Month end reporting is crucial to getting a detailed and accurate picture of a company’s transactions for a specified period of time. Preparing these reports takes time, and often involves a number of challenges that need to be overcome before accurate information can be relied upon for strategic business decisions. Companies carry out month-end reports in order to make sure that all transactions have been recorded properly and without accounting errors, from revenues and expenditures to load payments. In large enterprises, this involves a significant amount of risk management.
A Step by Step Month End Reporting Process for Maximum Efficiency
The larger the company, and the more divisions s a company has, the more complicated and time consuming these reports can be. That is why it is important for enterprises to have a solid step-by-step process to follow in order ensure data integrity.
Step 1: Ensure Daily/Weekly Reports Support Month-End Reports
If a company’s departments are creating daily or weekly reports to track their activities and goals, make sure that these reports are in a format similar to the month-end reports. In addition, make sure that reports are checked for errors on a regular basis throughout the month to save time when the month-end reports need to be prepared.
Step 2: Prepare Before the Month is Over
While you cannot start the reports before the month is over, you can take certain measures to increase efficiency. A few days prior to the end of the month, make a list of everything that needs to be ready for the report. This includes which departments need to send you reports, what activities need to be temporarily paused at what time and which employees need to be informed (for example, payroll), etc. In addition, top CFOs recommend giving each report category or department a risk level for errors. This allows you to know which reports will likely have the most errors vs. which will have the least. Clearing the calendar for a few days to properly dedicate the time needed to conduct these reports is crucial.
Step 3: Allocate Time for Correcting Errors
A large part of putting together month-end reports involves going over all of the material and making sure that there are no errors. This is the most time consuming step of the entire reporting process, as it can involve multiple departments and employees, and errors can often be very easy to miss. Without using a solutions like DataRails, which offers automatic, real time error detection is not possible and everything needs to be done manually.
Step 4: Calculate and Analyze
Once the data is deemed accurate and reliable, a company’s financial team or executive team can use formulas and charts to calculate balances, expenses, interests, revenues, salaries, etc. and analyze the information accordingly.
Overcoming Challenges in Month End Reports
The most significant challenge in creating month-end reports is ensuring that all of the data in the report is accurate. Mistakes can be very costly if missed, both in terms of money and time. Errors in data can happen at any stage in the reporting, and the earlier on they occur, the more of an impact they can have on the end-calculations. Reports that are shared and edited within a department by multiple employees, or even between multiple departments, are manipulated and shared often, leaving too many opportunities for errors.
DataRails allows you to augment the tools that your teams are already using (i.e. Excel spreadsheets) and includes built-in features for groupware collaboration. This allows companies to enjoy the benefits and flexibility that Excel has to offer, while increasing problem solving and error detection in the everyday workflow. DataRails also ensures that everyone involved is working on a “Single Version of Truth”, the latest and most updated version, at all times. Drive productivity and collaboration in your organization while maximizing data integrity every step of the way.