Netgain On: Month-End Close

In the dynamic realm of finance, where numbers hold the key to success, staying well-versed in the intricacies of financial management is imperative for professionals and individuals alike. 

Whether you're an accountant, a business owner, or simply someone interested in understanding the ins and outs of financial management, this guide aims to demystify the terminology surrounding the crucial process of month-end close.


The Basics – Month-End Close 

Definition: The month-end close, also known as the monthly close or financial close, is a process carried out by companies or organizations to finalize their financial records for a specific accounting period, typically a month. It involves a series of activities and procedures to ensure the accuracy and completeness of financial data before generating financial statements and reports.

How It Works: In an accounts receivable reconciliation, for example, the company verifies outstanding customer balances, confirms the accuracy of invoices and payments, and resolves any discrepancies.


What Is The Month-End Close?

The month-end close is an essential accounting procedure that culminates and concludes all financial activity for a business during the previous month. This designated timeframe serves as a definitive period for accounting purposes. 

The process entails scrutinizing, documenting, and reconciling all financial transactions within that specific period. Its primary objective is to guarantee accurate and comprehensive accounting of all transactions, enabling the business to conclude the financial records for that period and commence the subsequent month with a clean slate of records.

It also includes the review and approval of journal entries, the finalization of payroll, and the review of any necessary adjustments. In addition, the month-end close involves the review and verification of all financial transactions and the preparation of financial reports.


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What is the month-end close?


What Is The Purpose Of The Month-End Close Process?

The purpose of the month-end close process is to ensure accurate and reliable financial reporting for a business. This process serves several important functions. First, it allows for a comprehensive review and documentation of all financial transactions that occurred during the month, ensuring that they are properly recorded and classified. 

By reconciling accounts and verifying balances, any errors or discrepancies can be identified and corrected. 

Additionally, the month-end close process helps meet regulatory requirements and deadlines, such as tax filings and financial statements. It also provides management with timely and relevant financial information to make informed decisions and assess the company's performance. 

Ultimately, the month-end close process enables the business to have a clear understanding of its financial position and results, facilitating transparency and accountability.

Netgain Answers: All Things Month-End Close 

What Is A Month-End Close Process Flowchart? 

A month-end close process flowchart is a visual representation of the steps involved in the month-end closing process. It helps to illustrate the sequence of tasks that need to be completed in order to complete the month-end close. Here is a general overview of a month-end close process flowchart:

Preliminary Activities:

  • Gather relevant financial documents and records.
  • Prepare the necessary templates and tools for the close process.
  • Review any open items or issues from the previous month-end close.

Account Reconciliations:

  • Perform bank reconciliations to ensure the accuracy of cash balances.
  • Reconcile general ledger accounts with supporting documentation.
  • Investigate and resolve any discrepancies or variances identified during the reconciliation process.

Accruals and Adjustments:

  • Review and record necessary accruals for expenses or revenues that have not been captured in the accounting system.
  • Make any required adjusting entries to correct errors or align financial statements with the accrual basis of accounting.

Review and Approval:

  • Conduct a thorough review of the financial statements, including the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.
  • Obtain necessary approvals from management or designated personnel to ensure accuracy and completeness.

Financial Reporting:

  • Prepare and generate the final financial statements.
  • Compile supporting schedules, disclosures, and footnotes.
  • Distribute the financial reports to relevant stakeholders, such as management, board members, or external parties.

Closing Activities:

  • Close the accounting period in the financial system to prevent any further changes or postings.
  • Archive and store the necessary documentation and records for future reference and audit purposes.
  • Conduct a post-close review to identify process improvements or areas for optimization in subsequent month-end closes.

How Long Can The Month-End Close Process Take?

The duration of the month-end closing process can vary based on the size and complexity of the organization and the number of tasks that need to be completed. This makes it challenging to provide a definitive timeframe. 

Based on data provided by the American Productivity & Quality Center, it was found that the median duration for the account closure process among a sample of 2,300 surveyed organizations in 2018 was 6.4 days. (1) 

Furthermore, Ventana Research discovered in 2022 that, on average, businesses required six days plus to complete their month-end closing process and finalize their financial records. (2)

How Can The Month-End Closing Process Be Improved?

The month-end closing process is a critical activity for businesses to ensure accurate financial reporting and make informed decisions. To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the month-end closing process, here are some suggestions:

Streamline and Automate: Evaluate the existing manual processes and identify areas where automation can be introduced. Use accounting software and tools to automate repetitive tasks; this can save time, reduce errors, and improve overall efficiency.

Standardize Procedures: Develop a standardized checklist or template that outlines the specific steps required for month-end closing. Clearly define roles and responsibilities for each task, ensuring everyone understands their responsibilities and deadlines. Standardization helps eliminate confusion and promotes consistency.

