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No More Red Pen: A Farewell to the Old Monthly Close

Close the Books Better
Financial Reporting
report marked up with red pen transitioning to an online report with comments
4 min read
Arthy Kumar
Industry Principal
Published: April 22, 2020
Last Updated: April 25, 2023

To the Old-School Monthly Close:

I'm over you.

The last several weeks have been tough, not being able to go to the office, even when I really, really wanted to. I couldn't say hi to coworkers at the coffee maker or swing by my friend Mitz's desk. 

When it was time for the month-end close and I was still working from home, I couldn't print copies of our financial statements for colleagues to review. I couldn't turn around in my chair to ask Scott or Michelle a question. My friends in legal and compliance couldn't drop off handwritten edits to my filings. 

And you know what? None of that mattered. 

With New Monthly Close, my team still completed everything on time remotely, I could still ask Scott and Michelle questions virtually. And, the legal and compliance team was still able to review my work—this time, in the cloud. 

That's when realized I'd been holding on to you, Old Monthly Close, out of tradition. But, my head and my heart had moved on years ago. 

Of course, I miss seeing my coworkers in person. However, if I've learned anything over the last several weeks, it's how little I miss seeing PDF copies of shareholder reports marked up with handwriting I could barely read. Oh, red pen, is this a goodbye?

When I first got to know you, Old Monthly Close, reviewers edited drafts of our public-facing documents in red pen, on hard copies. Eventually, those were scanned, uploaded, and emailed as attachments. Final documents were sent to a printer, who worked into the night to help me get everything just right. Staying late at the office waiting for blacklines or EDGAR proofs, ticking and tying numbers by hand, missing dinners with family, no social life—that was my life every quarter. 

Then, in the last decade, my team and I met New Monthly Close in the cloud. New Monthly Close reminded me so much of how you were when we first met. And, as I got to know New Monthly Close better, I started liking it more and more. 

  • "So good with people," I thought. I could share documents with as many or as few people as I wanted, and we could all work together at the same time in the cloud. 
  • "So consistent," I said to myself. I don't have to guess what version of a document I'm going to get for review: Version 97.991 or 99.2? With New Monthly Close, I know I'm always with the truest, most updated version. I can link common disclosure language across my documents for multiple funds, so everything's consistent.
  • "So easy to read," I said. I don't have to guess what's changed since the last time we talked. I can quickly create a blackline on my own to see what's new.
  • "So straightforward. No games." I can automatically connect data to my reports with New Monthly Close to reduce the risk of human error. I don't have to update the same language or number in all 80 funds or five presentations? Seems too good to be true! I always had to do that before.

Plus, I can file to the SEC on my own, from anywhere, with New Monthly Close. This makes this whole deal a lot sweeter! I can finally have control and work-life balance. 

It's not that there's necessarily anything wrong with you, Old Monthly Close. It's me. I have so much more control with New Monthly Close. I can fix a typo or update a number on my own. With New Monthly Close, I don't have to worry about wasting time on manual tasks. I finally have time to tackle more valuable work. I just like me better when I'm around New Monthly Close.

So goodbye, red pen.

Goodbye, hard-copy blacklines and redlines.

Goodbye, financial printer.

Goodbye, Old Monthly Close.

I'm ready to commit to the new.

If you'd like to meet New Monthly Close, let me know. No hard feelings, OK?

About the Author
Arthy Kumar
Arthy Kumar

Industry Principal

Arthy Kumar is an Industry Principal at Workiva. She drives the go-to-market strategy, execution, and success of reporting and compliance solutions for banking, investment, and insurance companies. Arthy’s previous roles at Workiva include Director of Program Management for Investments and Subject Matter Expert. Before joining Workiva in 2012, Arthy spent 14 years at Vanguard and MetLife. Her experience includes financial planning, portfolio analysis, relationship management of large institutional clients, and people management. She is a CFP® (Certified Financial PlannerTM) professional and a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).

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