Productivity in Finance - More than balancing the books
Blog //24-06-2021

Productivity in Finance - More than balancing the books

by Andrew Hicks, Chief Financial Officer

Over the course of the pandemic, the finance function was dealt a challenging hand as the role of the Finance Director evolved overnight from a bean-counter to a remit more like a COO. Being agile and delivering real-time insight while remaining productive has been a key priority for financial professionals throughout the pandemic.

However, overcoming the distractions of new working environments and monthly reporting becoming daily updates has not been easy. With businesses looking to finance teams for guidance on the next steps to take, CFOs looking to workplace productivity were quickly rescued through the implementation of Cloud accounting software.

The pandemic has rapidly accelerated our digital-first way of life. Our reliance on technology will remain on an accelerated trajectory. CFOs and Finance Directors must use all the tools at their disposal to automate manual processes, efficiently gather data, identify key insights, and use these findings for strategic business making,

What is productivity?

Productivity is essentially the time spent putting effort and materials into a job in order to achieve certain results.

Productivity and employee motivation go hand in hand as one of the most important factors in a business' ability to thrive and generate profits. Therefore, the measurement of productivity needs to be a visible business issue, and every employee within the organisation needs to understand how it is done. This is the essence of improving workplace productivity.

How can workplace productivity be impacted?

Stress is a productivity killer for finance teams. Focus from tasks can be easily diminished by stress, which in turn reduces productivity. It’s important for CFOs and Finance Directors to check in with their finance team on a regular basis to understand and address the factors that cause a dip in productivity as a prevention measure to work stress.

Here are some of the factors that contribute to decreased productivity:
  • Distractions caused by emails, phone calls, or colleagues
  • Multitasking several tasks at once
  • Working overtime to try and get ahead of workload
  • Attendance at unnecessarily long meetings
  • Workflows that are unstructured and inefficient
  • The lack of automation for routine tasks
  • Technology that is outdated and slow
  • Overburdened with too much work and unable to delegate
  • Insufficient breaks or no time off

The list above is exhaustive and features work stressors that we can all relate to. However, the good news is that even small improvements in work process flows can have a significant impact on workplace productivity.

We have examined the causes of low productivity. Now let's look at some of the ways that CFOs and Finance Directors can increase productivity and make finance more than just balancing the books.

Why is workplace productivity important to CFOs?

Research shows that productive people feel less stressed, achieve better results, are more successful at work and have a better work-life balance. Therefore, employees in your finance team who are happy will be more likely to stay in their jobs than to seek new opportunities.

For CFOs and Finance Directors to lead a successful finance function in the future, they must act now and take the time to understand what works and what doesn't help their finance teams' productivity.

Businesses need to recognise that finance teams do more than just balance the books and populate spreadsheets. We can only achieve this by providing them with the Cloud accounting software tools they need, when they need them.

Why the Cloud is the first step to improving productive in finance

Finance and accounting software in the Cloud automates manual, repetitive processes within your workflow. Automating workflows allows you and your finance team to focus on tasks that add value to your organization, rather than on tedious tasks like spreadsheet calculation and maintenance. As a result, workloads are reduced, and time is saved. As an example, your team can access the same software platform to review the work that has been done and become familiar with the processes.

Another benefit of cloud accounting software that helps increase workplace efficiency is multi-user access. Members of your team can work on different tasks or areas within the same program from any location with an Internet connection. This data can be collected without interfering with one another or causing delays or errors as previously seen with an Excel spreadsheet. As well as providing agility and flexibility, Cloud accounting software streamlines workflows by conceptualising how the work is accomplished.

Your data will be positively impacted by switching from a non-cloud-based financial software to a cloud-based one. It creates a more structured, accurate set of data and as a result, increases workplace productivity and workflow flexibility and agility.

When you migrate away from traditional technology, you liberate your finance team from rigid data structures, time-consuming manual tasks and legacy processes. As a result, CFOs and Finance Directors will no longer need to compromise, face uncertainty in decision-making, or deal with underperformance. A powerful Cloud accounting software solution will increase employee morale, boost performance, simplify control, and enhance user experience. All of which contribute to better productivity in the workplace.

Let's get productive

Here’s our useful guide for CFOs on how to put the 'fun' back into finance by applying our top productivity tips. Learn how to motivate and inspire your team through better ways of working.

 

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Andrew Hicks

Andrew Hicks

PUBLISHED BY

Chief Financial Officer

Andrew joined Advanced in December 2015 with 15 years’ experience in senior finance roles. He is now leading the Group’s strategic and operational finance, legal and HR departments.

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