5 Ways to Celebrate Finance and Accounting Appreciation Week

IOFM, the Institute of Finance and Management, has expanded Accounts Payable Appreciation Week to include all of finance and accounting. The newly dubbed Finance and Accounting Appreciation Week (October 22-26, 2018) continues the tradition of celebrating one of the most forgotten back-office operations, one of the most critical to the success of the business.

A business isn’t really a business without the checks and balances of finance. So, there’s reason to appreciate those who make the numbers work and keep the money moving. And while many might celebrate Finance and Accounting Appreciation Week with wine and cheese or cupcakes, most CFOs and Controllers would likely rather celebrate with something that truly matters to them: cold, hard, measurable efficiency.

To that end, here are 5 fiscally-responsible ways to celebrate!

Eliminate busy work

Any task that can remove human hands from being involved how money moves is now destined for automation. There’s too much risk to subjecting finances to human error. But the act of moving money around is also busy work. Paying suppliers, for example, is operational spending for the process of spending. From vendor onboarding to keying in invoices to cutting checks, HR costs at this level eat into productivity, auditability, and profitability. Instead, use those valuable resources on more constructive and strategic efforts and leave the busy work to the machines.

Speed financial close and reporting

How valuable would it be to get to a financial close faster? What if you could cut that time by half? Even earning back three or four days could lead to visibility that can inform decisions and planning efforts for the next quarter, giving you more time to breathe and think about what adjustments and preparations you could make.

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Reduce payment errors

How much do you think it takes to recover from a supplier payment error? Well, if you don’t know about it, your supplier certainly will. If you do know about it (a returned check, a wire transfer failure, etc.), it opens up a process around deciphering and investigating the error, notifying the supplier, working with the bank to recover funds, and so on. For a cross-border payment, it gets even trickier. You’re looking at delays in time zones, language hurdles, and repayment. All this takes your team resources away from more valuable work and derails them from the flow of business.

Lock down accounting systems

Who approved that invoice? Who approved that payment? Who has access to make a payment? Who has access to payment bank details? A controller or CFO is a reliable, trustworthy corporate officer, but shouldn’t payables-related activity be auditable for everyone in the organization? Keeping up your financial guard is critical to the part of the business that releases funds.

Strengthen vendor relationships

Are there any upcoming vendor contracts up for renewal? Are there opportunities to get discounts or extend net payment terms with suppliers? Are there any activities (e.g. expansion, entering new markets, new lines of business) that vendors can help accelerate? How do you get on their good side? Beyond just paying more, paying effectively can be an excellent bridge to build with suppliers. Simply streamlining the onboarding efforts, automating payment notifications, and offering “on-the-fly” early payment options can endear you to your supply chain.

It's never been easier to automate payables in QuickBooks Online!