4 Tips for Fostering Financial Team Collaboration
Sharing inspiring new ideas. Getting on the same page. Working toward the same goals. Staying in touch. Seeking win-win solutions. All of these activities engage the fine skills of collaboration—and they’re all important to a growing finance and accounting organization. Are you ready to explore some ways to boost your financial team’s collaboration quotient?
- Recognize That Automation is Only Part of the Solution
As your company grows and starts using new technology applications, like Intacct’s cloud-based financial and accounting software, both your reporting capabilities and the decisions informed by your data become more comprehensive. The increasing complexity is exciting—it holds the promise of new opportunities and even greater success.
Just remember that while today’s sophisticated business systems help streamline your use of data—and facilitate more effective decision-making—there are human beings making the actual decisions. Communication and collaboration skills can come to the rescue when “tough calls” have to be made, especially as the stakes get higher. For as important as automation is to our internal processes, not everything can be automated, after all, and it’s impossible to expect technology to provide an answer for everything.
What happens when there’s an error? Or when there’s missing information? How does your team handle problem solving outside of the regular day-to-day workflows? Every member of your team will be called on to trouble-shoot issues at some point, and that might mean thinking outside of the box. It definitely requires working together, side-by-side, to find a solution.
- Embrace Cross-Departmental Collaboration with Savvy
What about challenges that impact sales, marketing, or other areas outside of finance and accounting? You want to make sure you’re able to collaborate with anyone and everyone—something that’s often easier said than done. According to a Robert Half finance and accounting survey, here are the greatest challenges CFOs face when working with coworkers in other departments:
- Learning to interact with a variety of personalities – 39%
- Managing stress arising from crisis situations – 22%
- Prioritizing conflicting deadlines throughout the enterprise – 19%
- Conveying financial information in nonfinancial terms – 19%
- Don’t know – 1%
This is not to say the cards are stacked against collaboration! These insights can help you identify opportunities in your company to prioritize more transparency, inter-departmental communications, and cross-functional team building. You may already be taking data and workflows out of silos and giving decision-makers across departments access to more information. That’s a great start. And as the generators of financial reports, your team may be able to serve decision-makers in other departments with more customized, more actionable deliverables.
- Build a Culture of Teamwork
Understanding the personalities and pressures faced by colleagues outside of the finance and accounting area can go far in helping you communicate effectively. But when it comes to your team, specifically, a little culture development can have monumental impact. Create a welcoming environment for feedback and open collaboration by giving all employees opportunities—through regular team meetings, for instance—to contribute ideas and solutions.
When it comes to performance management, it’s critical to align the company’s goals with departmental and individual goals. Be sure to include employees in setting goals and evaluating their results, and always reinforce how your processes and workflows are set up for everyone’s success. This almost always includes some degree of change management, which comes into play when introducing new technologies that transform the way individual workers and teams operate.
- Find Out How Easy it is to Collaborate in Intacct
If you’re using Intacct—or are considering implementing the financial software—you’ll be pleased to learn that the solution has a handy collaboration component. Intacct Collaborate is a social layer built into Intacct’s financial management system, spanning every process and device so cross-functional teams (like your sales team who uses Salesforce) can cooperatively resolve any issue. It enables your team to:
- Communicate where there’s an issue—right inside of Intacct. Not over e-mail or the telephone.
- Have at-a-glance access the whole conversation—that is, all notes left by all participants involved in the resolution.
- Stay on the same page so there’s less chance for wasted time and miscommunication.
To learn more, contact us today.