Time is money and, for large and small businesses alike, it’s the most precious resource imaginable. That is true across your organization — for sales, service and product teams and for financial professionals.
As outsourced accounting professionals, we specialize in improving efficiency. Every day we help clients reclaim their time and reinvest it into the work that’s driving growth. In this article, we’re revealing the paradigm that leads to the greatest improvement in the efficiency of our clients’ accounting teams. Whether or not you’re outsourcing your financial functions, you can streamline your processes and turn time saved into money made. It is easy, affordable and works for any organization. Without further ado, our six tips designed to increase your efficiency are…
1. Get with the Times
From the dawn of the digital age, business technology has been all about maximizing productivity. Programmatic advertising has turned an entire industry on its ear, social media has taken the place of traditional telecoms, and even athletic scouts are dropping the “eye test” for data-packed spreadsheets.
If your accounting team is still dealing with rooms full of filing cabinets, long lines at the bank and the whine of fax machines, stop living (and working) in the past. Even simple consumer technology — many forms of which are available for free — can help.
2. Embrace the Functionality of Apps
Banking and credit applications are widely available and can take a lot of the pain out of document management. They help by recording all of the deposits, withdrawals and expenditures you have made and which are associated with their services. Be forewarned though, not every app is created equal. Research the features your provider’s app offers and make sure they have the functionality you need. Sufficient visibility into your financials should be the bare minimum, but time savers like remote deposit capture could be equally essential.
3. Digitize Your Paperwork
Adopting a password-protected vault and document sharing platform can bring a host of advantages. Digital searches are practically instantaneous compared to thumbing through files. Not to worry though, you don’t have to shoulder the burden of scanning and uploading your entire financial history alone. A number of services are dedicated to making the process easy — they’ll not only digitize your documents for you, they’ll work by your side to implement naming and tagging conventions that make everything easy to find going forward. That way, the obscure expense from years back (the one that’s stopping your project in its track and causing your whole team headaches) is only ever a few keystrokes away. Take it one step further and incorporate a program allowing your team to sign documents digitally. Now you can be away from your desk without business grinding to a halt.
4. Enable Your Team’s Access
To manage their time effectively, your accounting team needs a direct path to access the information they work with. Arrange for your team to be pre-authorized to receive information they’re likely to request from your partners, vendors, banks and credit providers. Cut out the intermediary steps and you’ll go a long way toward eliminating the dreaded “hurry up and wait” phase that eats time and generates stress.
5. Centralize Your Data
Ensure that your process prioritizes the use of a single source system as much as possible. Managing a few master sources will help you cut out the redundancy of re-entering the same information across a large number of portals. To design an efficient process, consult a technologist who can help you automate your data entry. That way, you can enter financial data once and have that data automatically carried over into the other programs that need it. With one entry point, you can limit the number of hands touching this information, reduce the likelihood of mistakes and ensure accountability.
6. Cover the Cost of Greater Efficiency
The benefits of quicker and easier accounting do come at a price. It is important to recognize that the same programs that enable fast, easy access to your financial information can be vulnerable to unauthorized access. Just as your office requires onsite security, you need the expertise of specialists to keep data away from would-be thieves and saboteurs.
Training your team in password management and good digital hygiene is essential. We all know not to open the unexpected attachment sent from a shady email address, but as cyber criminals further refine their practices, spotting threats is becoming tougher. In addition to getting your team up to speed on protecting privileged information, like passwords and log-in credentials, you will want to take advantage of the additional protection offered by system monitoring and cyber threat response specialists. With seemingly endless headlines announcing the latest breaches and vulnerabilities, it’s simply too costly to leave the safety of your data up to chance.
At Friedman Accounting Services, we understand how valuable your time is. If you have any questions about increasing the efficiency of your accounting professionals, we’re here to answer them. Reach out to our team today.