Financial Reporting

Preparing for Year End: Considerations Beyond the Basics

Key categories to evaluate and questions to ask yourself as you embark on another year of financial reporting.

While closing the books is routine, there are considerations for preparing for year-end that go beyond the basics.  As 2016 comes to a close, evaluate your annual financial planning reporting and planning activities and processes to identify where you can benefit from adjustments to improve efficiencies and gain greater insight to drive more strategic business decisions throughout the year.  The following are key categories to evaluate and questions to ask yourself as you embark on another year of financial reporting.

Revenue

  • Consider whether you’ve got the right bank depository account. Are their fees appropriate or behind the times and not reflecting the lower cost of processing transactions?
  • Are your credit card transaction costs in line with your current activity volume? Is it time to shop around for other processing options?

People

  • Have you performed a permissions audit this year? You want to ensure that any employees who have left or who have changed positions or responsibilities had their roles modified in your software systems so they no longer have access to areas they don’t need.
  • Should you update any of your job descriptions to adjust for changes in technology?
  • Have you reviewed your accounts payable vendor accounts to make sure you have all the W9’s for the payments you’ll need to report to the IRS?
  • Do your annual report records with your state reflect your current board of directors’ information?
  • Are your business budgeting software applications modified to incorporate additional gender selection fields if marriage laws have changed in your state?

Insurance

  • Is your insurance coverage adequate and in line with your current hardware and facility usage? If you’ve moved some applications (or several) to the cloud and sold old servers, recalculate your liability protection values to determine if your overall costs could be reduced in addition to lowering your licensing fees.
  • Confirm whether your insurance covers you for replacement cost values. If you choose a lower coverage plan, ensure your policies reflect the coverage you believe you have. Also, review for any policy addendums in coverage that came through the year. For example, it may be a significant factor if your insurer has removed mold coverage.

Financial reporting and planning systems and processes

  • Are data and program backups executed in a timely fashion and stored offsite or in a cloud?
  • If you’ve changed to Windows 10, is your access to all applications and data working as properly?
  • Verify that the interfaces with applications that you tend to use less often are all in working order. (i.e. tax software, unclaimed property systems, and others)
  • If you’ve updated your ERP system, moved from Quickbooks Desktop or Enterprise to Quickbooks Online, take time to review access and functionality of all the reports you will need to close year-end and prepare your financial statements.

Just as we each do a lot of self-reflection preparing to enter the new year, it’s equally as important to apply the same principles to your business. There are rarely lulls in our work volume so make time now to consider whether you can address some of these considerations and better prepare yourself to move into the year-end, annual reporting, tax, and audit cycles for improved business outcomes.

 

John Orlando is CFO of Centage Corporation.