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Frustrated with the inefficiencies of your month-end close? Looking to be audit-ready every month of the year? Our mortgage banking accounting expert Susan Volpe shares her 10 Best Practices to Improve Your Month-End Close:

  1. Increase Mid-Month Activities/Daily/Weekly
    • Reconcile LHFS
    • Reconcile WH & Escrow – weekly
    • Reconcile cash
    • Reconcile CC

  2. Understand the Activities
    • Typically, financial activities are either transactional or rules-based
    • Understanding the kinds of transactions you are dealing with can help you understand whether to automate them

  3. Standardize Your Documentation
    • Standardize repeat reconciliations, allocation, JE
    • Payroll – mapping GL Mapping from your payroll
    • LOS reports – first payments, commission loan level reports

  4. Build Bridges Outside the Accounting Department
    • Vendor invoices – reach out get invoices
    • Closing department – PA

  5. Cross-train Key Tasks
    • Allows close activities to continue even when a team member is out of the office
    • Cross-training also fosters a more collaborative and flexible working environment

  6. Embrace Automation
    • Automation is your best friend
    • The more you can automate, the faster your closing will become

  7. Improve Processes
    • Process improvement takes time and is a continuous practice
    • Making changes piece by piece may not produce dramatic improvements overnight, but it will allow you to evaluate each step and course-correct when needed, which will likely yield greater benefits in the long run.
      • For example, start out by updating close-related tasks such as journal entries and then move onto more complex procedures. Track how long each task requires and record any shifts as you go.

  8. Prepare a Detail Close Schedule
    • Assign the appropriate person to complete the task
    • Create a deadline for each task

  9. Set Realistic Expectations
    • Don’t allow you and your team to become overwhelmed
    • If your closing is now the 20th, jumping to the 5th may not be realistic.
    • Baby step it

  10. Make it a Team Effort
    • Empower your employees to take ownership and make suggestions
    • Push team members to take a personal stake in improving close procedures that is reflective of their role in the organization
    • Empower your employees to optimize their workflows in a way that works best for them