With busy workloads, reporting commitments and management duties at the top of a Financial Director’s to-do list, it’s easy to see how FDs may find it difficult to implement those transformational projects or initiatives that really impact the business and grab the attention of the board or peers.
This blog reveals the quick wins that all FDs have the power to implement tomorrow, with relative ease and little resource. Look out for the second part later this week.
1. Conduct an operational process review
Assessing the effectiveness of internal operating processes and procedures can deliver huge cost and efficiency savings. It is your opportunity to measure what you change and communicate the benefits and outcomes.
To conduct an operational process review, you need a commitment to operational excellence and an open mind regarding innovative methods to finance processing, reporting and operating.
You should be open to the use of technology to eliminate unnecessary manual processes, such as making multiple entries of the same information and repeated consolidations when trying to reconcile diverse sources of information.
Start by putting a small team together, focusing on a specific area of the finance function and set clear objectives for what you want to achieve. You will then be able to implement the mechanism to evaluate the savings you have made.
Freed from laborious, manual administration, your staff can spend time on higher value tasks such as credit control and reducing debtor days.
2. Implementing e-Invoicing and billing
Leveraging a touchless invoice service for customers and suppliers has the potential to save thousands in finance overheads by completely removing paper from the invoice process. In other words: no paper, no scanning or OCR, just straight-through machine-to-machine processing.
This functionality not only streamlines processes such as credit control, but also removes many day-to-day tasks from the FDs workload, freeing up valuable time to focus on more strategic initiatives.
Implementing an e-Invoicing system isn’t necessarily a quick win, as it can be a complex process that involves a number of people in different parts of your business, and will potentially extend to include your supplier/customer community.
However, it is accessible for the majority of businesses, and paperless systems are something every FD should be moving towards. Many businesses have already dispensed with paper invoicing, so implementation resources and best practice is in abundance.
3. Delivering business intelligence through data
The value of data is higher than ever and this has opened up a mass of opportunities for FDs.
Forward thinking Marketing Directors are now able to leverage data and deliver revenue forecasts long before operations, sales and finance. It is important that FDs work with functional teams, otherwise there is a danger of finance departments being left behind by constantly using backward-looking data.
Microsoft Excel may be the industry standard for FDs, but it has the power to constrain rather than empower its users. There are now a number of off-the-shelf tools that can take data from finance, operations, sales and marketing and give your teams the insights they need to market, sell and grow your business in a simple and visual way.
Business intelligence allows organisations to address the question: “how can we do better?”
To achieve this, start small with a limited pilot study, concentrating efforts where they are most likely to achieve results and, importantly, focusing relentlessly on the needs of the business.
Find part two of this blog here.