Carrying out an impeccable job as CFO is crucial to the well-being of your company. As CFO, your main duties include managing risk and analyzing your company’s finances. Your analyses and recommendations guide the company, and inappropriate suggestions based on analysis of inaccurate or delayed data can be disastrous for your company, and could lead to taking on undue risk or making poor budgeting decisions. Timely and correct data are essential for your job, but you may need to take some steps to ensure that you get the data you need whether you are analyzing the numbers from within your division or from a different or remote department or partner company.
Streamlining Financial Workflow
Your company likely already streamlines workflow in many other areas, such as manufacturing, customer service, or workplace ergonomic strategies like relocating printers to central locations and removing unnecessary furniture, computers, and other equipment. While the benefits of improving workflow are undisputed in these areas of your business, they may be overlooked when it comes to ap automation. Remember, obtaining accurate data in a reasonable timeframe requires a streamlining of the process.
Improving communication between departments is one important way to reduce delays because employees will be able to get the information they need and see why their timely contributions are necessary. Another strategy is to make sure that employees all follow the same protocol for recording and sharing data. This also helps avoid inadvertent double counting or missing some numbers.
Go for Prevention Rather Than Fixing
When you receive poor quality data that is inaccurate or too late to be of use when making financial decisions, you can make expensive budgeting mistakes and costly errors based on faulty risk management. Another problem is that you will use time time fixing the errors. You need to find the source of the error, determine what the correct value or values are, and re-run your calculations again. This is a ridiculous waste of time.
A much better solution than fixing each problem as it occurs is to prevent the problems in the first place. The concept is much like HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points), in which food manufacturers aim to prevent food safety violations from occurring at each point along the manufacturing process, rather than aiming to catch food safety violations in the final product. To prevent mistakes in data that you are provided, look carefully at each source of the data and implement quality standards. Be sure that each employee knows how to input data correctly and pass it along promptly, and decide on what constitutes an acceptable procedure.
Implementing quality standards, improving data workflow, and monitoring your sources of data will provide you with timely and accurate data. And as the CFO, it will allow you to manage risk wisely and budget well for the future. Analyzing expense reports across your organization is one place to start - it can reveal the true cost of sales, as well as which departments are operating within their budgets.
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