We all know that stress is bad for us, right? My diet app tells me it is, and I know I’m much happier when there is less to worry about, both in my personal and professional life.
It seems though that some finance teams have stress built in to how they work. They appear to save up all the hard work for the first five to ten working days of the month and surge in activity to get their month end figures out.
Purchase invoices are busily keyed in, time sheets collated, spreadsheets crunched for accruals and journals. The entire focus for those hectic days is getting the figures ready for the board meeting or appeasing the management team with the figures that they need and expect.
Improve the process, decrease the stress
But why has this culture prevailed when technology is there to smooth out the process?
>First off let’s look at sales invoices – revenue for one is a purchase for another. How many organisations only send their sales invoices at month end? How many actually wait another few days after month end to send their invoices? It’s this behaviour that drives the month end madness.
Purchase Ledger teams often work on the premise that it’s better to key everything in one go. Counter-productively though, this is what causes the surge and the month end stress. Invoices could easily be processed on receipt. If automation is in place, this can happen virtually hands free. Even payments can be scheduled automatically if an invoice has been approved.
Technology is there to make life easier and smoother. Getting the right processes in place for sales, for purchasing and for accounting makes for a happier life. There are many steps to take on the road to invoice karma.
The first is to look at process and to find out how you can remove paper from your daily tasks if any exists. We did away with ledger books twenty years ago so now it’s time to go one step further and do away with paper entirely.
How do we do this?
- Only ever send out PDF invoices
- Only pay electronically
- Only accept purchase invoices in PDF to the email address you specify
Set the rules and create the process that works for a smoother existence.
Technology to ease the pressure
Right now, it seems the younger generation are driving the changes in the finance team. The bright analysts and assistants have been brought up on technology and expect their work environment to be no different. They want easy-to-use software that’s flexible and fast to learn.
They want everything intuitive and obvious.
It’s often these people doing the reconnaissance for our own software and engaging with us to design solutions to make their team’s lives better. Add in a dynamic Finance director and the teams are transformed into a powerhouse of efficiency.
As far as we’re concerned, month end madness should be left behind with other the other outdated practices long since abandoned. A stressed finance team is not only a miserable team, but also a less efficient one.