Research Perspective

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Achieving a Shorter Close:

Software Automation Is a Practical Solution

Virtues of a Fast Close

Completing the accounting close quickly has been a longstanding objective for finance departments. Among those participants in our benchmark research whose departments take more than a business week to close, most (69%) said they want to shorten the process so they can provide financial data sooner to executives and managers. A faster close, of course, would enable them to respond more rapidly to changing business and economic conditions.

Finance professionals also told us that shortening the close would provide more time to analyze results, cut overtime and related costs and free up personnel for other duties. However, in more than a decade of tracking this metric our research has found no improvement in departments’ performance.

Ventana Research coined the term “continuous accounting” to describe a framework for addressing finance department performance issues such as the close. This approach focuses on automating processes in a continuous end-to-end fashion, balancing departmental workloads across an accounting period and using a continuous improvement discipline to identify and correct issues that slow down the close process. Companies that want to accelerate closing should adopt this approach to achieve a faster close.


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