What 3 priorities should CFOs focus on in the post-pandemic era?
Finance directors have had to make many tough decisions since the pandemic hit. They’ve had to steer their organisations and lead their teams through multiple commercial, digital, and cultural challenges. Now many are looking at how to navigate the new normal.
Focus on these three priorities to help build resilience into your finance function.
1. Which accounting functions can you automate and streamline?
We estimate up to 90% of core accounting tasks are ripe for automation. Repetitive manual data entry, expenses approvals and manipulating data in multiple Excel reports are just a few examples of finance functions that you can easily digitise. This will speed up processes, minimise paperwork and improve accuracy.
Having separate IT systems across different departments is a major drain on efficiency. It also increases your risk of basing critical business decisions on old or incomplete data.
Imagine the difference it could make to your business if your key IT systems were integrated, rather than working in isolation. Cloud-based accounting software is easy to integrate with numerous other functions, including CRM, electronic banking systems and data entry software.
Do your colleagues spend too long recording and submitting their expenses? Does the expenditure approval process cause unnecessary overspends or delays in invoice and payment processing?
With efficient expense management, you can digitise the entire process. Colleagues simply submit receipts electronically for their line manager’s attention and tag them to the relevant project or department. This enables you to easily allocate costs across multiple projects.
Manage multiple entities efficiently
Does your company have international branches or is it a group with multiple subsidiaries? If so, you’ll know the value of consolidating your accounts accurately and efficiently. With the right software, you can easily consolidate transactions between different divisions – even in multiple currencies.
If your accounting systems can no longer cope with your business structure, it’s probably time to update your accounting package. Smart cloud accounting software can now handle complex financial tasks, such as multi-entity consolidation, with ease and without the need for manual workarounds.
2. Can you get the financial data and reports you need quickly and easily?
Accurate, up-to-the-minute financial reporting and analysis is vital. You need to be able to generate reports that drill down to the finer details, at short notice, whenever required.
- Can you produce meaningful management report packs at speed?
- Is it easy to consolidate group results from multiple entities?
- Can you provide the insight, analysis, and strategic advice your CEO and board need?
Reform your financial reporting
If you answered ‘No’ to any of those questions, you probably need new financial software to help you reform the reporting process and give you the positive answers you need. Now, more than ever, it’s important to base your business decisions on robust and reliable data.
Review your contingency plans
If fire, flood, cyber attack, or some other disaster strikes, will your company still function? Will your team be able to continue working seamlessly and efficiently to support your customers? Do your systems have proper backup and disaster recovery capabilities?
Such scenarios may seem unlikely - but two years ago so did a pandemic. If we’ve learned anything from leading a business through Covid-19, it’s the importance of scenario planning and solid contingency plans. These should enable your business to survive any such event and recover fast.
Brexit disruption to supply chains and EU/UK trade is still an issue for many businesses. New UK border controls on imports from the EU are likely to further complicate matters for many companies (see the latest analysis from the British Chambers of Commerce). CFOs may need to update their company contingency plans to reflect these new trading conditions and potential ongoing issues.
3. How can you make hybrid working a success?
Enable remote working
A combination of Brexit and Covid-19 disruption is leading to a shortage of skills and experience in many areas of the economy, including the finance function. In addition, after a year of being told to ‘work from home if possible’ many finance professionals have realised that a more flexible approach to work is not only possible, but also productive. In the ‘New Normal’, attracting and retaining talented people means offering flexible, hybrid working.
Digitise your documents and enable remote access
Do your teams have the digital infrastructure they need to work seamlessly from home, central HQ, local hub or co-working space? Are all your essential documents easily stored and accessed online? Would teams across your business benefit from safe and secure anytime/anywhere access to systems and financial data?
By eliminating paper-based processes you can enable all your teams to ‘work from anywhere’ effectively.
Discover how accounting automation can help empower your finance teams.
Download our Demystifying Finance Automation report to find out more about ensuring your business is efficient, agile and resilient.
Register for our free Implementing a New Finance System Live Webinar on Thursday, 16 September. We’ll be sharing our experience of helping thousands of customers transition from older technology and legacy systems to modern, cloud accounting software.