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End-of-Year Checklist for Controllers 

From closing the books accurately to forecasting revenue numbers for the year ahead so leaders can properly goal-set, there are many critical pieces that an accounting team executes at the end of the year. The right leader will set their team (and the company) up for success come January 1, 2020 by starting to prepare now. Here are the 5 things Controllers should be focused on through the end of the year:  

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 any issues with how reconciliations were done or how assets were allocated, those issues will need to be fixed in 2020. Rather than carrying work over into the new year, take the time now to review financial statements carefully and thoroughly. 


Controllers should be well on their way to budgeting and preparing for the upcoming year. As they monitor how the current year is closing, they should be prepared to carry projections and analyze the affects in the coming year.  

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 2020. Everyone will provide a unique perspective on the business and their team. 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’s are correct and that you have all the W’9’s you need. 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 2020. Understand what the team wants to accomplish. Does this align with the overall goals of the department? Controllers should also be planning for growth. Are controllers projecting growth that will impact the size of the team? Are they prepared if their best person leaves tomorrow?  

To set themselves and their teams up for success through the end of 2019, 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 2020, find out more on how we can help by clicking here.