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My building contains one of the world’s slowest elevators. My kids, in their impatience, like to spend a lot of time mashing on the call button, but nothing they’re doing is ever going to speed that thing up.

It reminds me of how a lot of accounting departments I used to know tended to do a lot of button mashing on their debits and credits as well, while they waited for their invoices to post to their vouchers to post to their journals to post to their preliminary month-end balances. (Every step necessitating a reconciliation, and every error being yet more time lost chasing down a clean preliminary close-and that’s all before the real work of the final close could begin). Sound familiar?

It’s been awhile since I’ve waited on a close like that. First of all, I got out of accounting and into accounting software, which is one thing. But the other thing I did was get into SAP accounting software, and it’s funny how the world has changed since then. Single-document business events mean that GL balances are already updated the moment an invoice is entered. No more waiting for the accounting elevator!!!

For fun, I just dug through the SAP User Group (ASUG) benchmarking figures on month, quarter and year-end closes. Best-practice monthly closes are currently tracking at an average of 3.3 days (not weeks), with quarterly closes slightly higher, at 3.8 days.

Now, here is the big surprise: Of the tens of thousands of companies using SAP accounting software, guess what the top 25% are achieving for their year-end closing cycles? 5.1 days. That’s right–barely over a week, and not even requiring a weekend if they’d be willing to take that extra hour before knocking off on Friday.

Weekends free! Elevators there whenever you push the button! Ok, I’m dreaming on that last one, but it’s always good to have goals in life. If your goal is a faster accounting close, you need to be checking out SAP’s accounting software and benchmarking expertise.

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  1. Thanks for the analogy Craig.  Very easy to visualize some of the challenges that face controlling departments.  Would be interested to hear from others who are implementing strategies to improve control and compliance of their financial reporting, WITHOUT losing time.
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