The pandemic has witnessed Finance teams becoming pivotal strategic leaders that businesses have turned to during these testing times. Whether making cost-cutting and cost-saving decisions or effectively managing the evolving nature of business expenses, Finance teams have been vital to helping businesses sustain.
Thus it is the need of the hour that all business owners look into empowering their Finance teams to continue the excellent work. But where do they start? This blog entails a quick head-start for business owners looking to empower their Finance teams to brace themselves for the changes that come with remote work.
Challenges Finance Teams Face with Remote Work
Finance as a function is dependent on all departments to get work done. Be it expense management, payroll, or even just basic processing of operational costs; Finance teams play a vital role in ensuring smooth business functioning. This is because Finance teams work as mediators for all things money across departments.
While your Finance teams were equipped to handle these situations in the traditional setup, business owners must evaluate if remote work has changed anything for them. Here are some key indicators to start with:
- Crucial processes like expense management, AP & AR, payroll, and more appear broken
- Employees complain about late reimbursements or lengthy and time-consuming processes
- Finance teams lack visibility into the spending habits of the organization
- Finance teams lack control and are unable to arrive at data-driven business decisions
- Business owners lack insight into business cash flow and other high-level metrics
What business owners must understand is that efficient teams and processes translate into efficient cash flow and revenue. Thus it is crucial to prepare your teams to face the challenges that lie ahead.
Steps to Empower Remote Finance Teams:
- Encourage employees adapt to remote work
Your employees may be good at what they do, but these are new times, and they require your guidance and support. For example, some of your employees may not have an office setup. In such instances, it would be unfair to assume the employee can still give it their best.
Hence, business owners need to empathetically evaluate what best they can do to enable employees from their end. This could mean providing a small amount for an office setup. This could also mean relooking processes to evolve with the changing times.
Happy teams = productive teams. Thus, it is safe to assume that this is a good starting point in enabling your Finance teams and employees as a whole.
- Understand the needs of your Finance teams
Start with mapping the daily life of your Finance teams – look into the overarching processes, workflows, tasks, and even subtasks. Then, understand if their routine can sustain even during remote work. For instance, take expense reporting and expense management. Initially, both your Finance teams and employees had the liberty of back and forths to get things done. Now, with remote work, this is a process that needs fixing.
Similarly, conduct deep-dive sessions with your Finance teams and understand where they would need your attention and help. Once done, you can rest assured that your business and Finance teams are geared to keep the business afloat, remote work or not.
- Help in improving Finance productivity
Helping your Finance teams would mean helping your cash reserves. Your Finance teams play a crucial role in ensuring the financial bottom line of your business is safe. Thus business owners need to pay heed to this.
Start with looking into your current financial processes – cash management and budgeting, expense management and business expenses, and AP & AR. These processes deal with large sums of money and need to be seal-proof to ensure no financial leaks exist or persist.
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Once you have a list, consider automation-driven technology to boost employee and financial productivity. It reduces the workload from Finance teams and adds a layer of certainty and accuracy to all financial processes. All this and more at a minimal cost to your business.
- Adopting remote collaboration tools
Be it Customer Support, Finance, Engineering, or even Marketing; every business function will benefit from using the right collaboration tools. Productivity is no longer location-dependent, and these tools make the transition successful and sustainable for the long run.
Here are some tools that you can use to collaborate seamlessly, improve communication, and scale your team productivity:
- Trello – to manage your team projects and tasks.
- Notion – to document anything and everything.
- Slack – to encourage company-wide communication.
- Google Drive – for centralized, secure cloud storage.
- Zoom – for free and effortless video conferencing.
- Fyle – for seamless expense management processes.
- Digitize processes
While some dependence on manual processes and methods seemed to work at an office, the same isn’t the case with remote work. Moreover, with an increase in errors, rectification costs also go up. Thus, businesses can only combat these challenges by leveraging technology and automation to eliminate mundane, error-prone, and time-consuming tasks.
Additionally, automation software genuinely lends a helping hand to both your business and employees. It not only makes things easy for your employees but also accurate and apt for your business. This is a win-win situation all companies need to look into to thrive irrespective of current conditions.
For instance, inaccurate and non-compliant expense reports can pose serious risks and challenges if discovered at a later stage or during audits. In such cases, an expense software can improve productivity and reduce the risk of human errors and non-compliance, thus saving time and money for the company.
List of Financial Processes that can Benefit from Automation:
- Businesses must consider automating accounts payable and receivable processes. This ensures smooth cash flow and invoice processes (generation, reporting, approval, and payment) from a single platform.
- Automate expense management with an expense report software and bring more accountability to the process while also improving employee compliance with expense policies and help curb fraud.
- Automated payroll can save Finance teams huge amounts of time by helping them calculate all forms of employee payment; salary, benefits, hourly wages, overtime or double-time charges, deductions, and commissions in seconds!
Finance teams and managers need to be with a transformational mindset if they’re going to help the company stay afloat during this crisis. The short-term needs would be to ensure financial sustainability, which would be essential in assisting organizations in thriving in the current normal.
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