achieving finance team transformation

3 Things Keeping Your Finance Team From Unlocking Their Potential

What’s Keeping You From Unleashing Your Business Potential? Every growing business faces obstacles on its journey toward long-term success. Getting there—and staying there—takes a willingness to use turn obstacles into opportunities to find new ways of working, better ways to manage workflows, and more effective ways to motivate employees for continued growth. Let’s take a look at what might be keeping your team from unlocking their potential.

Administrative Burdens

Manual processes and legacy systems are often to blame for the errors and bottlenecks in an otherwise functioning process—they work “just well enough” to get the job done. Unfortunately, paper-based workflows and out-of-date technology are also impeding progress. They take key resources like time and human energy away from more strategic initiatives and the company can pay significant opportunity costs.

Consider these examples:

  • When invoices get stuck (or even lost) in a manual approval pipeline, companies miss out on early payment discounts and vendors or customers get frustrated
  • When an employee has to enter the same information into disparate spreadsheets and accounting systems, there’s inherent risk for human error
  • When an employee performs manual transaction matching and reconciliations, especially if they’re uncovering and repairing errors, they are using time that could have been used on business-building activities like data analysis and strategic reporting

Plus, all of the paper has to be managed: stacked, filed, stored, scanned, mailed, etc. And the patches and workarounds that accompany legacy technology systems: those have to be carefully navigated. Data access, data sharing, and data security are three additional factors in the efficiency equation—and they all impact the finance department’s productivity and ability to deliver bottom-line results.

Read more in What Does it Mean to Have Anytime, Anywhere Accounting Access?

Automation is clearly the solution to streamlining operations, serving suppliers and customers better, achieving greater data accuracy and usability, and, ultimately, realizing a stronger competitive position. But automating your department’s processes—transitioning away from paper and implementing new technologies, like cloud-based solutions—isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. It’s a process requiring change management, and usually, a cultural shift.

Cultural Resistance to Change

There’s a reason that innovation is a hallmark of start-up companies and early-stage businesses with freshly educated employees: they foster a corporate culture that depends on the latest technology (and lots of outside-of-the-box thinking) to get lots of work done—quickly. On the other hand, there’s proven value in adhering to the more traditional values demonstrated by established companies or other businesses that simply take a more conservative approach in the workplace.

Most business fall somewhere in between—and leaders are exploring ways to get their workforce cultures better aligned with the company’s mission so that individual contributions can be tied to both organizational success and personal satisfaction. Today, technology enablement is an increasingly important success factor, so forward-looking companies (especially if they’re not tech sector startups) are encouraging everyone from the C-Suite and down the ranks to embrace new technologies and understand the benefits they provide.

This day and age, most people are experiencing the benefits of technology in their personal lives—and they usually have no choice but accept change in the workplace. But that doesn’t mean everyone at a company automatically buys-in to the concept of adopting automation technology. The problem comes in when a company’s leadership or general workforce is averse to change; when fears of losing control of budgets or job security set in upon the suggestion of “embracing technology” and they begin permeate the company culture.

And this can—and does—slow progress. In fact, “cultural resistance to change” is the main reason cited by participants in Harvard Business Review Analytic Services’ The Digital Dividend: First-Mover Advantage study for not adopting new technologies. What’s more, any of the executives interviewed for the study described the need for constant innovation and a culture of change in order to stay one step ahead.

The Skills Gap

The need for tech-savvy financial professionals is trending. The Monster.com article, Staffing Trends in 2016: Finance, Tech, Healthcare and Seasonal, states that “the folks who do the nuts-and-bolts work in finance and accounting” are in high demand, cautioning that people with big data and data analytics skills are the hardest to come by. Those with the technology-rich skill sets, however, are needed drive their teams’ strategic momentum.

But let’s say your company is ready and willing to embrace new technologies—you’re eager to automate and start seeing enhanced business results—but your internal financial and accounting team lacks the capabilities to jump right in. Sure, they have the specialized skills and knowledge to perform their jobs, but they’re not necessarily comfortable with digital workflows that leverage the most up-to-date software.

Explore Why Cloud and Finance Go Together.

That doesn’t mean you have to press “pause” on your technology adoption plans. You can train your team or hire new employees, or some combination of the two. Or, you can partner with a firm offering the resources and solutions to get your team up-to-speed quickly while supporting your company through the implementation of new technologies and processes and building new internal competencies.

Struggling to reach your potential?

Use of an outsourcing partner will help you streamline business processes, highlight errors, and free up the company for growth—so you can unlock your value and continue moving forward, with nothing standing in your way. rinehimerbaker has helped organizations to enjoy a business experience that features less stress, more time, better accounting, and greater results. Learn more about our services for businesses, nonprofits, and institutions, and get in contact with us to learn more.

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