Breaking through the chaos: How to effectively map and optimize the closing process in the company?

For many companies, the closing process is an annual challenge and test of nerves. However, there are also companies that manage this activity with ease. And that’s thanks to carefully set processes and reliable systems. Unresolved issues of competence and responsibility of the persons involved, or the continuity of individual activities are a frequent reason for a problematic and incomplete closing process. It also often happens that, in an attempt to simplify everything, a company gets into an imaginary vicious circle – while looking for solutions to unresolved issues, it finds that finding this solution is extremely difficult precisely because the process is incomplete… Subsequently, it gets tangled up in everything, fumbles and from the originally planned simplifications are just complications that cut off any attempt at improvement. Does this sound familiar? Don’t despair. We have prepared an overview of the basic areas and questions to focus on as part of the process analysis. Proceed systematically, step by step:

What does the financial statement include?

The basis for a successfully managed financial statement is knowledge of how the entire process works. The so-called “process mapping” is used for this. Mapping will help you uncover process bottlenecks and show you which tasks require the most effort and time. At the same time, thanks to it, you can check whether you have all the necessary data in one system, or if you are wasting time moving them unnecessarily, and you can also check whether you store and share files and documents efficiently and clearly. It may seem like a small thing, but having unified file names and storing them in a way that everyone involved can easily find them goes a long way.

Of course, this does not only apply to closings, but across processes throughout the company. Disorganization without a plan and clearly set processes and rules usually leads to complications.

How does data flow and through which systems?

Now that you’ve checked whether you’re naming and storing the necessary files in a way that people know about them, focus more deeply on the issue of data and information – where exactly is all your data stored? Who has access to them? Are you able to get data from the system not only quickly, but also in the required form and quality? How long do you wait for individual data to be delivered and how many people have to work with it to make it presentable? To close the books, for example, you need to know how much revenue has been generated. This requires data not only from sales, but also from a number of other departments that affect revenue. In most cases, you also need data related to warehouse stocks or fixed assets and other documents for reporting. Careful mapping and optimization of this process is indeed necessary.

Who has what competences and responsibilities?

The person who is responsible for the financial statement as a whole in the company is usually quite clear. But do you know who else is involved in the process and what exactly they are in charge of? And does everyone involved know in what form, when and to whom they should hand over their completed part of the project? If not, focus on remediation and ensure that all employees involved in the closing have an overview of exactly how the entire process is carried out – simply put: who, when, what and to whom. Without it, there will still be unnecessary delays and misunderstandings.

When you already have the whole process properly mapped out, we add a few more tips to simplify it:

A simpler accounting framework

The more voluminous the chart of accounts, the more errors. Simplifying hundreds of different account codes and changing them will make life easier for many an employee. But be careful, before simplifying the chart of accounts, remember to find a new way of tracking performance and reporting – the chart of accounts is usually bloated because the company is tracking operational performance, and the accounting system is the only way for it to do that.

Intercompany accounting

Do you do business in multiple entities that trade with each other? Then terms like “elimination” or “consolidation” won’t be completely foreign to you. How are mutual transactions and trades between individual entities and business units handled? Who is responsible for the individual statements at the level of the entities themselves and who is subsequently responsible for the consolidated statement process? What is the communication style? Are the processes already set up correctly at the entity level? Do you use software for business-to-business transactions or is Excel enough? Is it worth it to standardize the financial statement process for all your entities? Map and evaluate which entity has the best organized process and use it as a model for others.


Compile a closing checklist, thanks to which you will always know exactly where you are in the process, who is responsible for what, how the individual steps follow each other, what activities and individual intermediate steps they cover and in what time horizon. This overview will make your work easier, simplify orientation and make the time frame more precise. You don’t need any special program for this, just an excel table that you will share on cloud storage or in another system solution that you use.

Are you interested in our tips? We will be happy to help you with their implementation. A few hours of work by an experienced consultant and his “view from the outside” will help you not only to map and evaluate your systems set up so far, but also to propose an optimal solution to make the closing process as simple and efficient as possible. You can benefit from this investment for many years and make work easier for yourself, your closest colleagues and the entire team.​


Lenka Zdražilová

Head of Transaction Advisory Services
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