Collaboration: The Finance Organization’s Most Valuable Low-Tech, High-Impact Business Tool
Written by Kelli Lampkin, Revenue Accelerator
One of the strongest markers of a successful Finance team is collaboration. Not only collaboration within Finance and Accounting, but across departments in the company with Sales, Customer Success, Legal, Operations, and even product. Increasingly, collaboration by the finance team outside the company, for example with customers through the collections process, can be leveraged as an opportunity to create value for the business.
Tesorio recently participated in the Agile Finance Summit sponsored by Teampay. Kashif Riaz, a partner at Deloitte, and Sara Volk, Revenue Manager at Sendoso, joined our segment, Combining People and Data for Total Cash Flow Control. They made a powerful case for collaboration as one of — if not the — most important nontechnical tools available to today’s finance organization. In fact, they say it’s crucial to three business objectives relevant to every company, big or small, public or private.
Adopting New Technologies or Business Models
Riaz, who advises clients on cloud strategy, indicates that companies increasingly rely on finance to be a primary catalyst and strategist for major initiatives. Finance is front and center no matter whether the initiative is a major systems implementation, a wholesale digital transformation, or a move to a more profitable business model, such as direct-to-consumer or usage-based pricing.
Collaboration, he says, should start at the very beginning of such initiatives by aligning all the key stakeholders, who typically represent sales, marketing, engineering, legal, compliance, human resources, and information technology. Several key questions should be addressed at this early stage:
· What is the organization’s goal?
· What are everyone’s pain points and goals for eliminating them?
· How will their functions be impacted during and after the project?
· What’s required of each stakeholder?
Integrating New Connected Finance Tools or Processes
When it comes to integrating various digital tools with a legacy system or process, both Riaz and Volk warn against focusing solely on the department or team that uses it. Instead, you need to extend the view to include the teams that are upstream and downstream to find out how changes will impact them, as well as how their workflows and habits may affect the intended goal of the new tech tool or process.
For example, when and how salespeople enter contracts into their CRM system has a downstream impact on the accounting department’s month-end process. Any initiative to optimize the close process requires collaboration with sales.
Increasing Revenue and Optimizing Cash Flow
A straw poll during our segment found that incoming customer receivables are the biggest factor that creates variance in cash flow forecasting and reporting. To reduce that variance, Volk regularly collaborates with her counterparts in sales and legal to structure deals so that cash collections stay in line with the company’s cash flow forecast and budget.
Additionally, maintaining a close relationship with both sales and the customer success team makes resolving problems with invoices and payments so much easier, Volk notes. And finally, all three departments gather their own intel on customers. When they all share that intel, it improves the customer’s overall experience and generates more revenue, she says.
It’s Time to Collaborate
Collaboration itself is low-tech, but today’s high-tech tools that allow for collaboration across teams like Tesorio’s Accounts Receivable CRM make it easier than ever to accomplish. Contact us today for your Tesorio demo.