With macroeconomic uncertainty and industry trends changing faster than ever before, Fast Close is a key requirement for management to make timely strategic decisions based on trusted financial data. However, many firms struggle with orchestrating a process involving multiple functions, legal entities, including reporting, operations, data model, systems, and many others to achieve Fast Close.

Below we have listed three initiative areas that can help your company achieve better results with a Fast Close initiative.

1. Get an overview of your closing calendar

It can be difficult to gain a full overview of the closing process. Many departments are involved, and many different requirements must be met including legal and managerial requirements. Moreover, controlling and reporting is essential.

Running a coordinated closing process requires visibility of dependencies between processes, clarity over roles, responsibilities, and timing of activities. In addition, follow-up and monitoring to ensure visibility when issues or delays arise in the process, which will delay other processes, are also crucial. Therefore, a Fast Close project should design an integrated target closing calendar, which addresses all requirements from the current closing process, stipulates deadlines and allocates responsibility to specific employees. Furthermore, exploring options to move non-critical tasks out of the month-end closing process to reduce peak workloads during closing period is also essential. 

2. Leverage accruals and thresholds

Accrual accounting and use of thresholds are central factors in achieving a faster closing process.

The company’s steering needs, GAAP requirements and granularity of performance follow-up are determining factors for the required accuracy of month-end closing. This will guide how accruals must be estimated and how they can be reviewed. Simpler, lump-sum accruals can often be made at a more aggregated level of steering, while detailed accruals at the level of each activity or cost center will require more effort, modelling and controlling.

Leading companies use advanced Machine Learning algorithms to estimate accruals and have implemented advanced setups to monitor their accuracy as well as a detailed policy to ensure financial data remains trustworthy. However, no matter how accruals are estimated, it is vital to the relevance of the closing process that all accruals are trusted and controlled accordingly.

3. Automate the closing process

Leading companies embed their closing calendars in a digital tool to automate, monitor closing activities across entities and enable workflows to coordinate the end-to-end process. A closing tool alerts employees when other departments have prepared input and they can begin their closing tasks. Furthermore, a closing cockpit enables managers to identify, monitor, and address potential process delays in real time.

Different technologies can be used to automate manual processes. For example, reconciliations across different ERP systems can be automated with low-code solutions with the possibility for commentary and approval of work products. Another key area is harmonizing use of ERP modules, which are often not used to their full potential causing workarounds and unnecessary manual closing activities. Poor training and anchoring of new technology solutions are the main root causes for manual workarounds.


We often experience that companies are struggling on where to start. Some believe that process documentation and mapping are key elements for initiating a Fast Close project, and some only want to focus on processes where it really hurts. In summary, we recommend that you gain an overview of the closing calendar and move activities out of the closing period where possible. Further improve closing speed by leveraging accruals, thresholds and keep an open mind towards the use of different technologies to improve closing excellence.