Eliminate the Billing Bottleneck When Closing the Books
In the closing process, one of the more difficult areas that can delay the close is customer billings. While many other aspects of the close can be completed in advance or compressed, billings requires a significant amount of work in the middle of the core closing period. The result can be a severely delayed close.
Several possibilities for reducing the time required for billings are:
- Attachments. If billing information is being accumulated in a different computer system, print it out from that system and simply attach the document to the invoice. The invoice refers to the attachment for more information.
- Copy. If billing information must be forwarded from another computer system, copy and paste it into the billing software. The result may not appear polished, but is quicker than retyping the information.
- Error corrections. Issue invoices on the first pass. If it turns out that there was an error in an invoice, issue the correction within the following reporting period, which is outside of the core closing period.
- Report writer. If certain customers want to be billed using a specific format, invest in report writing software that can generate these reports automatically.
- Staffing. Allocate more of the accounting staff to the billing function. Since this may require less-experienced staff to work on billings, have the added staff work on the easiest billings.
There are multiple discussions about the fast close in Episodes 16 through 25 of the Accounting Best Practices podcast.