Adopting a self-service culture when it comes to budget management and departmental financial reporting, is sure to reap many benefits for your entire business. Here are just 6 reasons you should be sharing access to your accounting software...
If you’ve ever thought that the idea of delegating accounting tasks to departmental users was just a ruse for the finance department to shift some of its workload, then think again.
Asking budget holders and departmental admin around the business to start logging in to your accounting software directly and become more involved in the accounting process is sure to reap benefits for the whole organisation.
But what might this look like in practice how can it improve your bottom line? Fundamentally, it means extending the responsibility of financial matters beyond the accounting department and introducing a self-service culture when it comes to accessing and/or processing finance-based data. Departmental accounting certainly reduces the administrative burden for the finance team but will also speed up the entire accounting process, resulting in greater efficiencies across the business.
Here’s how the common challenges you may recognise in your own business, could be solved more efficiently by adopting a devolved approach to your accounting system.
1. Free up your finance team for strategic tasks
Valuable finance resources are being tied up on non-essential tasks. Many finance departments will spend days of valuable time collating customised reports for senior management, budget holders and so on. Why not introduce ready-made customised reports that can be sent out automatically via email at pre-set intervals? Or, you allow managers to log in and access reports themselves at any time of the day, via visual dashboards. All of this lightens the administrative loads on your core finance department, allowing them to focus their expertise where it can truly make a difference.
2. Always have the latest figures at your fingertips
Staff unable to help themselves to the latest information, wherever they are, is all too common. Typically non-finance staff may struggle with navigating and finding pertinent information in traditional finance systems, but with many modern systems, this is far less of an issue. Through the use of a cloud based platform, users can find, view and take action on information that is relevant to them on an easy to use web page. This means they always have the latest figures at their fingertips, whether in the office, at home, or on the go.
3. Speed up processes and go green at the same time
Slow authorisation and the need to go green is commonplace in countless organisations today. For those with geographically dispersed sites, budget holders can approve purchase orders or other important financial documents in real time, rather than be delaying orders because they are waiting in somebody’s in-tray to be signed off.
By introducing electronic approval directly within your accounting software, employees can raise a PO themselves and send it straight to the relevant person to authorise. They can easily keep an eye on its status and chase approval if needed, without having to send items through the internal or conventional post. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint as your paper trail is cut down.
4. Eliminate over-spending
To avoid over-spending, give budget holders anytime access to up-to-date information. Management can oversee expenditure in real-time and ensure that it is being spent appropriately. They can also view at a glance reports that compare sales targets with actuals so that any remedial action may be taken quickly. All they need is a set of log in details to get started.
5. Make the whole business more reactive
Is your business inflexible and slow to react? Altering the method and frequency in which financial information is distributed can also make your organisation adopt changes far quicker. Whereas in the past, board members may have had to wait until the end of the month to see the sales figures, allowing them direct access to this type of information, at the appropriate level of detail, ensures they can take action immediately, but also avoid getting bogged down in the nitty gritty.
6. Improve the cash flow
We've already talked about the impact a departmental approach to finance can have on speeding up processes. Cash flow is a major area where a speedier process can be the difference between the life and death of your business. Think about how much faster invoices could go out if everyone was entering their expenses on-line, directly into the system. Or if staff could alert the finance team electronically when a project has been completed. Not only that, but a self-help strategy means that non-finance staff can also help you to chase outstanding debt. Senior managers can log in themselves and get daily access to reports on what is owed and by whom and leverage the existing relationships they have with your customers.
Adopting a departmental strategy to accounting tasks is rather like a self-help remedy that if prescribed, can dramatically increase both your operational efficiency and your balance sheet.
Modern accounting software should enable you to personalise access for each and every user. Ensuring they only see the bits you want them to see, the data they need, and none of the stuff they don't. The next challenge is to give employees the right system. Accounting software that is intuitive to use, engaging for non-finance users, and offers data in a clear, digestable format.
We have specifically designed bluQube around this concept, keeping it clear and intuitive for those non finance folk, while retaining all the functionality for the core finance users too. If you want to see bluQube for yourself, complete the form below to arrange a free, online consultation.