Optimizing and Embracing Best Practices for Finance & Accounting

July 2022

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As market fluctuations and rising interest rates put added stress on internal finance departments, it is wise for organizations to step back and reassess their finance and accounting (F&A) processes and systems. These assessments can help determine whether F&A workflows are enabling timely outputs for reporting, budget forecasting, internal processes like payroll, and other important tasks. Among the many benefits of analyzing and improving internal F&A processes, cost effectiveness and efficiency are paramount.
 

Balancing Cost and Efficiency

Cost reduction strategies that initially seem intuitive could yield unexpected and counterproductive outcomes. For example, some F&A departments might put policies in place to discourage unnecessary spending. Despite the benefit of cost savings, implementing cumbersome spending parameters can complicate and delay F&A reconciliation and expense processes, which could impact productivity, damage employee morale and increase the risk of employee burnout at a time when attracting and retaining talent is increasingly difficult.
 
When processes are not running efficiently, your gut reaction may be to hire more employees in an attempt to fill gaps. However, a more cost-effective and employee-centric option is to examine your F&A department’s overall posture and effectiveness, with a particular focus on systems and technology that may no longer be working. Try asking questions such as:
 
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Which manual processes can be automated?

Automation can reduce the time your employees have to spend on tedious tasks. This not only helps to balance their workloads, but also allows employees to better invest their time in other high-value services.
   
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How can financial reporting be improved?

Organizations are better equipped to make decisions when they are armed with more insightful reporting. This includes setting benchmarks based on industry-specific metrics and reassessing them regularly for accuracy. Assessing internal processes for diligence and efficiency can also help an organization more successfully meet reporting deadlines.
 

Finding the Right Solution

With new F&A tools and technology entering the market every day, the issue is not whether a solution exists to match your organization’s needs, but how to sift through the available options and implement the right choice.
 
While this may appear to be a daunting process, it is not one that any organization has to go through alone. Rather than jumping to invest in more internal resources, organizations should first examine existing operations to determine which changes can be handled internally and which may benefit from external assistance.
 
Third-party finance and accounting professionals can help organizations set up robust controls, align spending, optimize financial reporting and find new opportunities to adopt automated technologies and processes.