Emphasize communication and collaboration
Colleagues having the ability to communicate effectively with one another and who realize the benefits of collaboration are a huge advantage in every area of business.
In the finance department, enhanced communication can contribute to maximizing efficiency and reduce the risk of mistakes or oversights that could have serious repercussions for the company.
There are many different styles of communication, all of which can prove effective and deliver positive results, based on the preferences of individual employees and the scenarios in which they’re being used.
When it comes to collaboration, being able to work well with other teams can be particularly important for the finance department, seeing as its day-to-day work and responsibilities are so closely linked with every other area of the business. Software tools such as shared project management systems can prove particularly useful in supporting collaboration.
Embrace new technologies
The rapid evolution of digital technologies in the 21st century has given rise to a vast array of business solutions and software platforms that can help you drive up levels of efficiency in your finance department.
Some of the most powerful tools in the modern business environment are found in the cloud. Moving away from legacy tech infrastructure to the cloud can unlock many benefits, such as:
- Cost advantages of not having to purchase expensive
- On-site equipment
- Greater flexibility when you need to update your systems
Cloud-based tools such as project management software and document storage can have a huge impact on the efficiency of your finance team, making information sharing a lot easier and helping everyone do their jobs quicker.
Establish clear policies
Every member of the finance department should have a good understanding of their role within the team, their core responsibilities and the standards they’re expected to uphold. This is achieved through clear, consistent policies, adherence to which can make a big difference to the efficiency of a team.
Some general company policies - relating to punctuality or attire, for instance - will apply to all employees, but it can also be beneficial to have specific rules in place for finance department staff. Given the business-critical nature of their work, members of the finance team should be made aware of how important it is that they uphold the department’s policies at all times.
Just as the company expects its clients to respect financial agreements and keep to their payment terms, your suppliers and employees also expect to be paid on time. The smooth running of regular financial processes such as these depends on every team member being familiar with the department’s policies and sticking to them.
Consider the benefits of automation
There are many routine processes overseen by the finance department that could be handed over to automated systems, freeing up your employees to focus on other tasks that make better use of their skills and deliver more value for the business.
Examples of jobs that are ripe for automation include:
- Receipt of inbound documents and distribution to the relevant departments
- Data entry
- Invoice approval
- Sending late payment reminders
- Paying vendors and suppliers
As this infographic shows, robotic process automation (RPA) is already being widely used in industries such as manufacturing. The biggest perceived benefits of this field of innovation are:
- The reduction of repetitive tasks
- Lower risk of human error
- Cost savings
- Freeing up time for high-value work
There’s clearly a lot of potential in RPA to drive efficiency in various areas of business. If you can find the right way to apply these technologies, they could have a transformative impact on the finance department.
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