The common misconception about productivity is that it relates to staff apathy, but this is not what productivity measures. Instead, productivity improvements are created through investment in technology, supporting staff and considering new ways of working. Here, we take a look at some of the things that Finance Directors can do to boost productivity.
Business process automation is becoming one of the most popular and important forms of digitisation. The simple premise behind process automation is taking business procedures that take a lot of repetitive manual effort from human staff, and transferring those tasks to software and other technology.
Naturally, there are a number of simple and repetitive tasks that take a lot of effort from finance department workers. So the move to automate these processes can save staff a significant amount of time. This frees them up to take on tasks that are more functionally valuable and productive for the company as a whole.
While process automation is one form of digitisation that has become important to the finance department – it is also crucial to look at emerging technologies and possibilities. One area that Finance Directors really need to be investigating is artificial intelligence. Transformative technologies such as machine-learning algorithms and natural language tools can not be easily implemented.
One overlooked area in terms of finance is the power of AI chatbots. These can save members of the team a great deal of time in explaining concepts and simple details to people who have questions. Of course, when the chatbots aren’t able to answer a question it can be passed on to a member of the team. But for simple queries, it can save a lot of time and boost productivity.
Invest In Cybersecurity
The finance team can be at risk from something known as Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks. BEC attacks are often designed to trick members of the finance team and therefore disrupt processes. “BEC is a specialist type of phishing attack that is becoming increasingly prevalent,” says Simon Monahan of cybersecurity specialists Redscan, “BEC attacks are designed to impersonate senior executives and trick employees, customers or vendors into wiring payment for goods or services to alternate bank accounts.”
As well as being frustrating to deal with, the threat of this type of attack can significantly reduce productivity, as members of the team have to confirm identities even before processing payments from familiar people. Investing in cybersecurity can minimise this risk and free up valuable staff time.
Focus On Morale
It is often underestimated just how important morale is to a finance department’s efficiency and productivity. The world has gone through the Covid-19 pandemic and come out of the other side with many things changed. Finance Directors must recognise this and accept that they might need to do something to help refocus and improve the morale of staff.
It is no controversy to say that when staff are happy and feel good about what they are doing, they can be more productive and efficient. This could be something as simple as ensuring more regular meetings between members of staff, overhauling how the department works, and ensuring that staff feel comfortable with any changes.
Embrace Remote Working
With finance departments operating remotely now as the new norm, many businesses are finding that their productivity levels have increased. With flexible working patterns, employees enjoy the balance of hybrid working.
Some companies choose not to move in that direction, preferring staff to work at the office wherever possible. If you are in this position, it is important to recognise the benefits of promoting remote working.
It is necessary not only to invest in technology and software to help finance teams become more productive but also to thoroughly consider processes and adapt well to new ways of working. Many businesses evolve their finance processes not through striving for perfection, but simply because things need to get done. Examine your finance team’s procedures and look for opportunities to improve.
About the author: Annie Button is a professional content writer and branding aficionado.