Introduction to this document

Monthly financial timetable

The speed with which you are able to close the books is a very good indicator of the efficiency of the company’s financial procedures. Fast closing also saves time, money and resources and enables you to add value in other ways. Timely financial reporting also has obvious benefits in enabling management to make decisions based on the most up to date information available.


Let’s say the directors are looking to you to close the books at the month and year-end even faster than you do now. How can you do it when your department is already under stress? Large enterprises may be able to close their books within a few days of the month-end because they have the right systems, processes, staff training and management support in place. But is this ambitious target achievable for you given your existing resources?

Your first step towards an achievable change should be to set out your existing Monthly Financial Timetable.

Making changes

Next, talk to the staff involved in the existing procedures and ask them for suggestions on how to save time or identify bottlenecks. The solutions might well include:

  • introducing more flexibility into your finance team so that any bottlenecks can be avoided by staff doubling up for each other in order to cover peaks
  • for non-financial staff, ensuring that the reasons for any changes to your timetable are properly communicated and that management will be supportive in enforcing the deadlines
  • ensuring that your board is clear that there are trade offs for a faster closing, including an increase in the use of estimated amounts.

Then issue a revised monthly financial timetable based on your findings.