12–18. Create a Closing Schedule

The worst enemy of a financial statement process is a disorganized closing. Without a sufficiently detailed procedure, no one will know when any deliverables are needed or if some deliverables are needed at all. Further, there is no sequence to the process so some steps are waiting for the completion of previous steps that no one is working on. For example, the accounts payable module must be completed before anyone can complete the fixed assets module since it is possible to overlook last-minute fixed asset additions if some of the accounts payable have not been entered. A disorganized closing can drastically delay the completion of financial statements.

The solution is to create a closing schedule such as the one shown in Exhibit 12.4. This schedule itemizes all tasks that must be completed during each day of the closing process. By creating such a schedule, it is immediately obvious when all tasks must be completed so that the controller can follow up with employees and apply extra resources to those tasks that are falling behind the schedule. Please note that a number of activities scheduled in Exhibit 12.4 should be completed prior to the end of the reporting period, leaving much less work to do at the end of the process. This schedule is most effective when combined with a schedule of responsibilities, such as the one noted earlier in Exhibit ...

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