4 Ways CFOs Put Time On Their Side
By Allan Tepper, Co-founder and Senior Managing Partner, CFO Consulting Partners LLC
You practically pulled an all-nighter.
And now, you stand before the board to deliver the annual report.
But your presentation is met with stares, not applause. More questions than answers.
For most CFOs, time can feel like the enemy. Unfortunately, that’s not 100% accurate. It’s not about time at all—it’s about how you use it.
Here are four quick fixes that will help CFOs get more sleep and better results:
- Ditch Excel. Eliminate Excel to the greatest extent possible for accounting-oriented work. If necessary, build automated processes in languages where formulas and references cannot be easily deleted/changed. Instead, utilize your accounting system. Don’t use Excel as a crutch for reports and calculations. Each Excel spreadsheet may add one additional day of work to your closing schedule.
- Right People, Right Seats. Once you have the right team in place, cross-train them so functions can continue during periods of vacation, illness or termination. Continuation of operations is imperative. This is one unexpected outcome that you can plan for by training every team member on multiple facets of the department.
- Map Your Efficiency. Frequently take time to analyze the work processes and determine ways in which you can improve it. Invite yourself to a coffee shop with a blank piece of paper and the phone turned off. And then, write down each step of a process—or draw it. (Stick figures are allowed.) What good are numbers if we can’t use them to make our processes and systems better?
- Create More Involvement. Ask your controller to develop a detailed closing schedule that will be fully reviewed with all members of the team. This will ensure all team members are working toward the same common goal. And while you’re at it, set up more boundaries so you have time to analyze the numbers before you rip it off the copier and run to your next presentation.
If you find yourself blaming time for your failed finance and accounting systems and inefficient processes, take a time out. We can help.
CFO Consulting Partners is comprised of a team of senior financial executives. We provide a broad range of financial management services to public and private companies. We work for CEOs, CFOs, as well as audit committees and boards. Our mission is to apply our consultants’ considerable collective experience to resolve client issues in a professional and efficient manner.
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