The Secret to A Stress-Free Year-End Close Process
Ah, the end of the year. The sales team is closing the last few deals before December 31. Marketing is wrapping up campaigns and setting up the newest activities to run in January. HR is busy curating holiday parties and managing everyone’s last bits of PTO. Everything feels like it’s winding to a close before ramping up in the new year. And then there’s finance and accounting, who are just getting started. Deadlines are coming from both government, investors, and stakeholders. That’s right: It’s year-end close.
Year-end close is the crucial final step of the annual financial reporting process, and because it comes with a lot of deadlines and requirements, it can be an exhausting lift for many finance teams. Not to mention, many organizations are pushing to close the year out faster so there’s more time to focus on strategic analysis and planning rather than all the mundane tasks of gathering data to close books at the end of the year.
The average year-end close takes about 25 days to complete. Consider though that it also coincides with a month-end close for December and quarter-end reporting for Q4, all contributing to heavier-than-usual workloads for finance. So how can you streamline the year-end close process in NetSuite to get the reporting and insight you need with as little stress as possible?
Pitfalls to A Smooth Year-End Close Process
Whether your year-end reporting coincides with the calendar year or follows a different fiscal year, you’re likely either gearing up right now for year-end close or have it on your radar for the future. As you prepare, there are some major pitfalls to watch out for. Any of these will derail your process and drag it out, causing stress and frustration, and stopping the business from being able to make the decisions it needs to grow.
Without practices specifically designed to keep your year-end close process going smoothly, there’s no question you’ll run into disorganization, errors, delays, and extra costs. Standardized processes and documentation procedures are hallmarks of a healthy and functioning year-end close process.
Too Many Manual Processes
Automation is your best friend during year-end close: Too many manual tasks means more opportunity for errors and delay. Manual data entry or using multiple systems and spreadsheets to track your transactions can make the close process confusing.
Trying to run year-end close without all your data in order in one place is a headache at best, and a disaster at worst. Organizations need uninterrupted access to the right information, and they need to know that information is reliable and trustworthy, or there’s no way to ensure accuracy in any close processes.
Compiling information from multiple systems that aren’t integrated increases the amount of manual work you’ll need to do. Refer to the earlier point about too many manual processes to see why that’s a bad situation to be in. Integrated data is a must in order to verify information and make sure your final statements are correct. Not to mention, unintegrated systems provide more opportunity for data loss and security breaches.
A Better Way to Use Excel
The good news is that if you’ve got NetSuite set up, you’ve already got a leg up on other organizations because you have more visibility, the opportunity to solve issues before they occur, and a chance to establish a smooth and effective year-end close process. NetSuite comes with plenty of features and functionalities that help you organize your year-end close process, automate certain tasks, and integrate with other systems to function as a central hub for all your data.
But what if we told you there was a way to take your year-end close process to the next level in NetSuite? And it starts with a spreadsheet and an integration tool called CloudExtend Excel for NetSuite.
Let’s be honest, finance loves spreadsheets. And what’s not to love? They’re familiar, they can be universally accessed, and they’re powerful for tracking and reporting on data. What they’re NOT though, is automatically part of NetSuite. So if you have a department (or a colleague) who has been tracking data that’s an important part of your year-end process in a spreadsheet, you’ll need to get that data into NetSuite for reporting. You could manually enter it, or you could use a CSV upload. If you’ve ever had to try uploading your CSV file multiple times due to failures that only show up after the whole file has been processed, you know that while this is a way to get lots of data into NetSuite at once, it’s perhaps not the easiest or best way.
But what if Excel and NetSuite were integrated to a point where you could upload that spreadsheet right from within Excel and not only that but also get error flags immediately along with a description of what failed and why, all before you finalize the upload? That’s where CloudExtend Excel for NetSuite comes into play.
Not to mention this process can be completed with any number of things in Excel. Put journal entries in a template and upload them straight to NetSuite, or edit journal entries in Excel and push them back to NetSuite. Bulk upload vendor bills and credit card statement transactions. Run inventory adjustments. All in the familiar cells of Excel with easy upserting into NetSuite.
Improve Month- and Quarter-End for Your Best Year-End Close
If many of these things also sound like tasks that could be automated for month- and quarter-end close processes, you’re right. The bonus is that improving both month-end and quarter-end close will do wonders for improving your year-end close process as well, especially if you’re employing automation that will catch errors at month-end or quarter-end before they have a chance to snowball into a major reconciliation headache for year-end close.
Whether it’s year-end close, month-end, or quarter-end close, your finance team is the one that makes it happen. Help boost their productivity and their accuracy—especially during the busiest time of the year—with easy-to-use Excel to NetSuite integration. We won’t even ask you to add a line item to your budget to give it a try: Use CloudExtend FREE for fourteen days.