4 Ways to Efficiently Run Your Finance Department

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While all business operations took a hit during the pandemic, Finance teams were the worst hit due to the increased physical distance and lack of communication between employees. 

Still, despite the added hardships, most Finance teams have evolved to keep their companies afloat. But, unfortunately, this essentially meant a lot of added responsibilities.

As a business leader, you might be asking yourself the question:

How do I efficiently manage my Finance team to ensure they achieve office-level productivity during remote work?

We’ve drafted the following article to answer this question, which will elaborate on the various financial process improvements you can pursue and how automation will enable you in the process. 

Let’s dive in!

What are financial process improvements?

Any improvement made to an established financial process, task, or workflow is called a financial process improvement. 

Some of the most common process improvements are:

  • Using technology to automate repetitive tasks that have low business impact.
  • Eliminating human intervention to improve data accuracy.
  • Aligning financial goals to match business needs.
  • Identifying and optimizing broken workflows to enable similar productivity levels during remote work.

What are the different financial processes which benefit from automation?

  • Accounts Payable and Receivable

  • Finance teams can take care of complete invoice management from a single tool.
  • Teams can set up automated reminders for recurring payments rather than having to remind vendors through emails manually.
  • Teams can easily store and retrieve receipts using secure cloud storage, which always keeps you audit-ready.
  • Expense Management

  • An expense management software lets Finance teams collaborate seamlessly with employees regardless of the distance in between. It exponentially reduces the number of back and forths between Finance teams and employees to process expense reports.
  • An expense software comes with a robust policy engine capable of understanding custom business rules as per your needs. Additionally, this ensures that all submitted reports are compliant with company policies.
  • Having complete control over your expense management process can ensure that no fraudulent expenses get by; thus, helping to nullify expense fraud within your business.
  • Payroll Processing

  • Have automation set up for calculating recurring payments like salaries, benefits, commissions, raises, benefits, and more.
  • Employees are added to the payroll instantly, with subsequent approvers receiving notifications at the same time.
  • Enables your Finance teams to make payroll a one-click process.

How can automation improve your Finance Department’s Efficiency?

“Automation can save 70% time in the day of an average Finance employee” Gartner Report.

A misconception among employees which makes them resist automation is that automation is after their jobs. Business leaders need to ensure their employees understand that automation isn’t after their jobs but to enable them to do their jobs better.

To help you realize how automation achieves this, we’ve listed out the four different ways in which automation can enable not just your Finance team but your overall business:

  • Allows leaders to make financially backed decisions

The data from various sources like expense management and cash flow/income statements can enable leaders to analyze and understand the company’s financial status at all times.

Additionally, this would also highlight various risks that may or may not threaten the company’s financial health in the future. Businesses can develop mitigation strategies beforehand to ensure that company financials are always safe.

  • Improves data accuracy by eliminating human intervention 

While you might ignore simple accounting errors (if a $14 is reported as a $41), keep in mind that if numerous employees are repeating such mistakes over multiple reports, it can end up costing your business huge sums of money. Moreover, it could lead to complete wreckage of your company’s financial health if left unchecked in the long run.

An automation tool like expense report software can help you resolve this issue by automatically extracting expense data from receipts using OCR (Optical Character Recognition.) Additionally, it auto-fills all relevant fields in an expense report, giving you an added layer of accuracy with no additional effort.

  • Eliminate expense fraud by automating compliance 

If your company still follows a traditional spreadsheet-based model for expense reporting, take a second to ask yourself the question: 

How difficult is it to modify a spreadsheet?

Precisely, any kid with access to an open spreadsheet on a laptop could modify it.

An automation tool like an expense management software helps prevent expense fraud by automating pre-submission checks. Additionally, it flags all expenses that aren’t compliant with company policy to notify all stakeholders and approvers in the process of a fraudulent expense.

  • Save additional time and money

“Organizations that have switched to automation-driven software report saving over 25,000 hours and $878,000 every year.”Gartner Report

Automation turns week-long processes into one-click-wonders. It’s safe to say that when processes like data entry, payments, and expense reporting are automated, Finance teams end up with enough free time to dedicate to other tasks with high business impact.

Conclusion

Staying on top of business expenses for Finance teams would mean knowing all the changes in laws and regulations while having advanced insights into organizational-wide financial data. Automation bridges this gap between vast amounts of data and brings it forth in understandable and meaningful terms.

Keep in mind that while automation can be achieved through multiple softwares, always test run a few choices before pinpointing one that exactly matches the needs of your Finance team. 

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