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Governance, Risk, and Compliance Handbook: Technology, Finance, Environmental, and International Guidance and Best Practices by Anthony Tarantino

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CHAPTER 7

THE LAST MILE OF FINANCE

Eric Keller

7.1 THE LAST MILE OF FINANCE

7.2 REGAINING CONTROL

7.3 WHERE EVERYTHING COMES TOGETHER

7.4 THE PATH TO AN OPTIMUM CLOSE

7.5 A RETURN TO GOOD FINANCE

If you navigate it properly, you can have a smooth financial close, a good set of internal controls, and an accurate set of financial statements.

Note: Some of this material was originally published in Strategic Finance, March 2006.

7.1 THE LAST MILE OF FINANCE

As I speak with today's CFOs and other senior finance executives and compare the challenges they face with the ones I tackled during my years as a public company CFO, it is apparent that the job has become increasingly difficult. In the past 25 years, an abundance of new accounting rules has been introduced at the same time that reporting deadlines have been compressed, requiring a more rapid close process. Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance has further added to these challenges, dramatically increasing the time and cost to ensure that financial statements are accurate, complete, and timely. Finally, increased regulatory scrutiny has resulted in lower materiality thresholds so that even relatively small errors in financial statements can result in material weakness disclosures or financial restatements.

Here are some tangible examples of these trends:

  • During the past 10 years, a typical quarterly report (10-Q) to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has grown roughly fivefold—from 10 or 15 pages to 50 and 75 pages—reflecting ...

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