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Make a Written Agreement with Yourself to Stay on Point.

By Sam Flores, CPA

Why does it seem like every month the dealership fights to get the month end closed? Have we accounted for every deal? Have all required entries been posted?  Did we forget an accrual? Did we reverse last month’s accruals? Did we review our tax liabilities? Has WIP been reconciled? What about those unusual items like LIFO estimates and tax adjustments you only deal with once a year? If that doesn’t sound like your dealership, then Congratulations to you and your team, because the challenge of meeting month end closing deadlines is in full force at most dealerships I have visited.

You know the day to day routine. Get to the office and answer emails, make phone calls and put out fires all day.  You eat at your desk while sitting in on a phone conference while trying to review and sign checks – this is the norm!!  Finding time to get everything done that needs to get done is often a roadblock to timely and efficient production of monthly financials.

Something that really worked for me was simply using a calendar as a daily planner and requiring my staff to do the same.  Before I knew it, it became second nature to look at it every morning to make sure I wasn’t losing the important tasks I needed to accomplish that day.  I would also hold my team accountable as they would list all their important dates and deliverables throughout the month so as we came to the finish line, the month-end wouldn’t catch anyone unprepared.

Not only does staying accountable to your own goals bring a sense of accomplishment, but It keeps you focused on deadlines, and it’s a great tool for your staff to improve their time management skills.

As a Controller, I was able to close much quicker and less stressed than before, and I was able to track my staff’s deadlines with less effort. It isn’t so much the document itself that makes the difference, it is that little extra effort you take to organize your thoughts and set deadlines for yourself.  There is something powerful about writing and documenting your own expectations.

You are making an agreement with yourself to stay on point—one step at a time.

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