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Controllers' Year End Checklist

The pandemic has impacted companies in many ways, and the post pandemic reality will look very different from where they are today. Old goals and strategies must be changed to align with each company’s new, not so normal, normal. It is important for financial leaders to redevelop their forecasts based on current operating conditions so they can help the company properly navigate through the crisis and 2021.  

From closing the books accurately to forecasting revenue numbers for the year ahead, there are many critical pieces an accounting team executes at the end of the year that financial leaders should be preparing for now. Here are the 5 things Controllers should be focused on now through the end of the year:  
 

Make adjustments in budgets and forecasts 

Finance teams inevitably should be making changes to their income statement and cash flow forecasts to reflect this new reality because the old metrics and plans they once used to help create forecasts may provide little to no help.  

While the days of annual budgets are not over, it is imperative to develop short-term forecasts to supplement longer-term forecasts. The short-term forecasts need to be actively monitored and adjusted to reflect the ever-changing business environment. One thing that is for certain is to expect change throughout the pandemic and forecast models must be dynamic so they can easily be adjusted for change. 

 

Reconcile the books:

Controllers are closing the books and wrapping up an entire year’s worth of business. It’s imperative they have everything in order to start off the following year strong. If there are any issues with how reconciliations were done or how assets were allocated, those issues will need to be fixed in 2021. Rather than carrying work over into the New Year, take the time now to review financial statements carefully and thoroughly. 

Meet with management:

Controllers should be meeting with their management team and discussing the plans around growth and how they are going to achieve their goals in 2021. Everyone will provide a unique perspective on the business and their teams. This can also be an opportunity to show leaders where their teams can be more efficient or where there is opportunity to do more. 

It’s also important to meet with managers of non-revenue groups that contribute to the SG&A spend, like marketing, IT or training.  

 

Begin tax preparation and prepare for audits and reviews:

If the company uses a third party, reach out to them and discuss any items that may impact the business both presently and any future laws that may impact the upcoming year.  

Also ask what documentation they will need and begin gathering that now. When the New Year starts, there will plenty of new initiatives the company will need the accounting teams' support with, so spend the time now to audit social security numbers, ensure W-9 forms are correct and that you have all the W-9 forms needed. Mistakes with social security numbers are costly for employees and organizations, so be proactive and do an audit of them on the front end. 


Consider the team: 

Take a step back and assess the year for each individual and provide feedback on where they excelled and areas that can be improved upon. Think about how they were best managed, where they excelled and where they fell short over the year. Was their workload achievable? Is there a gap in expertise? Begin goal setting for 2021. Understand what the team wants to accomplish. Does this align with the overall goals of the department? 

To set themselves and their teams up for success through the end of 2020, it’s important Controllers are setting deadlines to stay on track. Then, hold the team accountable to meet deadlines, because with the end of year soon approaching, there is no time for ambiguity or for things to fall through the cracks.   

If you're looking to add to your team in 2021, find out more on how we can help by clicking  here. 

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