Making the virtual close happen
Making the virtual close happen
CLIENT STORY

Making the virtual close happen

In the early days of COVID-19 business impact, KPMG helped a global 100 company's finance organization perform a virtual close for timely quarterly reporting.

Client
A global 100 company
Sector
Undisclosed
Project
Virtual quarter-end financial close during COVID-19 times
  • Client challenge
  • Benefits to client
  • Approach
  • KPMG insights

Client challenge

When COVID-19 drove most of its employees out of the office and into their homes, a Global 100 company needed support for its first-quarter close—in less than 30 days. To accomplish the upcoming close with a remote global workforce, the company’s finance and accounting leaders had to identify and triage potential gaps that could affect the financial close and reporting process.

The company quickly recognized that it needed more support for a workforce unaccustomed to working from home. It needed to assess its end to end record-to-report (R2R) process, anticipate and mitigate potential issues, and determine that its business continuity planning addressed fast-changing COVID-19 guidance. Because the company had successfully worked with KPMG previously, the choice of an advisor was clear.

Benefits to client

By rapidly onboarding its own close-support subject matter specialists and developing a robust business continuity plan, KPMG positioned the Global 100 company to overcome internal resource challenges and complete a timely and successful quarter-end close. In addition, we were able to:

  • map KPMG professionals to key client R2R resources for detailed knowledge sharing
  • instill confidence among work stream leads and teams on their ability to execute in a fully-virtual environment
  • create a robust blueprint for future virtual month-end and quarter-end closes.

Approach

KPMG mobilized a significant pool of skilled finance professionals to help the client through this short-term resource challenge. The main risks were clear: a loss of productivity due to work-from-home and school closure requirements and the inability to perform mission-critical processes if personnel became unavailable for even remote work. To mitigate these risks, KPMG teams helped the company:

  • define critical processes and business continuity readiness and remediation plans
  • conduct workshops to identify key personnel and backups for each critical process
  • develop a governance and reporting framework to escalate and resolve issues
  • monitor readiness levels and single-point-of-failure concerns for a virtual close
  • verify that its IT team had the necessary tools, technology, capacity, and security measures.

KPMG insights

Finance and accounting (F&A) leaders should consider doing three things to respond to the sudden, forced reality of a 100 percent remote workforce

First, evaluate the financial close process. Second, develop an immediate remediation plan, including staff augmentation, to successfully execute the upcoming monthly and quarterly close. Third, prioritize automation projects to drive down labor costs and improve process effectiveness.

Automation will likely drive benefits after unforeseen external events have passed

As F&A leaders adapt to the realities of a remote workforce and improved close process, companies able to embrace process standardization and automation will likely achieve material benefits in terms of cost savings and productivity—in the range of 10 percent to 70 percent reductions in full-time equivalent cost, depending on the process.

With assistance from KPMG, this client quickly addressed issues around critical processes, business continuity readiness, key personnel, reporting framework governance, point-of-failure concerns, security and IT capacity to support.

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