With all the technology solutions available today, finance team core tasks can be automated with relative ease, not only reducing inaccuracies and delays but freeing up your finance team to perform more useful and interesting work. In order to thrive in today’s competitive marketplace, businesses need to make concerted efforts to use their resources as efficiently as possible. Here are seven ways you can do in your finance office or organization.
1. Create finance-first cultures
As the best CFOs know, digital transformation brings significant benefits. One of the biggest is enabling different departments to work closer together and understand their contribution to the business.
Making this happen requires increased cross-functional working and improved communication and understanding. It’s up to you to make sure everyone in the business understands how their contributions and actions impact your bottom line – positively and negatively. Done right, you create a culture that thinks finance-first for everything.
2. Set the tone for accountability
Your organization has a specific set of standards and expectations for a reason. It’s not enough for a CFO to lead by example, you’ll need to confidently articulate the importance of accountability to all staff regularly in order to be effective.
It’s important that staff understand why staying accountable for all operational metrics is meaningful, and especially how it impacts their annual bonuses, salaries, and anything else that might personally affect them.
3. Focus on operational excellence
For staff to operate with excellence, they must know exactly what excellence means at your organization. An effective CFO will go beyond just reporting on overall metrics.
You should articulate the behaviors that are critical at each level in the company to achieve operational excellence. Consistently communicating with a team about what’s expected is the key to sustained performance.
4. Remove redundant processes
Get rid of unnecessary processes or tasks that won’t affect the output when removed. In most cases, redundancies are huge time-wasters and can slow down your team’s efforts.
Redundancies aren’t just found in your processes. They can be found in the movement of your team as well. You want to limit movements (both physical and otherwise) in your workflows and processes to get projects completed on time and within budget.
5. Upskill your staff
Ensure that your teams are proficient in every way possible. They have to keep up with both internal procedures and any accounting/finance software that your company has implemented. Therefore, conducting training to optimize your team’s performance is highly recommended.
You can provide various types of training, such as in-house seminars, external conferences, or one-on-one training. Cross-training helps enable another employee to temporarily handle financial tasks if another team member is on leave.
6. Outsourcing accounting functions
Hiring an outsourced accounting service can be more cost-effective than hiring and keeping in-house staff to handle the finance function. Outsourcing accounting and finance allows you to receive services such as accounts receivable and bookkeeping services. When you outsource, you don’t have any attributed overhead costs that hiring an employee would generate, such as PTO, health insurance, retirement, vacation, Workers’ Comp, and sick days.
In addition, outsourcing from countries like the Philippines means that you can hire an entire team and take advantage of all that expertise, rather than relying on just one internal or two internal employees. Overworked employees can increase the risk of non-compliance and unreliable financials – especially for smaller businesses starting out. Outsourcing is one way to reduce those potential risks. Supervision ensures that all accounts are correctly managed, which allows you to progress faster and more robustly.
7. Stay aware of what’s happening in the field
CFOs are expected to be aware of the challenges and obstacles that staff face on the front lines of a growing business. An effective CFO will seek out discussions with sales to make sure they know what customers are looking for and what the sales team needs to be effective.
Beyond understanding client needs, interacting with those in the field and staying abreast of sales team needs can help CFOs understand what’s necessary for sales success and avoid looking like the person who always says “no.” Knowledge of field operations allows a CFO to get a bird’s-eye view on the future needs of the business.
Where should I start?
Successful strategies for a more cost-effective and efficient finance office can drive the success of your firm. Start by reviewing where strengths and opportunities lie. Identify just one or two opportunities for streamlining and create a plan for execution. Then, set up opportunities to test the implementation to see how it is working. To get feedback from other team members, consider identifying an internal support person to help you improve processes and maybe even survey colleagues to track and record progress.
Need help? Cloudstaff is here to guide you. Contact us today, and find out how we can help you streamline your finance organization or office.