This blog post was originally posted on Austin Technology Council’s weekend update on August 19, 2016.
Every executive knows that a well-running finance team or finance department is crucial to their company’s success. Being able to handle, process and analyze the monies that are coming in and going out is paramount. When things are not going well, your company’s forward progress comes to a screeching halt. Here are four most common challenges that companies are facing with their finance teams and how to overcome them.
Finance is Too Siloed
The days of the finance team being shut off from the rest of the company should be long over. The finance team should be actively communicating with the rest of the company to not only analyze the past but provide guidance on the future. A good finance team should be anticipating future company investments and running scenarios so other departments can make informed decisions.
Hiring The Right People
Getting the right people is always tricky. While the right skill set is necessary, having the capacity improve support the evolution of the company. The candidate must have leadership potential, business knowledge, technical skills and can communicate well. Finally, the person must have good customer service skills because they need to deal with their customers — everyone else in the company. If it is too difficult to find this person by traditional hiring methods, companies will look to employment agencies, contractors or outsourcing firms.
While it is impossible to eliminate employee turnover, there are many steps companies can take to minimize it. During the interview process, smart companies should proactively inquire about career goals and define a career path for the finance employee once they are hired. Depending on the size of your company, these paths could include mentoring programs, working in other departments or a skunkworks project. Younger employees today have more urgent career objectives than previous generations including wanting task variety, plenty of feedback and increased recognition.
Having the right software to manage your financial activities is crucial to maximize productivity and profits. Providing real-time financial visibility is increasing important and companies cannot achieve this with small business software or worse, spreadsheets. Too many startup companies wait too long to upgrade from their small business software programs to an enterprise-caliber financial solution. We can understand their concern; it is like changing the tires while you are speeding down the highway. Unfortunately, using the wrong financials software is impacting their companies more than they realize by not having the proper financial visibility to make informed decisions across their company.
Business today is moving faster than ever before and your team needs to be sharp. The good news is that by constructing a finance team correctly with the right people, supporting them with resources and the right tools, they can be the engine that drives a company forward. In this competitive business landscape, companies need to evaluate the all the costs involved with their finance team: compensation, time, opportunity, software, productivity and outsourcing to design the best finance team possible. Companies depend on it.