In accounting the monthly close is the processing of transactions, journal entries and financial statements at the end of each month. Under the accrual method of accounting, it is imperative that the financial statements reflect only the transactions and journal entries having relevance to the current month's revenues and expenses, and end-of-the-month assets and liabilities. Expressed another way, the monthly close must achieve a proper cutoff of each month's financial activities.
To ensure that the monthly financial statements are accurate and timely, companies will use standard journal entries, recurring journal entries, and checklists for the tasks that must be completed.
If a company has inventories, its monthly close will be more challenging as it will have to be certain that the costs are recorded in the same month as the goods are added to the inventories. In short, the accrual of expenses becomes immensely important when goods are received and are sold.
Another important step in the monthly close is to compare the amounts and percentages on the current financial statements to those of earlier months. For example, if the current income statement shows the cost of goods sold as 88% instead of the typical 81%, the current month's amounts need to be reviewed before releasing the financial statements. Often the comparison of the balance sheet amounts to those of earlier months will provide insight as to unusual amounts shown on the income statement.