An end of a quarter can be a stressful time for any professional. But for those working in finance, it means summarizing the performance of the last quarter and making recommendations for the subsequent one. This can be a massive challenge and if it's not completed to an appropriate standard or deadline, it can cause significant problems for the whole company.
Here are five ways to master the end of quarter rush:
1. Prepare ahead of time
It goes without saying that there is a considerable amount of paperwork involved with any end of quarter so ensure you have everything in place well ahead of the deadline date. It's likely that you'll need consultation or approval from other members of staff so making sure all the paperwork is ready for them to sign off will make the process much easier for both parties.
Being prepared should also extend to collecting any data or figures you need to prepare the end of quarter report. It may take time to organize this information and cleanse it of any errors so doing it as soon as possible means you're halfway there.
2. Communicate with colleagues
Communication is at the heart of every process and the end of quarter rush is no different. Chasing colleagues will take up a significant amount of your time as deadlines approach so ensure you allow plenty of time for this stage. You may also want to try and introduce more effective ways to communicate. Resources like Slack or Trello can track the progress of projects and individual tasks, allowing each team member to see what stage it is at and when they'll next be involved.
3. Bring internal deadlines forward
Internal deadlines should be before the hard deadline where the report or analysis needs to be submitted. By doing this, you're allowing yourself enough time to get all the information from colleagues, go over it and then present it in the necessary format. Having internal deadlines too close to external ones will put pressure on the whole team and mean that hard deadlines are much more likely to be missed.
4. Get senior management support
Building relationships with people on your team as well as other senior staff members can be a valuable asset to have. Getting management support early on in the process will make it more likely that you get what you need on time from colleagues.
Speaking to them and getting them to understand exactly what you need and why will reduce the burden on finance. Once they are bought into it, senior management should be happy to take responsibility for colleagues in their remit and ensure they deliver. This will significantly reduce the amount of time you need to spend chasing people.
5. Allow time for deliberation
Any financial report will need to be presented to colleagues and then onto MDs or C-level executives. It's important that you leave enough time for everyone to have their input, especially with areas that may provoke discussion or deliberation. However, it's important that you are committed to your findings. Discussion about finances is to be expected but significant changes can cause massive problems so be prepared to stand firm on your conclusions and bring evidence to support them.