While the close process can often feel chaotic, Close Analytics offers a clear view of where things stand overall and helps to quickly identify any problem areas to address. It allows the controller to confidently communicate progress on the close to the team, as well as to company management. Moreover, Close Analytics provides the insights to drive continuous improvement and accountability for the entire close process.
A key new addition to the visualizations in Close Analytics is a pace line that shows how the close of each entity is progressing vs. the cumulative deadlines you’ve set. A gold line of “set deadlines” shows your expected pace of task completion throughout the close process, and the shaded area shows how many tasks your team has marked as completed. When the shaded area is above the gold paceline, the team is ahead of pace. Good news! If the shaded area falls below the gold line, the team must catch up to regain pace. Below is how that looks in the Current Close view.
This view of the current close can serve several purposes. Use it to:
- Get a quick view of status to know how the team is doing overall, and know whether the close is on pace or if adjustments are needed to close on time.
- Filter the view to see only certain folders, or Checklist items or Reconciliations only, or some combination of all those and zero in on a view that offers the most insight into your particular situation.
- Quickly communicate status to team members, or to company executives who require regular progress updates.
That quick view is critical for a high-level summary. But Close Analytics goes much deeper. As a controller, you need to identify which specific Checklist items or Reconciliations are reasons to cheer vs. causes for concern. Close Analytics has all that and more.
A more detailed, drill-down view is available just by scrolling down the page to a chart showing the number of completed and outstanding tasks for each folder, and where to identify which tasks are late, already completed or on track to be done on time.
From the same grid, you can quickly toggle to a similar view of team members: how they’re progressing against their overall workload of Checklist items and Reconciliations and who is responsible for items that are late.
These charts offer up ideas for where your focus should be as a manager because your intervention will have the greatest potential impact on the timeline. Some ideas:
- Dig in on the tasks that are most late, most often. Check on the procedures your team follows to complete a task that’s chronically late to complete. Reach out to department heads who too often are habitually late supplying required documents, forcing certain tasks to be routinely late.
- You can quickly see which team members are still assigned too many items to complete, and which others may be in a position to take on more work. Look for ways to distribute assignments so that the workload is optimally distributed. Identify areas for additional staff training to smooth out bumpy pieces of the process. Adjust due dates as required to provide more time for the most time-intensive tasks.
In sum, Close Analytics gives the controller the tools to get better at the close process by making sense of the close you’re in and simplifying the process of tuning the process for greater performance over time. If you’re seeking to build a culture of continuous improvement on your accounting team, you’ll find Close Analytics an important tool in your toolbox.