Increase your finance team’s efficiency in 6 steps

As budgets are getting tighter, finance leaders and CEOs are looking for efficiency wherever possible. Are your finance team’s processes as efficient and productive as they could be? Or do you have a few blind spots that could stand to be improved?

Modern finance teams have a key role to play: not only do they handle company cash and accounts, they also provide insights and advice to teams across the organization. But they can only do this if they work efficiently. 

To read about this topic in depth, download our ebook. It provides actionable tips for increased efficiency and how your team can achieve maximum productivity.

New call-to-action

What are the benefits of accounting efficiency?

Maybe your first reaction when you think of making a big team change are “we’ve always done it this way” or even “why bother”? 

And yes, maybe everything is working fine. But why settle for fine when there are quicker, easier, and better ways to work? 

Still not sold? Here are the benefits you might not have thought of when it comes to improving your finance team’s efficiency:

Increased productivity: teams can make a bigger impact on company success in a shorter amount of time.

Happier employees: they’ll have more time for tasks that add value, and won’t need to deal with repetitive tasks.

Fewer errors: digital tools and automation mean less chance of human error.

Money saved: while the upfront cost of implementing digital tools might be high, the payoff in the long run is exponential in terms of increased productivity. 

Heightened resilience: if another disaster (such as a pandemic) comes along, your team will be ready to work from anywhere with cloud-based collaborative tools, better communication, and less reliance on manual processes. They’ll work efficiently immediately, with no need for long transition periods to get up and running.

We’ll explore how you can increase your team’s efficiency below.

How to increase accounting team efficiency

So now we’ve discussed why team efficiency will help you, let’s delve into how you can achieve it. Here are six ways you can optimize your team’s processes:

1. Find out what’s slowing you down

As with any challenge, first you need to identify the core problem. 

A careful analysis of your team’s working habits, tools, output, spend, and communication is a great place to start. 

  • Is each person’s role clear and defined? Or is there confusing overlap?

  • Do your tools promote collaboration, or inhibit it?

  • At the end of the day, has your team spent more time on tedious manual tasks than ones that add value?

  • Are you sticking to your budget, and is it easy to track team spend?

  • Is communication free-flowing in the team, and with the greater organization?

If you’re not sure how to answer the above questions, then some common efficiency killers could be holding you back. Let’s discuss the possible culprits and their solutions.

2. Say goodbye to paper

If you’re relying on any sort of paper for your accounting or finance tasks, then your finance team is slowing your organization down. 

There’s no reason to use this outdated (and risky) method of keeping track of finances.  

Digitalization is more than just a buzzword. In fact, it could be the key to taking your team to the next level.

If the following tasks are still paper-based at your organization, it’s probably time to go digital:

  • Paper expense reports

  • Bookkeeping

  • Paper receipt collection

  • Invoices 

These processes can (and should) be digitized ASAP. There are digital tools out there that replace paper processes and save the team hours’ worth of time every month.

And once you switch to digital tools, you can automate low-value finance tasks that waste time.

3. Automate low-value tasks

Have you ever calculated how much time you actually spend on tedious tasks?

According to a Spendesk x YouGov study on finance teams, manual tasks are a huge source of frustration and unhappiness for finance teams.

What do you gain when you adopt digital tools?

  • Speed

  • Accuracy

  • Security

  • Shareability

Busy finance team members have much more important tasks on their plate, tasks that actually add value to the organization.  

Right off the bat, know that any sort of manual data entry should be automated. You no longer need to build complex ledger files and enter countless rows of data. Key formulae are built in, and you can create reports in just a few clicks. 

For more ideas, read our article on the best finance processes to automate

4. Implement a spend management tool

If your spend management tool doesn’t give you 100% visibility over your spending and budgets in real time, then it’s inefficient.  

Spend management is a key factor in increasing efficiency. Knowing how much you’re spending, automating accounting processes, and empowering non-finance employees to manage their own expenses is a game changer. 

A solid spend management solution will certainly increase efficiency, and make for more harmonious finance processes throughout the entire company.

 5. Streamline communication

If you’re part of the 74% of companies currently using or planning to use a hybrid work model, then you’re already aware of just how important good communication is. 

Entirely in-person meetings are becoming a thing of the past, so getting a message out to the team should be done via digital platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or even Loom and Notion. 

And because teams are spread out over time zones, and employees are working during the hours that suit them best, you might consider adopting asynchronous communication

6. Collaborate with other teams

Too often, finance teams are stuck in their silos. Which is ironic, since finance affects every department throughout the organization.

Transversal collaboration won’t slow your team down. In fact, getting closer to your colleagues on the sales and marketing teams will only boost team performance.

Why? Finance has the data and analytical skills to help other departments really thrive. But too often this information doesn't flow between business units

The finance team can share data and insights with sales and marketing teams to help them make better decisions. 

By positioning the finance team as a business partner, the relationship will improve. Plus, other teams are less likely to see finance as the company police. Instead, they’ll look to you for valuable information and see you as a growth enabler.

Finance team efficiency: the key to a happier, more fulfilled finance function

By implementing these strategies, you can transform your finance department into a well-oiled machine. Save time and resources while improving accuracy and efficiency.

Want to go further with efficiency? Download our free ebook for the detailed and precise steps to follow here:

New call-to-action