By: Lisa Sherman, CPA, Director of Accounting Outsourcing Services

In a 2019 benchmark research report by Ventana Research, 35% of participants encountered errors in data and 19% found errors in formulas located in job-critical spreadsheets. As a finance leader, you can’t afford inaccuracies. Senior leadership looks to you for analysis and guidance. In addition to being a trustworthy source of financial information, the team, technology and processes should align to play a strategic role in the direction of the company.

Here are five strategies you can use to refocus the finance team and become a strategic partner. 

  1. Invest in people: Once leadership identifies the mission of the finance department, it’s their responsibility to communicate the direction to staff members. In addition, they should invest in upskilling the current team to ensure their skills, knowledge and experience align with the department’s future. 
  2. Keep your technology current: As your business grows and changes, use technology to work smarter and eliminate tedious jobs. Think about current pain points and limitations, your ideal processes and how technology might enhance your productivity. As innovations are released, like artificial intelligence, explore them while making sure the tools align with your processes. Consider increasing the frequency of your technology reviews as software can deteriorate.  
  3. Improve processes: Finance teams collaborate heavily. Look at your department’s processes to see how you can add efficiency, remove barriers and improve coordination between individuals. Encourage a continuous improvement mindset and stop relying on, “This is how we’ve always done it.”  
  4. Focus on data quality: Missing and inaccurate data can lead to delays, require time to fix and lead to financial distrust. But, the right technology can speed up the collection of data and reduce errors via automatic data capture, formulas and flows. If data quality is a top priority, you can confidently share financial data and reports with key stakeholders, and they can make informed decisions.  
  5. Show the value of finance: As the finance team transforms and fulfills its new mission, share the benefits, successes and achievements with your organization. This may foster collaboration between other departments and garner support for future initiatives.  

Technology plays a valuable role in finance and is a worthwhile investment. However, if finance executives and leadership teams want to see real ROI, they must address their people, processes and data – three common factors that prevent businesses from achieving their transformation goals and securing long-lasting change.

If you want to transform the role of finance, read the whitepaper “5 Ingredients for Finance Transformation” to learn more about each of these five tactics. For further information, contact the outsourced accounting CPAs at Doeren Mayhew today.