I wrote an earlier post about a former colleague of mine, Atholl, who made significant improvements to the year-end process. A big focus of his was using the timetable more effectively - getting greater buy-in and ownership of the items on the timetable so that there was greater assurance that the deadlines would stick.
Since writing that article, it's amazing the stories shared by the finance leaders I've worked with about the differing ways in which their timetables are used....or not.
What is the timetable to you?
Is it simply a sheet of paper, that has some dates and deliverables....but that's it. For the most part, you disregard it, because you know what to do, don't you? You've been doing it year on year, you've got the key dates in your calendar and the process is working. If it's not broke, don't fix it, right?
Or is it the bible? That you hold on to religiously...you're checking it every day to make sure you're on track. You follow-up the other people who have deliverables due....and become frustrated by their lack of care factor? Why don't they understand?
Or....are you wondering, which timetable I'm referring to, because there are a few that you use at year-end?
We all have different views....but are working to one deliverable
Which means we need it to work for everyone. Usually its production and control is with one department, and so by default they often are the ones left wondering "why am I the only one that cares about this?". However, because the year-end process is full of interdependencies and downstream impacts and at some important point splits into multiple and concurrent sub-processes, everyone needs to be singing from this very important hymn sheet.
How to make your year-end timetable work for you
Regardless of your views around the timetable and the department that is in charge of producing the timetable, you are all on the hook for delivering a first class financial report. And we know...it's a bit of a 'black out' time for us, we "lose the next 6 weeks of our lives", but what if there was a tool that could change that? The timetable - when used correctly - is that tool.
Find out where the breakdown is
If you need more buy-in to your timetable and more certainty that the dates will be achieved, download this Get Your Timetable Right diagnostic which will illuminate the exact issue that's causing the challenges you're facing.
Yes, the timetable may simply be 'another spreadsheet'...but when used correctly, its impact to your year-end experience and outcomes can be game changing.