How to Make Your Finance Department More Productive By Sarah Murphy July 25, 2021 The finance department is the heart of every business. It is responsible for keeping you within budget, discovering cost-cutting opportunities, and growing your profitability. As a result, you need to ensure your department can work productively, especially in post-COVID times. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your finance department is always at its best. Contents hide Monitor Expenses in Real-Time Eliminate Manual Data Entry Facilitate Optimum Collaboration Maintain a Strategic Focus Facilitate Insight Generation Encourage Better Forecasting Final Thoughts Monitor Expenses in Real-Time Your finance department wastes countless hours every month trying to match transactions and invoices. On top of that, you can never rule out inaccuracies that come with human processes. Businesses should monitor spending in real-time to make finance department more productive. You can use automated tools to track your expenses as they are made. The process will ensure your accountants don’t waste time validating what you spent. Rather, they can rely on real-time data to make accurate forecasts and improve your bottom line. Eliminate Manual Data Entry A typical employee spends 60 hours every month doing repetitive tasks you can easily automate. That also applies to your finance processes, which involve a lot of manual work. Therefore, your department has to enter data at different places instead of focusing on saving tax. The way ahead is to embrace automation to empower your finance staff. They can stop performing manual tasks and have a tool match invoices and enter data. The time your finance department saves can then be spent to find more cost-saving opportunities. Facilitate Optimum Collaboration Many businesses had shifted to working from home during COVID-19. Most of them are continuing to do so, while others have adopted a blended approach. Therefore, the onus is on the management to ensure seamless collaboration between finance staff. You should provide all the tools to help your department brainstorm and solve problems together. The list of tools can include professional communication options like Slack or Zoom. You can also provide project management tools like Jira or Trello for everyone to stay on the same page. Additionally, conduct weekly stand-ups where everyone can share updates and feel a part of the team. Maintain a Strategic Focus Focusing on day-to-day tasks or short-term goals is not how you make the most of your finance department. Rather, they should concentrate on the bigger picture and an overarching strategy. Post-COVID, many businesses are suffering from a cash crunch. As a result, the finance department has to focus on high-level goals like improving operational efficiency. In addition, the responsibility of areas like optimizing supply chain value through cost efficiency is now finance’s forte. The leadership should stay in close contact with financial decision-makers to sail past COVID’s troubled waters. They should help finance professionals with all information and insight required to drive operations ahead. Facilitate Insight Generation The finance department works with the leadership to enable business-wide growth. Your finance department will help you unearth challenges and provide solutions to mitigate and budget for them. Therefore, you need to ensure your finance staff has accurate data and powerful insights to drive meaningful changes. Monitoring your expenses in real-time will allow you to spot patterns and trends with a thorough analysis. However, you should also use the power of analytics to generate vital insights. Your accounting software can provide vital clues to your finance professionals. You can also use standalone payment intelligence tools to get a more holistic picture of where you stand. Plus, ensure your finance staff has access to these analytics for better decision-making. Encourage Better Forecasting One of the most important tasks of the finance department is to forecast accurately. You can help your team forecast better by adopting automation where you can. Real-time monitoring will also provide solid data and visibility for improved predictions. Additionally, make forecasting a regular affair with rolling predictions for the next 12 – 15 months. With some practice, you will be able to gain full control of your finances. Final Thoughts Do everything in your power to ensure your finance staff has all the resources to work. Free them from daily repetitive tasks and help them focus on guiding financial decisions. Go for automation and conserve resources to make way for more productivity. You can also try Mesh to empower your finance department to make better decisions and drive meaningful insights. Manage Your Payments With Full Control & Visibility Get Started Sarah Murphy Sarah is a Content Manager for Mesh Payments. Before working in marketing, she completed her Master of Journalism degree at Ryerson University and worked as an arts journalist in Toronto. She was a content writer for tech companies in the retail and workforce management sectors before joining Mesh in 2022.