The advent of the new normal has undoubtedly impacted the individual and professional lives of late.
Most employees have had to work more from home for the first time, and many have had to do this while dealing with distractions at home.
For the finance function of both individuals and businesses, this new work environment has had a significant tole coupled with a troubled economy. No doubt that the finance departments are faced with challenges that pushes them to think on their toes in other to keep the business alive.
Although assumed to be the hind function of a business, the finance teams are the firing line of any business, now more than ever.
As finance leaders continue to embrace this new normal, striving to keep a big boost for team morale is essential while leading the high-performing remote finance function. There is a different expectation for Finance to trigger reviews of existing plans and assumptions and revise the plans in light of the rapidly changing economic events.
In other to do so, the following areas are great pointers to apply:
- Apply Innovative Thoughts to Stretch Your Team:
Helping your team become scalable as Chief Financial Officer is vital. For smaller finance teams involving fewer individuals, bandwidths can be challenging when in a traditional work environment. In a remote environment, it can be overpowering. Ways to build a more scalable remote team includes:
- Very importantly, there is a need to ensure that the finance team is working cross-functionally, collaborating, and generally adjusting to the new remote work environment.
- Automation of dunning and reporting: To a great degree, 300 accounts can conveniently be handled by one collector if a manual dunning process is applied. When automated, over 1000 accounts can be handled, respectively.
- Short-Term utilization of contractors: Outsourcing some tasks to contractors is a great way to reduce the workload on your team members. It helps them focus their capacity on more rewarding work.
- Build more resources for the team: Developing a more meaningful training process through video recordings or financial playbooks serves as great backings for your team if made readily available.
- Review low-value transactions in the department, consider seeking low salary contract staff to handle such low hanging transactions, and lay off high pay employees hitherto handling such tasks.
- Measure Performance with Data:
Accessing the tracking method you currently use for the team is essential. It will help determine if the metrics used are appropriate for the current working structure. It is also important that one on one and weekly meetings should remain a primary focus. This communication method will allow finance leaders to gather as much data that revolves around their team’s performance.
- Empower your employees to be decision-makers
- Boost engagement throughout the workforce and encourage collaboration and teamwork. Continue to reinforce positive behavior and make the decision-making process collaborative.
- There is a need for an atmosphere of trust, increased employee authority, and some level of flexibility in their remote working environments. Consider evaluating bottlenecks in finance processes and proffer solutions to streamline.
- A review of the Purchase to Payment (P2P) process is an excellent example to consider whether you can trust and empower employees to be decision-makers, subject to a defined threshold.
- Such an initiative will help save time and remove unnecessary bottlenecks, and improve employee confidence, contribute to higher productivity and professional growth for your team.
- Be a beacon of light in a dark time
During challenging times, there's a need to have challenging conversations and provide guidance to your team. Be very transparent to your employees, provide the team with regular business updates, and avoid surprises.
Ensure you get your team regularly connected, introduce learning sessions, hold planned regular virtual group meetings. These initiatives will support the team to share insights, knowledge, and best practices.
Above all, ensure the motivation of employees and team morale are top priorities. CFOs need to focus on the team’s achievements and find opportunities to recognize individuals for great work while also celebrate good teamwork.
In conclusion, it is worth considering an investment in quality technology to support the business and improve efficiency. Be bold to invest in digital services and technology. Such investment will help communicate expectations and sharing work products online, which is even more crucial in a remote workplace than an in-office one.