For most accounting team members and for the consulting teams that support them, year-end can be a stressful time. We all love the holidays and enjoying time with our family, but the shorten work weeks can be havoc on an already busy schedule.

Accountants will be working diligently to close out their books, in anticipation of tax filing and year-end audits. Ahh, the steps to transfer income statement accounts to balance sheet accounts has been around for a long time. Luca Pacioli, in 1494 first described the system of double-entry bookkeeping used by Venetian merchants.

For the consulting team supporting the accounting team, it is more likely to be focused on go-live. Replacing your accounting system at year-end is one of the most popular times to undergo this project. If your fiscal year also happens to be the calendar year, it provides a full year of detail data and a clean year-end close for the upcoming periods. But the calendar year-end may not always be the best time, there are the shorten work weeks and the stress of closing books while learning a new accounting system. Sometimes delaying a month or two into the new year can give both teams a chance to catch their breath and not overload their teams.

Then and Now

Regardless of which role you are in, how can you remain “thankful” and at peace during this not so peaceful time of year? Think back to the days of Pacioli and the burden of maintaining the books in the 1500’s. In the early days, ledgers were likely read like narratives with dates and descriptions of trades made for services rendered. While it may have been a tedious process, documenting the narrative, it came to be the standard way for tracking transactions. Then came currencies, narratives could be replaced with numbers. It simplified the process and started bookkeeping as we know today.

These ledgers were kept by business owners and had to be handled and protected with great care. If the ledgers were lost or stolen, there would be no record of the transactions. Fast forward to today, where accounting records are kept in the cloud or backed up to remote locations. Cloud Accounting has changed the way finance teams work. The evolving roll of accounting requires 24 x 7 access. Work anytime anywhere is no longer a myth but a reality. Applications like Sage Intacct and Microsoft Dynamics Business Central provide access to your financial transactions on any device, all you need is an internet connection.

Keep Calm and Carry On

During this time of the year, our stress level will certainly increase. Personally, I am going try and remember that work – life balance we hear so much about. I plan to attend the holiday craft festival at my grandchildren’s school, drive through the neighborhood and enjoy the amazing holiday lights, and even a glass of eggnog with friends. The goals and objectives of accounting hasn’t changed much since the days of Pacioli, where we do that work has. Yes, I may be catching up on a Sunday afternoon or staying late on a Thursday night, but it also means I can be in the front row at the elementary production of Scrooge.

Let me know how we can help you take advantage of today’s technology to get through your accounting challenges.

Karen Riordan
Vice President
KRiordan@ssiconsulting.com