The role of the finance professional is changing. No longer just a role for balancing the books, the finance lead is increasingly responsible for keeping an overview of the whole business. Nicky Wilkins, head of customer engagement for bluQube, shares the 7 accounting problems he sees most frequently and how to fix them.
Don't be a bottleneck, says Nicky. If you're the lead finance professional in an organisation, it's tough to avoid as people regularly ask you to complete tasks or sign documents. Stop saying yes, delegate more and automate processes.
#2 Duplication of work
If there's lots of paper in your organisation, or data is being entered into systems more than once, it's likely you're duplicating work. Avoid this by storing data in one place, integrating systems and ditching any unnecessary reports.
#3 Only looking backwards
In finance, time is often spent looking backwards, at the last year, month or quarter. But instead you should be looking ahead, says Nicky. Work out where problems are, analyse them, find a solution and then test whether it works.
#4 Poor time management
If deadlines are being missed or you regularly run out of time, you might be suffering from poor time management. Start communicating priorities to employees, outsource simple tasks and automate processes such as invoice payments.
#5 Data insecurity
Financial data is crucial to protect, yet it's often stored in multiple locations with multiple users having access to it. Make your life easier by working in a single system, using cloud-based software to manage data back-up, recovery and security.
#6 Long-winded manual processes
These might be processes that involve lots of manual cross-checking or printing. Look at the checks you make and assess the risks attached. Then question whether a human or software is more reliable.
#7 Missing profit
Profit is often lost because people don't question what they see, says Nicky. Use reliable information and data to ask questions and challenge the status quo. And importantly, measure what you do, as what gets measured, gets done.
- Stop saying yes to everyone. Instead, learn to delegate and automate tasks.
- Automate manual processes and outsource easy tasks to others.
- Consider using a cloud-based system to store your data, as this will manage back-up, recovery and security for you.