Monthly reporting is one of those operational necessities that often becomes neglected. You need it, but it just always seems to cycle back to the top of the to-do list before you have a chance to recover from the last month.
Stay on top of your monthly reporting so you are not scrambling to keep up, or worse, operating with old financials.
Here are three ways you can streamline your monthly reporting. (Bonus: We have included a cloud tool and CFO tip for each step to streamline your monthly reporting.)
Automate and Integrate Wherever possible automate your month-end tasks to streamline your monthly reporting. There are a plethora of online tools that can dramatically speed up recurring tasks; but be sure to adopt ones that integrate with other tools you use. Three places you can look to automate using cloud apps:
Expense reporting is an easy place to automate expenses and reimbursements using tools like Expensify.
With tools like Bill.com, you can automate accounts payable and receivable (in particular recurring bills and invoices) to streamline your monthly reporting.
If you are a consumer products company with big supply chain and inventory needs, consider an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) provider that offers integrations like NetSuite. It is a robust all-in-one system that takes care of all of the above and more, including employee life-cycles, cost allocation and KPI tracking.
Cloud Tools: To summarize, just a few of the cloud tools you could use to automate your month-end reporting include Expensify, Bill.com, and NetSuite.
Cloud CFO Tip: We only recommend automating tasks for efficiency sake. Remember not to forego accuracy at the expense of speed.
Standardize Your Processes No matter how many tools you throw at a problem, without a good “people process” in place you won’t see an improvement in your operations. Further streamline your monthly reporting by standardizing processes. Five steps to standardizing monthly reporting:
Begin by listing out all monthly recurring tasks;
Divide up month-end tasks by area. For example:
Reporting (expense, revenue, P&L, etc.)
Adopt a task manager;
Develop a month-end timeline to schedule each recurring task; and
Schedule as many to-do items related to month-end as possible onto your team calendars.
Cloud Tool: We choose to use Asana as our task manager to assist with all our month-end items, build timelines and sync it directly with our calendars.
Cloud CFO Tip: Have a set onboarding process for anyone new who might be taking over the entry level, month-end tasks in order to simplify transitions.
Stick to Your Guns
Here’s where the “like a boss” piece comes in. If ever there was a time to exercise your right to be stubborn, it is during the month-end process. There will always be someone on your team who is looking to stretch out the deadline. That said, the more you standardize and automate your month-end process, the more you will prevent procrastination. After the first few months with your new standardized processes, provide detailed feedback to each team member to encourage the behavior you want to recreate each month.
Cloud Tool: Using an email extension or app like Right Inbox or Boomerang to automate your email reminders is a great way to help you follow up with the right people at the right time.
Cloud CFO Tip: To build autonomy among your team members, give authority over the part of month-end for which each member is responsible.
Optimize your operations using the three steps above to streamline your monthly reporting. Once you have made it through one quarter with your new processes in place, you will see the results with up-to-date financials and increased efficiency that will ultimately extend your resources. And what’s better than having more resources in a growing company?