When Time isn’t Always of the Essence

As specialists in the field of finance and accountancy recruitment, at Sheridan Maine we are very aware of the importance of supplying capable accountants who are very ‘efficient’ at what they do, especially during those all important ends of month, quarter and year.


However, at what point does a time-centric mind-set become detrimental to an organisation? The obvious benefits of closing the accounts in a timely fashion are still relevant; it improves stakeholder confidence, enables business leaders to make strategic decisions faster and allows accountants to return to a more normal working schedule earlier.

But is faster always necessarily better? Looking at the speed accountancy close from a different perspective forces us to rethink. The last time you were in a rush to leave the house in the morning, did you forget to shut the kitchen window, turn the light off or leave your mobile phone at home? When some activities have a time constraint, they are not always necessarily as well-thought through or completed as thoroughly (thinking back to those tight deadlines at university, all self-inflicted of course).

When we apply everyday habits to the accountancy close, you begin to wonder if the push to close all monthly accounts last Friday was all that paramount. Was your accountancy division under so much pressure that they may have missed something, or if you they had another day to review the accounts would a more insightful analysis be presented?

Research by CEB Finance in 2014 (see graph below) implies that ‘high-performing’ teams (defined by the support their findings provided to senior management for making investment decisions with minimal errors) do take one day longer to close accounts than the company average of six days. ‘Top Quartile Closers’ refers to the organisations that reported the shortest accountancy closes.
Business Days To Close August 2015
As with everything in business, there needs to be a balance, which is where ‘efficiency’ comes in. Being efficient means spinning both the time and quality plate simultaneously, and ensuring the output is at the optimal level. More time could mean more anomalies are spotted in the accounts and more insight is provided over and above the average expectation of the average accountancy function, but if those key business decisions are time-sensitive, time can sometimes be of the essence.

If you would like any further information about this article or event, we would be pleased to help you! Likewise, to understand more about how we could work with you to support your organisation’s recruitment strategy or find out about our current vacancies please get in touch with your local Sheridan Maine office or submit your CV here. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Sheridan Maine’s unmatched knowledge of Finance and Accountancy Recruitment is why we are the go-to specialists for permanent, contact and interim positions for a broad range of clients across Basingstoke, Southampton, Reading, Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Bristol, London and Birmingham.