Accounts Closedown: Arun District Council


Transforming closedown

ArunArun District Council’s annual accounts closedown process had room for improvement according to Alan Smith, Group Accountant, Finance at the local authority. "First, with a spreadsheet-based system, only one user at a time could get access. Second, there was mixed presentation of the financial statements. Different areas of accounts were each using different tables, for example, which made them harder to interpret and understand. And of course we needed to close faster to meet the new end-May deadline."

Easy to use and professional

So when Alan saw a demonstration of the CIPFA Closedown solution (colloquially known as the ‘big red button’) at CIPFA’s annual conference, he was impressed with its potential: "I liked the look of it: it seemed easy to use and professional". Initially, CIPFA helped Alan to begin mapping their accounts into the accounts closedown solution using Arun’s current codes, a process he admits was time-consuming at first.

Mapping across

However once this process began, it was possible to demonstrate the solution to other accountants in the local authority before targeting a start date of April 2018 for switching over to it. Throughout 2017, the team concentrated on getting a trial balance so that once everything was imported they could start using the new solution for the financial closedown. By April 2018, Alan’s team had mapped everything into the new system: all main statements including capital, property and plant utilisation.

Earlier closedown

The team achieved their financial close by 23 April, one month earlier than the previous year. Because of this earlier closedown, Alan notes that the team were able to spot any issues faster: "It gives us more time to review and see whether anything’s not looking right."

CIPFA Closedown solution:

  • achieved financial close one month earlier than year before
  • allowed time to review accounts
  • saved time and freed up staff to gather evidence for auditors
  • flagged up errors and anomalies earlier allowing for ‘self-auditing’
  • Arun District Council anticipate even faster closedown in 2019
  • CIPFA Closedown solution ensures less effort and more insight.

Added value

For Alan and the accounts team, as well as transforming the way it managed the accounts closedown process, the CIPFA solution also adds value: "It saves time and frees up staff to gather evidence for our external auditors. It also introduces an element of ‘self-auditing’: because all the figures feed through automatically, it flags up errors and anomalies early."

Discover more

To discuss how CIPFA can help you with closing your accounts – from software solutions to advice, from people to consultancy – contact our Closedown team:

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