The finance team provides a core service to businesses however getting bogged down in manual processes around planning, budgeting, monitoring and reporting can make it hard for your team to add value. Continuing to use manual processes will also cost your business significantly in the long run. In an economic climate characterised by uncertainty, it’s important to find ways to cut these costs, streamline financial management tasks and let your finance team continue to be productive and valuable. There are three primary ways that organisations can maintain the integrity of their finance function and boost finance resourcing efficiencies while saving time, costs and resources:
1) Invest in machine learning
Machine learning (ML) solutions and the benefits they provide organisations continue to improve as technologies advance and we find more uses and applications for them, particularly in business. By investing in ML technology solutions that support better business monitoring, reporting and analytics, you can elevate the finance team, shifting from a focus on manual processes to developing strategic finance initiatives that contribute to business growth and sustainability.
Integrating ML solutions into your processes can provide additional support to the finance team. Depending on the solution, this can help to automate processes, particularly time-intensive, repetitive tasks that involve manual updates and a high risk of human error. By reducing the time spent on these tasks, finance teams can invest more time in other, higher priority activities to help drive business strategy and agility.
2) Transition to cloud-based technologies
In addition to ML solutions, organisations should invest in cloud-based business planning and forecasting tools to drive budget development. Cloud-based solutions, particularly those that offer offline capabilities, can be accessed from anywhere and at any time, empowering your finance team to conduct business whenever and wherever they need to.
Facilitating increased access to tools and solutions for the finance team can potentially reduce weeks of manual budgeting work down to days or hours. By investing in solutions that also incorporate collaborative tools and platforms, your finance workforce can collaborate simultaneously, increasing productivity and efficiencies.
3) Engage all business stakeholders in budget planning
By using collaborative online tools that automatically centralise data and analytics, you can engage all business stakeholders, not just the finance team, in budget planning. This can save your finance team extensive time in tracking down metrics from numerous areas of the business and then consolidating large amounts of disparate data.
By facilitating access to all departments’ budget planning tools, business leaders can regularly collect all relevant information from all necessary teams and provide it to the finance team as needed. This guarantees that the finance team can adjust budgets as required without needing to chase additional information.
Investing in technology solutions that save finance teams time and money can help businesses maintain the integrity of their finance function and boost finance resourcing efficiencies. However, it’s also important that business leaders assess opportunities to optimise their workforce practices to ensure that their finance teams have the right human support as well.
We’ve identified four ways you can improve the flexibility of your finance team and develop more effective processes for business planning in our latest tip sheet. For more information, download your copy or contact the GK Horizons team for a consultation.