My job goes far beyond data input. As a finance professional, I wear many hats.
I consider myself more of a problem solver, paying attention to the tiny details within financial agreements and making sure all the numbers add up. Failing to do so could mean lost revenue for the company, or inaccurate financial reports that could make it difficult to make business decisions down the road.
Finance must be in the loop with other departments like Sales, HR and Professional Services. We need visibility into deals being closed, new or exiting employees or any other expenses being incurred at the company. This requires crystal-clear communication across departments.
So how can Finance streamline that communication?
Before I go too far, I must emphasize how important human-to-human communication is when you are dealing with detailed information like expenses. Meeting face-to-face or talking over the phone can lend some nuances email can’t provide. The inflection in someone’s voice can tell me more about the urgency of a problem rather than reading it in an email. Being in the same room with a person can elicit more immediate answers to urgent questions.
Establishing a human connection can put both sides at ease and make it comfortable approaching one another to solve a problem.
That being said, technology can be your best friend when dealing with numbers and data. It can provide efficiency and accuracy when human interaction isn’t feasible, because of time constraints.
Often, departments outside of Sales do not have licenses to a customer relationship management tool (CRM), like Salesforce. Those licenses are expensive, and many businesses (especially small businesses) choose to forgo that cost. However, a CRM can hold critical information for a finance department.
Finance could have easy access to that information, without needing to “reach out,” if they had a window to view that data without needing a CRM license. This requires a tool that integrates with a CRM, but can also stand alone, acting as a bridge between CRM users and non-CRM users.
With increased visibility, and streamlined communication between departments, life becomes a little easier for the accountant:
Accurate Audits: When it comes to money, everything needs to be documented. An electronic audit trail can be the best way to keep up with who’s involved in the finance approval process and what is being edited.
The ability to track every change made to a document can answer the question of who made the change, when, what was changed, and why. This information is critical to reporting revenue, costs, and ensuring compliance across all departments.
Sales’ Visibility: Wouldn’t it be nice to see what Sales sees? Finance needs to have access to contracts to ensure the financial terms and details make sense. All of this information is needed for billing, creating and updating opportunities and reporting revenue according to period it needs to be recognized within.
My daily goal is to ensure that all finances are accurately accounted for by gathering the necessary documentation, relevant audit trail and record all valid final activity. All of these details are critical to building financial statements that the company uses as a reliable tool to make essential business decisions.
I don’t always have time to walk down the hall to other departments to ask questions or get clarity, so the ability to get answers with a few clicks is huge. Visibility into the CRM gives me access to real-time data that allows me to execute what is needed.
Finance isn’t the only department that would benefit from visibility into a CRM. Download our tip sheet, Expanding CRM to Eliminate Sales Friction to learn how other teams can benefit from streamlined communication across departments.