By Marisa Ruffles. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely gotten your 10-K out the door. Congratulations! After you actually stand up from your chair, unchain your ankles from your desk and get re-acquainted with your family, there are a few things you want to do while you have the year-end close process and experience fresh in your mind. Reflection is key, and before you know it the Q will be sneaking up on you.
- Put together a post mortem analysis. Invite all stakeholders to look back at your filing period and assess a few key elements. Once the group identifies a process improvement, be sure to define a measurable goal and track movement towards achieving that goal. Some of our favorite post mortem questions include :
- What went well?
- What was one of the biggest hurdles?
- How can we address this concern going forward?
- Could we have improved communication across teams and/or external parties?
- Get a pre-quarter close meeting on the calendar to go over data due dates for your next Q. It might seem premature, but getting a jump on this as soon as possible will make all the difference at crunch time. After the meeting, internally distribute a word doc with agreed upon due dates and any further instructions for communicating data.
- If you need to update any passwords for the upcoming Q, do it now while the current ones are still fresh in your mind. There’s nothing worse than digging through notes and docs for password hints.
- Give yourself a couple of weeks on this one – but when your brain begins to crave stimulation again, start preparing a pro forma of what the document will look like in advance of getting the upcoming Q numbers in. Update any excel templates, change calendar dates, write up any disclosures in advance that you know are inevitable and submit them to legal to get feedback sooner rather than later.
So, go celebrate, and give yourself a much deserved break. And when you’re ready to return, work your way through numbers 1-4. It’ll give you a leg up on your next financial close. For even more tips on improving your processes, download our 4 Step Guide to Improved Regulatory Reporting.