One thing that all businesses are looking to achieve is high levels of efficiency. It does not matter what sort of company you run, you need to make sure that you’re working smarter, not harder, as the saying goes!
One area whereby efficiency is key is your finance department. If you think about it, your finance department is the heartbeat of your entire business. If you do not have the cash flow you need, you won’t be able to run your business efficiently.
So, how can you achieve that when it comes to your business’ finance department? Read on to discover some ideas and suggestions.
1. Invest in training
There is only one place to begin when it comes to making your finance department more efficient, and this is by investing in training. Just like any other business department, your accounting and finance team have a lot to benefit from by pursuing an effective and focused training program that goes right to the heart of the efficiency question.
Not only will this ensure that employees are introduced to new techniques and working methods that will have an impact on their daily productivity levels, but there are a number of other valuable benefits you can expect as well. This includes the following:
- Team bonding
- More effective communication
- Stronger morale
- Improved job satisfaction
You want to have the confidence that your investment in training is going to bring about productivity results. Therefore, it is important that you are careful in your approach to training.
You need to listen to your staff members, taking their feedback on how you can improve training schemes. You also need to make sure that the modules are up-to-date and relevant to the work being carried out in your finance department.
2. Implement anti-money laundering transaction monitoring
Another approach that you can use to boost the efficiency of your business finance department is investing in transaction monitoring in money laundering. This is a monitoring process that is designed to make sure businesses and individuals do not launder money.
If you monitor transactions over a specific amount using a solution like SEON, this will help to raise any red flags because you help to launder money accidentally.
Transaction monitoring is a critical element when it comes to the anti-money laundering process. Government bodies will set the thresholds whereby a transaction needs to be checked for anti-money laundering, yet you can also choose to implement your own monitoring so that you can run this area of your business as efficiently as possible.
The last thing you want is for your company’s finances to be stalled because you’ve been accused of laundering money. You need to make sure you keep on top of this side of your business.
3. Leverage the benefits of automation
There are a lot of routine processes that the financial department oversees that could be handed over to automated systems, meaning your employees are freed up so that they can concentrate on other tasks that will make better use of their skills and deliver more value to their business.
Some of the different jobs that are perfectly suited to automation are as follows:
- Paying suppliers and vendors
- Sending out late payment reminders
- Invoice approval
- Data entry
- Receipt of inbound documents and distribution to relevant departments
In recent times, one of the most popular trends we are seeing is robotic process automaton (RPA), is already being used widely in sectors like manufacturing. We will see this move into other areas of business as well.
Some of the greatest perceived benefits of this field of innovation include freeing up time for high-value work, cost savings, lowering the risk of human error, and reducing repetitive tasks.
There is clearly plenty of potential in RP when it comes to driving efficiency in different parts of your business. If you can find the correct way of applying these technologies to your financial department, they could have a transformative impact on your finance department in the future.
4. Put clear policies in place
Every member in your financial department needs to have a clear understanding of th erole they play within your team, the standards they need to uphold, and their core responsibilities. This is achieved via consistent and clear policies, which will bring greater effiency to the team when everyone adheres to them.
Some general business policies, for instance, attire or punctuality, are going to be applicable to all employees, yet it can also be advantageous to have certain rules in place just for the staff members in your finance department.
When you consider the business-critical nature of their work, members of the finance department need to be made aware of how vital it is that they uphold the policies of their department at all times.
Just as the business expects its customers to respect the financial agreements that are in place and adhere to the payment terms, employees and suppliers also expect to be paid on time.
Running your business in a smooth manner with regular financial processes such as these will depend on every team member being familiar with the policies of the department and sticking with them.
5. Make the most of technology
There is no denying that technology has completely transformed the way that we run our businesses, and there are a whole host of tools that you can use to boost the efficiency of your finance department.
Moving away from legacy tech infrastructure and embracing the cloud can provide you with a number of different advantages, including the following:
- Improved flexibility when you need to update your systems
- On-site equipment
- Cost benefits of not needing to purchase expensive infrastructure
Cloud-based software, such as document storage tools and project management systems, can have a massive impact on how efficient your finance team is, helping everyone to do their jobs quicker and making it a lot easier for you to share information.
So, which tools are the best for finance departments? Here are some of the options to consider:
- Xero – There is only one place to begin, and this is with Xero, which is a lightweight solution that has been designed for SMEs. This accounting tool enables you to reconcile credit card statements and bank statements, as well as create professional recurring invoices. It also helps companies with sales orders and purchase orders, as well as inventory management, payroll management, and contact management.
- QuickBooks – QuickBooks is a comprehensive financial management tool that has been designed with small and medium-sized companies in mind. It can assist you with advanced reporting, payroll, tracking expenses, invoices, and bank reconciliation. There are both on-premise and cloud solutions. While it is a little bit more complex, it can be incredibly beneficial and efficient if you deal with high volumes of financial data.
- Kissflow Finance & Ops Cloud – While Kissflow is not exactly a finance management tool, it is designed to assist you in terms of developing a system of approval workflows for monetary processes. There are pre-built apps for expense reimbursements, invoices, purchase orders, and such like, or you can even build your own apps, depending on your requirements. You can do all of this without any coding being needed. With fairly automated processes and standardized approval flows, you can automate your financial processes with sheer ease.
- Zoho Finance Plus – The finance suite provided by Zoho breaks down departmental silos and provides an end-to-end integration platform for all of your back-office operations, such as tax compliance, expense management, inventory, invoicing, and accounting. The suite provides a secure, scalable, and flexible application so you can manage your complete finance process.
6. Streamline your employee expense management processes
Tracking your employee expenses is an old-fashioned approach. While it may have been effective in the past, it is not going to be good enough today.
The good news is that there are modern expense management solutions that make it easy for you to bring everything you need into one easy-to-use package. This means you can make fast approval decisions, using accessible tools and data, as well as using real-time expense reports.
When you consider how important it is for businesses to manage expenses in a quick and efficient manner, it is not hard to see why these solutions have become a must-have.
Start upgrading the efficiency of your finance department today
So there you have it: some of the different ways that you can improve the finance department of your business. From implementing anti-money laundering transaction monitoring to investing in training, there are a number of different steps that you can take to make sure you are running your business as efficiently as possible.