When your finance team is regularly entering data manually into Excel, do you ever think there must be better finance technology out there to help them? As a finance leader, you might be wondering if you can improve the quality of your management reporting outputs.
We know most businesses are looking for ways to improve productivity. Could it be time to update your processes, improve efficiency, and your team’s happiness? It all starts with a simple step towards a finance transformation.
A new approach – including a process overhaul and up-to-date technology – can spark the change your organisation needs. In this post, we explore the key signs you’re ready for finance transformation and share insight into how your team can embrace the change.
Sign 1: Collaboration across your team is challenging
Too often, businesses are still over-reliant on Excel: an outdated solution that makes modern collaboration cumbersome and error-prone. One error can create a ripple effect that compromises everyone’s follow-up work. With so many people accessing the spreadsheet, tracing the root cause can be an almost impossible task.
Is your team struggling to collaborate with Excel? Research shows about 90% of spreadsheets contain errors. How many of these collaboration problems sound familiar to your business?:
- Multiple team members using one document leads to errors; simultaneous productivity is almost impossible.
- Having multiple versions of the truth makes gaining meaningful insight impossible.
- Team members using Excel incorrectly often leads to control issues as it lacks an audit trail.
- Excel is prone to crashing or losing unsaved work for your finance team.
- New joiners require an extensive handover where someone explains why the Excel models were built in the way they are.
- Ad-hoc requests for insight take a long time to turn around as there is no clear single source for finance data.
With the rapid rise in remote working, your finance transformation should prioritise collaboration and let your team work on reports, regardless of location. Using Excel has presented a critical problem for many businesses in the remote climate because of poor collaboration capabilities. New finance technology that aids collaboration is vital and can impact the success of your team and your wider objectives.
Up-to-date finance software helps:
- Enable multiple team members to work on your chosen platform simultaneously.
- Teams communicate with one another without the risk of overwriting someone else’s work.
- Prevent your team from wasting time repeating work that’s already been completed.
- Teams complete work without the fear of human error creating a negative knock-on effect.
Added clarity and visibility has the added bonus of making team members more cautious and responsible for their actions – they will be more accurate in their reporting which will have wide-reaching benefits across your business.
Sign 2: Your team spends lots of time creating manual reports
We can’t stress this enough: automation saves time and money. If your team constantly sends financial documents back and forth, it can make creating a simple report a time-sapping task. And, let’s not forget that entering data on a cell-by-cell basis is mind-numbing, hardly inspiring your team or using their expertise to its full potential.
This invites human error, as it's common for people to lose concentration when manually collating and reviewing data. You could be creating inaccurate reports that present an unreliable representation of your company’s financial statements.
Your team could be planning for the future.
Automating your finance function creates more time for your team to strategise and forecast potential trends. Automation generates ongoing and real-time reporting, turning staff from reactive firefighters to proactive, valuable assets.
Finance transformation involves:
- Enabling your team to strategise, aligning the finance team’s objectives with wider business objectives.
- Protecting reporting against potential mistakes.
- Introducing protocols that can funnel your team’s data entry methods into an integrated approach.
- Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to remove human error and save time.
Accurate data can be found and tactical changes made when issues occur. Plus, your team members now have the time to focus on higher-value tasks that support and benefit the wider business. Your team will have the opportunity to become a value-added asset to the company. Give your finance team a real-time view of reports whenever they log in – accurate reporting from anywhere has never been easier.
Sign 3: Stress levels are high at month-end
At month-end, the demands on finance teams skyrocket and they start to feel overworked, arriving at their desks early and leaving late. These long hours not only risk their mental health and wellbeing with burnout and stress, but also negatively impact their performance and job satisfaction.
But CFOs often choose to stick with legacy systems – no matter how awkward they are – because:
- They’re familiar and teams want to avoid hassle – the fear of change can be a barrier to innovation.
- They have a fear of failure and not getting the best outcomes from new technologies.
- There will be a requirement for ongoing guidance, encouragement and thorough training.
- They’re lacking stakeholder buy-in and senior management support.
- It’s difficult to make the case to management that a finance transformation will get more accurate reports on their key metrics, showing them how the new technology adds value to the business.
For enterprises, the biggest enemy to change can be the status quo: it’s easy to become paralysed by indecision and end up taking no action at all.
A successful finance transformation enables you to soften this ‘crunch’ as workload becomes predictable, shorter and more consistent throughout the month. You can plan ahead, be more organised and shorten the time it takes to complete tasks. This standardised process offers a level of predictability that is reassuring when month-end approaches.
No longer will you have to deal with the hidden variables and inconsistencies that hinder efficiency, and put you under the time crunch. Your team will benefit from:
- More time to focus on value-add tasks.
- Increased satisfaction with the work they produce.
- Machine-learning tools reducing the risk of future, difficult month-end work cycles.
If any of these affiliations are challenges for your finance department, then it’s time to seek out finance transformation from a provider who recognises your needs and offers bespoke support.
VantagePoint doesn’t just help you implement new software then leave you to it. We support you during and beyond your transition period, with ongoing advice and training. We provide guidance and manageable steps your whole team can get on board with, gaining the expertise they need to thrive.
If you’re interested in VantagePoint, you can book a call with one of our experts. Alternatively, to find out how we’ve helped another business, download our Vita Group case study: