Research Perspective

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Making the Case for Automating the Close:

Don’t Neglect the Marketing and Sales Aspects

Elements of the Business Case

There’s longstanding agreement that it’s important for a company to close its books as quickly as possible: Doing so allows it to accelerate financial and management reporting and gives it more time to prepare analyses. Companies that close faster have more timely financial and managerial information. Our Office of Finance benchmark research found that 75 percent of companies that close their books within one or two days have timely information, compared to 38 percent that take three to six business days and just ten percent that take more than two weeks.

Inconsistent process execution is a key factor contributing to a close that is too lengthy. It’s also a situation that increases the risk of errors and misstatements. Our research supports our view that using dedicated software to automate all aspects of the close can alleviate these issues and ensure a consistent, streamlined and readily auditable process.

However, making a successful business case for investing in software to increase automation of the close requires more than simple calculations of costs and benefits. An effective business case must educate decision-makers and build awareness of the issues preventing a faster close and the value of addressing them. In particular, senior company and finance department executives must be convinced that the dangers associated with the change are low and the risks of not acting immediately are high.

 
 

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