What happens when a key person in your finance department is suddenly hit by a bus, and it’s month end?  Are your processes and procedures documented so you can meet your deadlines?

So often, this is overlooked.  What are the chances it will happen to you?

No one ever wants to think of this, but it does happen.  It happened to me, it was month end and a close relative of mine was killed in a car accident. I had to leave town. Fast.

They say that, “death, funerals and taxes wait for no man” and the Company I worked for was no exception. It was month end. The accountants were waiting. I could never have left town except…all the key month end processes were documented! With great instructions!

Think of it, what are the important processes your Company CAN NOT LIVE WITHOUT? Now, picture your key finance person gone tomorrow.

So what’s the best approach for ensuring key processes are in place and documented. Where do you start?

Here are my thoughts:

Review your monthly schedule determining the individual procedures required to be documented and their timeline.

  1. Prioritize each procedure by its importance to month end and how its likely-hood that it can’t be completed by someone else.  This will provide the starting point for which process should be completed first.
  2. Review the procedures to determine if they can be streamlined.
  3. Review to ensure that all audit requirements are looked after to minimize the risk for error.
  4. Review for hidden formulas that may require further explanation.  Expand on these for clarification.
  5. Document your procedures making sure that you answer the 5 basic questions.  Who, What, Where, When and Why?

The goal is to make sense of the numbers, so that anyone can complete the spreadsheet accurately and with little difficulty.

We all dread the auditors when they arrive.

Cut back on the stress by having everything in order before they arrive.  Having procedures clearly documented, itemized, and cross-referenced; your audit time will be significantly reduced; which will save on costs, as well as reduce your stress levels too.

The auditors will love you.