Implement a Closing Calendar: Create a month-end closing calendar that includes all the important dates and deadlines leading up to the close. This calendar should include cutoff dates for transactions, submission deadlines, and reviews by management. Sharing the calendar with all relevant stakeholders helps everyone stay on track and ensures the timely completion of tasks.

Consolidate Systems for Better Integration: By consolidating and integrating systems, organizations can centralize data, streamline processes, and eliminate the need for manual data entry and reconciliation. A unified system improves data accuracy and enhances visibility and reporting capabilities, allowing for real-time insights and faster decision-making.

Back-Up Data: Backing up data is crucial for maintaining the integrity and availability of financial information. Regularly back up all critical financial data to ensure it is protected from accidental loss or system failures.

Providing Training and Resources to Staff Members: Training should be tailored to the specific role of each employee, ensuring that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out their tasks efficiently. Resources should be made available to staff members, such as online tutorials and other helpful materials.

What Are The Challenges Faced During The Month-End Closing Process? 

The month-end close process can be a complex and time-consuming task for companies of all sizes. During the process, organizations often face a variety of challenges that can delay the close or lead to errors. Some commonly encountered challenges in the process include:

Time Constraints

The amount of time available for closing the books can be limited, especially when the process is manual and time-consuming. As a result, it can be difficult to complete the process within the required time frame. 

To ensure the process is completed on time, it is important to identify and address any bottlenecks in the process early on to avoid delays. Automating processes can also help to reduce the amount of time spent on manual tasks and enable the month-end close process to be completed more quickly.

Data Accuracy Issues

When data accuracy is compromised, the entire process can become inefficient and unreliable. Ensuring the accuracy and integrity of financial data is crucial during the month-end closing process. 

It requires careful validation, reconciliation, and a review of various accounts and financial statements. Identifying and resolving discrepancies or errors can be challenging, especially in complex or decentralized accounting systems.

Manual And Repetitive Tasks

Manual and repetitive tasks can be one of the most challenging aspects of the month-end close process. These tasks include entering data into spreadsheets, manually reconciling accounts, and manually entering transactions into the accounting system. 

The process can be time-consuming, tedious, and error-prone. To help streamline manual and repetitive tasks, organizations should utilize technology-based solutions.

Lack Of Standardized Procedures

Without a set of established processes and procedures in place, it can be difficult to ensure accuracy and consistency in the financial data. This can lead to costly errors that can harm the financial health of the business. To ensure a successful month-end close process, it is important to establish a clear set of procedures that are followed by all members of the finance team. 

What Is The Month-End Closing Process Checklist?

A month-end closing checklist comprises a set of tasks that must be accomplished prior to finalizing the monthly financial statements. Having a comprehensive month-end closing process checklist is essential because it involves consolidating data from various sources to generate and review financial statements. Here are a few records that necessitate careful verification:

  • Cash: Verify that your cash balance matches the bank statements and investigate any discrepancies or unprocessed funds.
  • Expenses/Accrued Expenses: Ensure accurate recording and cross-referencing of the company's expenses for the given period.
  • Accounts receivable: Review outstanding payments and determine if any bad debts need to be written off.
  • Accounts payable: Verify payments made to suppliers during the month and ensure their accuracy.
  • Inventory and fixed assets: Document the depreciation expense of fixed assets and maintain accurate tracking of inventory.
  • Accrued taxes: Assess the accumulated tax liability for the relevant period.
  • Payroll: Calculate employee payroll for the current period and record necessary reimbursements related to employees.
  • Notes payable to the bank: Compute the monthly interest payable to the bank and track loan amortization.

What is the difference between year-end and month-end closing?

Year-end closing refers to the process of completing the financial activities and transactions of an entire fiscal year. 

On the other hand, month-end closing occurs at the end of each month throughout the fiscal year. It involves similar tasks to year-end closing but focuses on the financial activities and transactions that occurred within a specific month.

Why is month-end close important? 

The month-end closing is a vital process aimed at ensuring accurate and complete accounting of all transactions. By closing the books on the financial activity for the month, businesses can begin the next month with a clean slate and updated records. This process plays a crucial role in enabling businesses to consistently provide precise, accruate, and timely financial data.

How can I improve my month-end close?

To improve your month-end close, you should streamline tasks, standardize procedures, conduct regular reconciliations, provide training and resources, and utilize technology solutions. 

Additionally, you should create a checklist for the month-end closing process and review it regularly. By implementing these strategies, you can streamline your month-end close process, reduce errors, and improve the timeliness and accuracy of your financial reporting.

What are month-end reconciliations? 

Month-end reconciliations refer to the process of comparing and matching financial data to ensure accuracy and consistency at the end of each month. It involves comparing various financial records, such as bank statements, general ledger accounts, accounts receivable, and accounts payable, to identify any discrepancies or errors.


  1. Cycle Time to Perform the Monthly Close | APQC. (2023, May 17).
  2. Research, V. (2023). Ventana Research Releases Dynamic Insights Research on Smart Financial Close. Retrieved June 1, 2023, from



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