Finance team turnover hurts the whole company. How to keep them happy and your company moving.
Is your finance team getting the love and attention they deserve? Typically overworked and underappreciated, finance teams can be an unnecessary flight risk in an already tight labor market. According to a PWC report, a whopping one in four CEOs have postponed or stopped an important initiative because they didn’t have enough financial talent to complete the project, and Robert Half reports that 89% of executives find it difficult to attract qualified financial professionals. Research from AICPA raises concerns about the pipeline of new accounting graduates, so hiring difficulties are expected to continue.
Staffing problems in the finance department can impact an entire company. Businesses rely on finance to provide accurate, timely data as the basis for strategic planning, and much more. However, the work that goes into creating that data can be taken for granted. Management, understandably, tends to focus on the numbers, and not the hours of manual work copying data and correcting errors that go into reports and forecasting. But that kind of labor can take a toll on morale, and ultimately affect employee retention.
Give them the tools they need.
Our customers frequently comment on the irony of companies who develop cutting-edge technology, but who continue to rely on disjointed and archaic finance tech stacks. The result is a lot of tedious work, bringing together information from multiple sources, which can be particularly challenging in fast-growing businesses. Talented, well-qualified professionals end up having to do mundane tasks like:
- Manually coding entries to the general ledger.
- Fixing errors on expense reports.
- Reconciling corporate card spending with credit card statements.
- Transferring information between multiple systems.
- Asking employees for required documentation — often repeatedly.
- Running cross-system mid-month reports.
Not only are these manual processes a waste of investment in education, they’re also more likely to result in mistakes. Research shows that up to 88% of Excel spreadsheets contain errors, and the need to fix those errors just creates more manual work, resulting in what can feel like a seemingly endless and unsatisfying vicious circle.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that up-to-date technology can improve employee job satisfaction. According to the Robert Half report, this is particularly true of millennials in the finance sector. About two thirds of those they surveyed said technology is an important factor when it comes to deciding on an employer.
Fortunately, advances in technology now mean that it’s no longer necessary for finance teams to spend hours doing manual work or juggle multiple systems to balance the books. Accounting automation eliminates tedious tasks. When all non-payroll spend — card transactions, bill payments, and employee expense reimbursements — and all payment methods are brought together in a single platform, accounts payable work is transformed. A few of the benefits include:
- No more long hours at a frantic pace every month — the month-end close becomes much faster.
- No more manual reconciliations.
- No more CSV data transfers.
- No more chasing after receipts and other documentation.
- No more nasty surprises when the credit card bills arrive.
Recognize the importance of fulfilling work.
It goes without saying that doing more fulfilling work leads to greater workplace happiness and, consequently, better employee retention. When time-consuming manual work is eliminated, finance pros can turn their attention to more value-added work that makes a difference, both to the company and their own sense of satisfaction, Instead of tasks like matching POs to invoices, they can play an active role in improving revenue, find ways to eliminate wasted spend, and participate in FP&A functions.
Diana Ngo, Senior Director of Finance at YourMechanic, noticed this dynamic after her team adopted Airbase’s spend management platform. “Our staff accountant is now doing more FP&A work. He’s working more closely with the VP of Finance instead of spending all his time on manual tasks he was way too smart for.”
According to research, up to 9 out of 10 workers are willing to earn less money to do more meaningful work. That speaks to the importance of fulfilment. Salary is an important consideration for finance professionals, but it’s important not to underestimate the importance of feeling like you are making a contribution.
Let’s face it: People rarely acknowledge the ongoing work of the finance department unless something goes wrong. But now is the time to show them some appreciation. Take the first steps to ensuring a happy team. Schedule a demo with Airbase to see how a spend management platform makes the difference.
Airbase offers a one platform solution to manage all non-payroll spend. It provides oversight and control over spending with real-time reporting and automatic syncing directly to your general ledger. Control all payments – physical cards, virtual cards, ACH, and checks – from one place. Close faster. Empower employees. Control spend.
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