The month-end closing process can be a nightmare for agency Finance Teams. Especially those that are still using a number of different tools and spreadsheets to cobble together a financial picture of their agency’s performance every month. The inefficiencies and redundancies of a manual process, coupled with a lack of coordination between departments, can lead to inaccuracies and significant delays in reporting.
But as a WorkBook customer, you’re already a step ahead. Once you’ve optimized cash flow by managing working capital and established approval workflows to improve the quality of your financial data, the month-end reporting process automatically becomes easier. When timesheets and invoices are being approved and actioned throughout the month, follow-up is no longer left until month-end, which allows the Finance Team to recoup valuable time and complete the closing process in a fraction of the time.
It can be challenging to manage the month-end process when working with a distributed team, but by empowering your Finance Team, Project Managers and Client Teams to understand their responsibility to the big picture and providing them with the right processes and tools to get it done, it is exponentially easier to get an accurate picture of agency performance at any time, regardless from where your team members are working.
Empower Your Finance Team:
Improve the Quality of Financial Data
As the ultimate gatekeeper of all financial transactions, the Finance Team is responsible for making sure data is verified and accurate. By establishing approval workflows for things like timesheets, POs, invoicing, WIP updates and revenue forecasting, you can delegate authority to other members of the team, which empowers the Finance Team to improve the quality of that financial data, while maintaining total control.
Evaluate WIP and Recognize Revenue
One of the ways to delegate financial responsibilities is to make Project Managers and Client Teams accountable for updating the progress of each job in terms of the value of WIP (for T&M projects) and the percentage completion (for Fixed Price jobs). This then provides the Finance Team with the data they need to accurately recognize revenue and post any adjustments for month-end.
Finalize Income Statement and Reconcile Balance Sheet
After revenue recognition, a number of additional month-end tasks must be finalized to complete a full income statement and balance sheet for the month.
WorkBook makes this process easier by giving the Finance Team a one-stop-shop to view a checklist of those tasks so that they can track which are complete and which have yet to be finalized, such as missing timesheet approvals, alerts for invoices due, creditor invoices on-hold or rejected entries.
Forecast Revenue and Adjust the Financial Budget
Updating the Net revenue forecast (NRF) is a critical part of cost control and thusly, the month-end process. By designating a member of the Client Team as an NRF approver, the Finance Team can easily ensure that expected revenue for pipeline opportunities is as accurate as possible and there are no unapproved write-offs for jobs in progress.
Similarly, the Financial Budget should be updated on a monthly basis as well. It provides the Finance Team with visibility on how the agency is progressing according to a set target for the year. But for a project-based agency with a fluctuating pipeline, it's easy for your budget to quickly become outdated, so it’s important to regularly adapt your financial budget accordingly as the NRF changes. This visibility will allow you to make the right decisions about how to manage incoming costs based on activity that has already taken place.
Empower Your Project Managers and Client Teams:
Verify Financial Data
As Project Managers and Client Teams are closest to the coalface, so to speak, they’re the most knowledgeable of all project progress and costs that inform the month-end financial process. As such, they are accountable for entering accurate data that provides the Finance Team with the information they need to produce the most accurate picture of agency performance at any time.
As described above, it is important to delegate the responsibility of updating progress and expected revenue to them, which provides an additional level of control and verification to financial data used in important month-end processes like revenue recognition and forecasting.
By empowering you Finance Teams, Project Managers and Client Teams to accelerate the month-end process you can:
- Recoup valuable time
- Ensure the accuracy of your agency’s financial performance
- Provide accurate insights for future strategic planning