the long run. Consider using an automated solution like DataRails to detect errors, which can save you loads of time.

4. Calculate and analyze.

Once you have determined that your data is accurate, your company’s financial or executive team will calculate balances, expenses, interest, revenues and salaries and analyze the information accordingly.

Inevitably, month-end reporting requires sharing spreadsheets with numerous departments and employees, thereby greatly increasing the chances of errors. DataRails can dramatically simplify the process by ensuring that everyone is working on the latest and most updated version at all times, continuously checking for errors and providing valuable instant insights.  

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