True, December 31 is still months off. But for many Finance pros, the year-end process begins this week.
October is the unofficial start to year-end for many of your peers.
It doesn’t mean a full-scale immersion in all-things year-end. But by laying some groundwork now — well ahead of crunch time — you can make sure you get that ever-vital cooperation you need from other departments.
3 steps now save stress later
So what are they doing now to make things easier later? Take a look at these easy-to-implement steps that some of your peers are taking:
- Announce an official kick-off. You want to start early to get year-end on people’s radars. Of course your people in Finance are (hopefully) already thinking about it, but chances are no one in any other department is. By starting earlier than usual you’ll be able to do some planning without it eating into staffers’ regular responsibilities. Also, by getting people thinking about year-end now, there’s more time to make sure you’ve thought of everything, so there’s less chance something important will get missed.
- Spell out what you expect from other departments. That includes setting some firm deadlines. This year, Dec. 31 falls on a Monday. With Jan. 1 being a holiday at most companies, some will close on New Year’s Eve, as well – or many people may simply choose to take the day off. Which means you may want to make cut-offs the Friday before (Dec. 28) at the latest. Tip: It may be a little extra work for Finance, but creating a separate year-end schedule for each department, rather than a blanket one, would cut down on confusion and increase the odds of cooperation.
- Mix up your messengers. Chances are you have a finance staffers distribute these schedules and communicate year-end expectations. But you might have better luck if you do what some companies are doing and have department managers hand out schedules. An email from Accounting in October can be blown off a lot faster than a message directly from their supervisors.