As my cross-country odyssey takes me from Kent to Glasgow, from Pembrokeshire to Scunthorpe, along leafy lanes and byways en route to finance department after finance department, there are one or two common strands which appear time and time again!
(1) Deciphering handwritten Purchase Order requests
This is still the biggest taboo for most organisations I come across. Do not feel ashamed if you are one of them – many others are too, you are not alone! Before you pop along to the next handwriting-decipherers anonymous meeting come and talk to us for some lasting departmental input therapy and get your non-finance people keying and authorising orders electronically instead of you reading their minds!
(2) Circumnavigating the place with a Purchase Order and a pen after a signature
OK so your orders are keyed remotely, but don’t be tempted to have your finance team print it out, pop on trackie bottoms and jog down to get Derek’s boss to sign it off! Our devolved software has a level of appeal and simplicity which should have Authorisers flocking to use it and get their orders out quicker.
(3) Working out who ordered goods on an incoming purchase invoice
This one’s a bit of a business process tip, but so many organisations get into a supine position with suppliers and then make their finance team work faster on the purchase cycle hamster wheel by accepting invoices that don’t quote a purchase order reference. Of course that would never be because someone had picked up the phone and ordered rather than using the proper channels! Get your suppliers (and employees) in the good habit of ordering through the finance system, quoting the order number. Make this whole process the closest thing it can be to pure joy!
(4) Sending out Purchase Invoices for signature in the internal post
We post pictures online in social media – why not extend this to your friends (the invoices) on the purchase ledger? Then get non-finance admin folk to ‘like’ them using ‘Purchase Invoice Goods Receipting’ instead of your finance team wasting time sending them out in the internal post for signature.
(5) Answering the Question – what have I spent on consumables so far this year
How many times can this classic ad-hoc time-waster punctuate your finance team’s day? - Not only answering the question but providing a ‘quick’ list report or email. Get your non-finance folk online and answering that simple question for themselves with devolved reporting and enquiry.
(6) Printing Reports and Sending them out in the internal mail
Not only does this dent the toner bill, but your team can turn printing and collation of management reports into an art-form at the drop of a hat! They can add a level of sophistication to that by printing to PDF and manually attaching to emails individually. Stop it now! Get your departmental users on line with simple Budget Enquiry Screens or on-line reports.
(7) Handwriting receipts and Analysing Till Rolls onto a spreadsheet system to analyse receipts for posting.
How slick is your receipting? Count the number of manual steps from palm to posted and onwards to the bank rec in your receipting system. I would challenge you to argue that anything was simpler than direct entry into ‘Cash’, printing a receipt and automatic bank rec down the line!