If you’re like most small business owners, you often find yourself or a member of your team sitting at a desk that’s piled high with receipts, invoices, and bank statements or stuck at a computer wading through multiple spreadsheets. Diligently, you get stuck-in, only to find that (what seems like) the same pile of work presents itself again a couple of days later. It’s frustrating. You didn’t start a business to become a bookkeeper but you know that managing finances efficiently is key to the success of your business.
As arduous as it may sound, it might be time to strategically rethink your internal finance function. In this post, we give you the top 4 signs that signal you need an internal finance function redesign.
Daily Finance Tasks feel Like a Drain on your Time and Resources
Business ownership is a full-time job, even without adding daily, weekly, and monthly, accounting tasks into the mix. Small business owners dread being bogged down with administrative tasks when all they want to do is work on their core offering. Too often, we see situations where the finance team in a small business, whether that’s a single person or a larger team, are wasting hours on a never-ending cycle of repetitive tasks. The tasks they have to complete aren’t necessarily complicated, but they are time-consuming, and there are significant repercussions for the business if they are not done, or done incorrectly.
Your internal finance function should run as smoothly as your sales function. And yet, it’s often overlooked, ultimately leading to a situation where finance is not informing other departments accurately. Finance shouldn’t just report numbers, it should provide you with operational decision support.
If daily finance tasks feel like they are eating into your time and resources, it’s probably time to consider a finance function transformation.
Finance Task Checklists? You Don’t Have Any
Hopefully, you’re rolling your eyes up to heaven, thinking, ‘of course we have a finance task checklist’ but you’d be surprised at how many small business owners balk at this step. Because owner-led businesses grow organically, with staff often multi-tasking, checklists get overlooked because ‘X knows what to do, he’s been here for years’ or because ‘the spreadsheet has everything’.
The problem is that if you don’t know exactly what needs to be done, daily, weekly, and monthly, in your finance operation, you’re swimming upstream against a tide of never-ending tasks with no clue how to fix the system. Checklists help us to stay organised by ensuring we don’t skip any steps in a process, they motivate us to take action and complete tasks. By having a checklist you’ll complete repetitive tasks more efficiently and with fewer mistakes. By breaking down your finance function into specific tasks, you get more confidence when delegating jobs.
Your finance task checklist should include every accounting task that needs to be completed in your business on a daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. If yours doesn’t, it’s a sure sign that your internal finance function needs a redesign.
Your Finance Reports are Old Before they Hit your Desk
No small business owner can grow their business efficiently without up-to-date financial information. The financial health of your business on a day-to-day basis goes hand-in-hand with allocating resources. The problem is that if financial information is out-of-date before it hits your desk, it’s useless to you in terms of making sound operational decisions. When there are backlogs in your internal finance system, you can’t get meaningful financial reports.
Quality information starts with getting the right reports, on time. If you find that you are unable to make key business decisions with confidence because you don’t have a relevant picture of your finances, you should consider redesigning your internal finance function so that it provides you with the information you need.
Year-End is a Frantic Rush, Every Year
Ah, the fiscal year-end rush where you scramble to get statements, invoices, year-end reports, and bank reconciliations together and breathe a sigh of relief when it’s all over. Year-end is resource-heavy and fraught with last-minute surprises. Were our expenses really that high? Did we not clear down more of that supplier balance? What’s the actual final date for submission to the accountant?
This is not how a year-end in a small business should feel. Yes, of course, there are outside-the-normal-scope financial tasks that you need to do at this time. But you’re super-organised about it because they’re on your year-end checklist, right?
At FinOps, we systemise and support your daily finance function. If you are looking for support and guidance with any daily finance tasks please feel free to contact us.