How to Confidently Close Your Books Before Vacation Using Financial Automation

Blog post

When was the last time you took a vacation?

If you’re like most accountants, you’re too busy completing your close cycle to think about— much less take — a vacation. Instead, you spend hours at your desk, staring at spreadsheets and racing against deadlines.

This kind of overwork inevitably leads to high levels of burnout. Deloitte surveyed more than 1,000 full-time professionals in the U.S. and discovered that over 77% of those employees had experienced burnout. Of that 77%, 51% admitted to experiencing it more than once. When asked about the biggest causes of burnout, the top responses were “unrealistic deadlines or results expectations” and “consistently working long hours or on weekends”.1

Sound familiar?

To avoid this kind of overwork and allow accounting teams to go on the vacations they deserve, organizations need to evaluate why their close process is taking so much time.

An Inadequate Close Cycle Tool: Spreadsheets

A widely unknown fact, or forgotten, is that spreadsheets were originally created to balance a family’s budget. Because spreadsheets weren’t purposed to retain the large amounts of data that finance teams now require, accountants are constantly accumulating multiple spreadsheet documents that are disparately connected. A single spreadsheet then becomes a massive silo of information that requires manual editing methods, which can very easily result in errors. Copy-and-paste transfer mistakes, for example. These start as miniscule mistakes that snowball into large amounts of inaccurate data spread across many spreadsheets. In fact, 90% of all spreadsheets contain errors.2

Timeliness and Accuracy: A Counterintuitive Sacrifice

In addition to being unreliable, the manual-intensive nature of spreadsheets wastes time, and a rushed cycle often means that accountants are forced to choose between meeting their deadlines and the accuracy of their reported numbers.

And when the close cycle is rushed because of a time shortage, errors slip through the cracks, creating compliance issues with either the SEC or other applicable governmental regulations. Not only does this put more pressure on accountants while they’re rushing to close the books, but it increases the chance that a mistake will be made, and resources for the upcoming close cycle will be spent rectifying past errors instead.

Lack of a Concrete Process

Because of the isolated nature of spreadsheets, accountants often lack a standardized close process. The absence of a structured workflow creates confusion, and in the close process, confusion leads to frustrating bottlenecks, unreliable data results, inconsistent documentation, and a lack of visibility. When you’re up against a deadline, pushing this process for even faster results only creates chaos and increases the risk of restatement after your close.

All of these factors significantly reduce your chance of a timely financial close process.

What to Do: Automate to Reallocate 

All of these factors greatly reduce your chance for a timely financial close process, but these problems can be solved with the help of a proper tool. Spreadsheets can handle many things, but it cannot handle the demands of your company’s close process. For that, financial automation is the answer.

The software you choose to handle your close should act as a resource reallocation tool. By automating manual processes such as transaction matching and balance sheet reconciliation, accounting teams stop focusing all their time on lengthy, tedious tasks and gain back the ability to work on more useful projects, like strategizing for long-term growth.

Financial automation also allows accountants to take more time off and refresh their minds, thus boosting work productivity by increasing motivation and avoiding burnout— an obstacle many professionals face today— which works against your entire company.

The Adra Suite of Solutions can reduce your close time by 300%. Not only that, but the software is easy to use and quick to implement.

Don’t let your vacation days pointlessly accumulate— use them. You deserve a getaway, and your financial close process shouldn’t be tethering you to the office.

To learn more about what the Adra Suite can do for your team, see how it worked for the McCarter Theatre Center.

Written by: Ashton Mathai

Eliminate Manual Madness

[1] Fisher, J. (2015). Workplace Burnout Survey. Retrieved March 6, 2020.

[2] Leung, S. (2014, September 15). Sorry, Your Spreadsheet Has Errors (Almost 90% Do). Retrieved March 6, 2020.