Does anyone have a year-end Accounting activity checklist?

Regis Quirin's Profile

Year End Accounting Checklist

I am looking for a lsit of activities that need to be performed to close the books for the year and prepare for the financial audit.  I am hoping someone has a generic template they have used vs. me creating something.

Thanks.

Answers

Is your question related to system procedures to close the books more related to PBC (Prepared By Client) items expected by the outside CPA? Or are your looking to develop a financial close checklist?

For system procedures, your system should have a PDF Manual regarding month end and year end procedures.

For what the auditor will expect, call the audit manager and mention you are trying to help them be as efficient as possible so you are working ahead. Ask them for the tailored PBC List they need you to complete in advance of their arrival for field work. In addition, ask them if they would prefer any of the schedules you may have provided in the past be changed to better fit their needs. It is common for clients not to produce the format the auditor needs to facilitate their work (shifting to an auditor friendly format helps them to ask less questions and helps eliminate delays).

In my experience it is easier to make certain aspects of the year end audit needs part of month end production, reconciliations and analyses packages being the lion's share. If the monthlies follow the annual requirements then the year end work is already audit friendly.

Review the past management comments received from the auditors as well.

I don't have a template for you. You may need many templates, one for each area of accounting, AR, AP, GL, PR, FA, Cash, etc. But these may be more akin to procedures than an overall checklist so you will have to decide the level of detail.

Google is helpful in some cases to get you stated in pulling standard text to customize in case you don't receive the template you are hoping for.

Steven Bragg also has good process and controls resources although you may find they are too general.

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Hi Regis,

Yes, here is a "Year End Check List:"

http://www.proformative.com/resources/year-end-checklist-0

You might want to take a look at this free white paper, also here on Proformative titled,
"A Faster Year End Close:"

http://www.proformative.com/whitepapers/faster-year-end-close

I also found this free resource on Proformative posted by Anders Liu Lindberg, just in case you need a month end checklist. It's a nicely detailed Excel file:

http://www.proformative.com/resources/month-end-checklist

Finally, you might want to get a free copy of Proformative's Accounting Resources Guide:

http://www.proformative.com/resources/accounting-resources-guide

Enjoy!

Best... Sarah

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I concur with Ms. Campbell regarding Steven Bragg. His book "Fast Close" is an excellent resource, in my opinion. "Fast Close" has checklists for soft close items as well. The only check list I have is one that is nearly 2 years old and more than likely useless, unless of course your client is an MGA, even with if it were the list is outdated by now.

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I have one in my head. After doing year end closes for many, many years, I developed a methodology and an order to achieve a successful year end close. I define success as having a final P&L and B/S that stands up to auditor scrutiny. If there are no auditor recommended adjustments, the year end close was a success. First, I make sure all revenue is booked in accordance with GAAP. Then I root out any and all expenses that can/should be booked in the current year. After accomplishing that, I proceed to the balance sheet and verify that all asset and liability accounts are correct and have support for every dollar. My motto is "If you can't support it, it probably shouldn't be there." After scrubbing the B/S and writing off any/all "garbage", I proceed to year end reports. That is the short and sweet of it. BTW... I have had no auditor recommended adjustments since 2003.

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I too, sad to say, have developed similar types of "in my head" year-end closes.

Sort doesn't help the replacement....

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A good place to start is to print a Trial Balance and have a reconciliation for each balance sheet account. As you perform your reconciliations make a list of tasks specific for your company. If you put the list into Excel it's an easy checklist. Add a column for "Performed by" and "Date completed"
You can sort it by Balance Sheet Account, or you can make a table of tasks and include date to be worked on and assigned to. you can then run pivot tables by person and or due date and or accounts. Good Luck.

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There's no template, each business will have different procedures, etc. but you can plan for this and now is the time to do the planning. First I recommend having a meeting with all of the individuals who will participate in the closing process to discuss what will need to be done, when and by whom. Ask them for their input since they may have insights from the trenches that upper management doesn't have. At this or another meeting set out a calendar for the close. Assign specific dates by which time the specific process needs to be completed and to whom the report is to go. Hand out the entire calendar and give each participant a specific calendar for their part of the closing process. Write down all of the procedures! Nothing counts if it is just in your head. Distribute the entire closing process write up to all participants. Finally follow up with the individuals who are in charge of each procedure and make sure they have not run into a stumbling block. You can work out with them any issues as they come up.

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I strive to make each month's close the same, so that our year-end closing process is no different than each of our monthly closes. We have a closing checklist we use each month and prepare reconciliations monthly as well. Any analyses; E&O inventory, bad debt reserve, commission accruals, tax provision are updated monthly. This keeps things fresh and prevents year-end from becoming a major undertaking.

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I agree with Damon that the effort placed on the month end close will lead to a much smoother year end close. For years I have developed the habit of using a 3 ring binder for all of my month end schedules. I tab them off following down the trial balance (Cash, A/R, Inventory, Fixed Assets, Current Assets, etc.)

As part of my month end close, I tie out the balance sheet accounts and use Excel schedules to track what is open. I have seen many companies which do what I call a soft close -- they don't reconcile, make stock journal entries, and wind up at year end with a mountain of research time trying to locate valid prepaid insurance, etc.

If you do a hard close each month, being thorough in tying out and scheduling your balance sheet accounts, you will find that year end is smooth, and allows you to concentrate on those year-end entries (depreciation, inventory, reserves) that require an annual tweak.

Valerie's suggestion about calling the auditor is an excellent idea. The smoother the close, the less schedules and research will need be done by the CPA firm and less billing hours for you. I have year end templates of additional information the CPA requires at year end, I update these and send them along.

Nothing, in my opinion replaces doing a hard monthly close and keeping the balance sheet accounts reconciled and up to date. Every set of books and software has its own nuances, but soon enough you will find your footing.

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Damon:
The OP was requesting a check-list. You say you have one.
Can you share yours?

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