The pandemic has witnessed how Finance teams globally have emerged into strategic leaders saving the day. Whether finding new ways to manage remote operations and finances or identifying cost-cutting/saving mechanisms; Finance teams have been at the center of it all.
This brings us to the question of whether business owners and leadership teams have done their bit to enable Finance folks to continue with the good work.
No matter the answer to the above question, there are always more ways a business can and must employ to place their employees on the path to success. So, we’ve crafted this article to help business owners with five fail-proof ways to empower Finance teams and other employees in the bargain. So, let’s dive in!
What are the challenges faced by Finance teams during remote work?
The Finance department is one of the only functions dependent on all other departments to accomplish tasks. This means a typical workday for them would mean constant back and forths with employees, long email threads or calls with vendors, and a fundamental requirement of 1x1s to get work done.
While handling these tasks in a traditional office setup was pretty straightforward, remote work has brought up challenges that business owners need to evaluate to simplify the process for their teams.
To start with, here are the most common challenges Finance teams face with remote work:
- Core financial operations like AP & AR, invoicing, payroll, and expense management break with distributed teams.
- Employees complain about delayed reimbursements and financial processes like expense reporting become time-consuming.
- Finance teams lack essential visibility and control into insight around organization-wide spend patterns and trends.
- Some employees may exploit financial leaks by committing expense fraud, thereby further lengthening the process.
- Employers have no way to gain control over cash flow and other processes to know the current state of their company financials.
How to empower your remote Finance teams?
- Support employees as they adapt to remote work
Employees had to transition quickly from a fully equipped office to a cozy, unequipped home office. This had to disrupt the overall performance and productivity of employees.
Thus, it is quite unfair to expect them to give their best, given no help or resources to navigate such circumstances. Hence business owners must look into what they can do to help their employees cope with the change.
An easy start would be to provide a small sum of money to help set up a home office. This could be the essentials like a desk, a chair, or even power and internet backup. A step like this would help your employees bridge the gap remote work, and distributed teams have brought to the table.
- Understand what your Finance teams need
It is crucial for business owners and leadership teams to know what a regular day looks like for their Finance teams. A quick way of doing this is by going through all the tasks, subtasks, and workflows that grapple a typical day for them. Then, once you have insight into its nuances, look for process improvements that can benefit your business.
Take, for instance, the process of expense management that is dreaded by Finance teams and employees alike. In an office setup, Finance teams had the opportunity to move back and forth between departments to get the job done. But with teams going remote, this would be one major process that needs fixing.
An easy solution for this problem will be if businesses switch to an automated expense management software. This would simplify, automate, and streamline all aspects of expense management and free up time for Finance teams to get more work done. Similarly, business owners need to find permanent fixes for the problems that they find. This is the only way they can assure their business holds through.
- Improve Financial productivity
Begin looking at Financial processes – cash flow management, budgeting, expense management, AP & AR. These critical processes deal with vast amounts of money and need to lack loopholes to prevent financial leaks.
Once you have a list of essential financial processes, look at automation technologies that can help boost financial productivity. Other than reducing the workload on Finance teams, it also provides an additional layer of accuracy to all Financial processes.
- Make use of remote collaboration software
Every department in your organization – Finance, Marketing, Customer Support, Design, or Engineering- will benefit from the right set of collaboration tools. Productivity is no longer a location-dependent entity, and the right tool will ensure that the transition is successful and lasts for years to come.
Listed below are some of the tools that employees can use to enhance remote collaborations.
- Notion – for all your documentation needs.
- Slack – for communication across the company.
- Trello – for dividing tasks across projects and team members.
- Google Drive – for secure cloud storage of all your files.
- Fyle – for efficient expense management automation.
- Zoom – for seamless video calls.
- Encourage employees to switch to automation-driven technology
While traditional methods did manage to work in the office setup, a distributed workforce seems to crumble under the same. Thus business owners need to help their employees understand that these software are not there to get their jobs. Instead, they are made to help employees get more done.
A simple shift in mindset will help reduce manual processes like verifications and approvals and add a layer of accuracy and accountability. In addition, most of these software come with advanced data analytics that help with real-time insight and breakdown into any numbers they’d like to analyze. This makes the job easy for Finance teams and truly enables them to go out and pave the path towards the new normal.
As a business owner, ensure that Finance teams are empowered enough to adopt a transformational mindset to help your company sustain and thrive during this crisis. This is the only way you’d know that you’ve done your bit to help your teams carry out operations, as usual.