November 23, 2021

Closing 2021: How we're preparing for a smooth annual close


Editor's note: Like many companies, Ramp’s fiscal year ends on Dec 31, so our finance team is hard at work preparing our annual close. Over the next 5 weeks, our Finance Controller Edwine Alphonse will share our progress notes and tips on managing your own close. Check back for weekly updates or follow along on LinkedIn.

What is a “book close”?
A book close is the process of preparing all the accounting entries, reconciliations and documentation needed to close the financial reporting for a period of time. This process is done on monthly (referred to as month-end close), quarterly (for public companies), and annually for all companies. Annual closes are necessary because every company, small and large, needs to ultimately file a tax return and the tax return is based on the financial statements created through the annual close process.

Week 1: Making a checklist

Are all accountants worried about the annual book close? Generally yes! As a Controller, the annual book close is the culmination of a year of operations. It is like writing the last chapter of your financial book for the year and every element and details need to be thought through. Careful preparation is key to success.

What needs to be done? The big ticket items that keep me awake include preparing 1099s for contractors and ensuring that our 409A is updated for our stock compensation value. But there are numerous smaller tasks that when added together can overwhelm even the most prepared team. 

Our approach at Ramp

To help me remember everything, I’ve started keeping a running list of the different components of the close. Here’s what is on the list so far. Of course, I’ll be adding more to the list in the coming days and weeks. 

Accounting close

  • Bank accounts and bank reconciliations to be done
  • Investments in securities and alternative assets
  • Capital expenditures, fixed assets, intangible assets, leasehold improvements and related depreciation and amortization schedules 
  • Prepaid expenses
  • Customers receivable, allowance for doubtful accounts, etc.
  • Deferred expenses, leases, income 
  • Other receivables
  • Accounts payable reconciliation
  • Accrued expenses reconciliation
  • Revenue reconciliation
  • Review of COGS
  • Review of operating expenses
  • Equity reconciliation
  • Payroll reconciliation
  • Equity and stock compensation 

Tax compliance

  • Review of the corporate tax situation to ensure that all deductions and credits are being used appropriately.
  • W2s for all employees 
  • Form 1099s to be sent to contractors
  • 3921 - 3922 to be sent to employees or individuals that have exercised their options during the year
  • FBAR (if company has foreign bank accounts)
  • Sales tax filing (if applicable)

Next week, I’ll share more details on how we’re approaching our accounting close.

Your turn

How do you prepare for your annual close? Do you have a checklist that you prepare? What accounts or tasks give you the most headache? Tell us on LinkedIn.

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Edwine Alphonse
Financial Controller, Ramp

Born and raised in Haiti, Edwine has lived in Canada, France, Grand Cayman, and currently resides in Boston with her family. She is a CPA and has had many leadership roles at EY, PwC, and Circle. She joined Ramp in March 2021 as our first controller.

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