In my years as a CPA and consultant I’ve worked with many small businesses that have asked for input on what they need to be doing to get more reliable financial data. Usually, it’s business owners looking for ways to be able to make important decisions faster, but lately it’s often companies new to government contracting that are trying to figure out what they need to be doing to keep clear of problems with DCAA. In either scenario, one of my first suggestions is a formal monthly close process. When I say “formal”, that doesn’t mean that it has to be cumbersome and complicated. If the business financials are relatively simple, then that close process can also be fairly simple and still be effective. But it needs to be structured, with a specific checklist in place as to the procedures that are to be performed, the order in which they are to be done, who is responsible for each task, and target deadlines for each. That recommendation then raises the next question – what do you mean by “close”?