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Here are tips that can help in improving the finance and accounting department’s efficiency

The accounting and finance department is nothing less than the heart and blood for any business. Tasks like processing and preparing balance sheets, financial records, cash flow statements are vital for any enterprise’s survival. These procedures are not just time-consuming but expensive as well. Here’re some tips that can help in improving the department’s overall efficiency. 

Time-saving policies 

Experts recommend firms set a monthly cutoff date for recording expenses and invoicing. That’s because some departments and employees take too long to submit invoices and adjustments. Such delay results in late completion of financial statements. Accounts teams in most corporate companies urge their employees and vendor partners to provide their invoices by the month-end. 

Another time-saving step recommended by most accounting experts to their clients is setting a routine for reconciling bank accounts by the end of the month. Reconciling the financial position statements with accounts payable and receivable can be good practice for tracing and correcting errors. 

 A second monitor can help in improving productivity 

According to a study published by the Journal of Accountancy, the productivity of the accounts team in an organization can increase if key people are given an extra monitor. As per another research published in the New York Times, a second monitor can improve output by roughly 20 to 30 percent. 

Minimizing the screen while toggling between the ERP systems and an excel sheet, web page, and switching back and forward can be frustrating.  On the other hand, working on dual-screen helps accountants’ view ERP and the Excel sheet or another system simultaneously. Several call centers working on back-end processes have implemented this technique to uncomplicate things for associates. 

Consider outsourcing some functions to help the overburdened team 

Team size in the accounts and finance department depends on the organization’s size and the nature of its business activities. 

The accounting department has as CFO, financial controller, treasury manager, accounting manager, chief accountant, accounting supervisor, accountant, and bookkeepers. 

Accounts department manages accounts receivable, revenue tracking, payroll processing, reporting, and generates financial reports. Producing financial statements and reporting is crucial for budgeting, forecasting, and decision making. Financial reports need to be communicated and discussed with banks, investors, and other stakeholders as well. 

The chief financial officer performs the most critical task. He or she needs to ensure the implementation of accounting standards and compliance with fraud and theft prevention procedures. 

Lack of human resources in this team can result in a burden on the existing people, leading to chaos and delays in completing tasks that are crucial for the organization’s functioning. In such cases, outsourcing some of these activities to firms that provide outsourced accounting services can be the best option. 

Firms can better utilize the human resource in the accounting team by managing crucial tasks in-house and outsourcing the basic and administrative ones. Businesses can benefit a lot by outsourcing accounts and finance-related tasks.

Outsourcing can help in reducing the operational costs spent on resources and talent management. Plus, outsourcing also ensures your in-house team remains free to perform value-added tasks for clients. Several reputed finance and accounting services providing firms offer to take care of all the activities under accounts, bookkeeping, recruitment, payroll, and other procedures. 

Investing in business intelligence tools 

Organizations generate data in terabytes every year. And this information can play a vital role in reaching the best possible financial decisions. Firms can also improve the accuracy of finance and accounting teams’ work with the help of such data. This is where BI (Business Intelligence) tools come into the picture. 

BI tools can assist the finance team in data consolidation and comparison, real-time analysis, accurate forecasting, and various process improvements.

Avoid expecting accounts and finance team to indulge in multi-tasking 

Humans often think they are good at multitasking. However, studies prove that it is the other way. Switching between tasks seems fine, but it may take up to 20 minutes to refocus on the job while multitasking. Thus, the more multi-tasking a person does, the more time he or she loses. 

Structuring the day-to-day tasks to avoid multitasking can help in at least minimizing the same. Accounting productivity can increase if key personnel dedicate bigger blocks of uninterrupted time for crucial tasks. The work schedule should be tweaked accordingly.

Checking customer’s creditworthiness 

Unpaid bills increase the company’s bad debt. Thus, checking the customer’s creditworthiness before accepting and shipping the order can help save ample time and resources that the accounts department may have to spend on recovery activities at a later stage. It is advisable to let the sales team use a software program that allows reps to complete credit checks before placing orders. This would result in lesser pending bills and less work for the payment receivables team.

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