Insights from our experts

Transforming your finance department: Unleashing a competitive edge

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, companies are increasingly focusing on finance transformation to stay competitive.

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, companies are increasingly focusing on finance transformation to stay competitive.

To thrive in a faced-paced business environment, organizations need to stay nimble and agile. A fast close process enables companies to quickly access accurate financial data, empowering them to make informed decisions promptly. 

Fast close, the ability to swiftly complete accounting cycles and close the books, is a critical factor for modern businesses. With its numerous advantages, a fast financial close can enhance a company’s capacity to analyse and act upon financial information, freeing valuable time from operational challenges.

Fast close unifies departments, streamlines accounting cycles, and enhances collaboration and information sharing. By adopting this approach businesses can foster cohesion, improve decision-making, and enhance operational effectiveness. For example, accurate and timely financial data from data providers directly impact the closing process, further improving decision-making and operational effectiveness.

Approaches to fast-close projects are customized to meet a company’s unique requirements, accounting practices, legal obligations, technological infrastructure, and procedural considerations. The primary goal is to optimize complex financial and management reporting procedures in four key areas: Processes, Data Quality, IT Automation, and People.

To achieve a fast close and promote operational excellence, companies must prioritize continuous process evaluation and improvement. This involves assessing existing procedures to identify inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and redundant steps. By embracing the principles of lean management, organizations can streamline their operations, eliminate unnecessary tasks, and optimize the overall closing process. Operational excellence, combined with a fast close approach, empowers businesses to maximize their financial analysis capabilities and make timely, well-informed decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information.

Having a single source of truth is crucial for financial reporting, as it emphasizes the importance of data quality. The adoption of a fast close approach prioritizes data integrity, guaranteeing the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of information. By implementing robust data governance practices, incorporating data validation controls, and conducting regular audits, organizations can enhance data quality.

Another crucial aspect is leveraging process automation. For instance, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can streamline repetitive tasks, reduce errors and delays, secure data consolidation and expedite the overall closing process while focusing on added value tasks. RPA can be applied on IT side (ITPA) and on Business side (BPA): having a two-sides-approach create foundation for highly efficient operational model.

Finally, the success of a fast close initiative relies heavily on people. In order to achieve such a transformation, a suitable change management strategy is essential to effectively modify habits and adapt to working with new technology. Providing comprehensive training and upskilling opportunities to employees on streamlined processes and automated tools are vital measures in establishing a fast close environment.

In conclusion, embracing a fast close approach brings multiple benefits. By optimizing financial and management reporting procedures in areas such as processes, data quality, IT automation and people, businesses can unlock their true potential. Furthermore, it also challenges the status quo and gives the opportunity to shape a new Target Operating Model.

Florian Grova et Maxime Cedolin, Hamlet Consulting Luxembourg

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