How to Become a More Strategic Finance Director

As the role changes, Finance Directors need to find ways so they can free up time and focus on strategy. It’s time to think about using efficient accounting software that can give devolved use to non-financial staff.

The Finance Director is no longer seen as someone that merely crunches the numbers, but is now thought of as a key figure who works alongside other senior managers to provide strategic thinking to drive a business forward.

What is demanded of today’s Finance Directors?
With an expanding to-do list, FDs are not only expected to fulfill the traditional day-to-day stuff like paying suppliers and controlling cash flow; they also have to manage:
• Risk
• Innovative thinking on future strategy
• HR / IT / Property / Legal /Admin
• Protecting investor interests
• Raising finance
• Cost-cutting
• Reporting
• Fiscal strategy

This means if you want to focus on strategy, you’ll need to think about either outsourcing, or simply handing over certain tasks to other people within the organisation.

How can using devolved accounting software help you become more strategic
By investing in a modern accounting system you can liberate you and your team from the daily monotony of transaction management by introducing devolved accounting. This means asking the relevant members of a department to take care of some of the smaller accounting tasks such as:
Payroll
Data Entry
Reporting

How does this work in practice?
Letting go of some financial management control can be quite daunting, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If processes are carried out by a reliable employee, like a middle or senior manager with access to a system that gives both of you real-time information, you will benefit from greater transparency and visibility.

A few pieces of browser-based accounting software already enable these types of relationships, but cloud accounting software makes it even more attractive from both an operational perspective and a finance point of view.

So whether other senior managers need to check the current level of sales forecasts or shareholders want to view the latest quarterly results, this information is available immediately, online, from a range of devices and locations.

The other main advantage of a cloud-based system is that you only pay for what you use, typically based on the volume of transactions and the type and frequency of additional support services required.

What are the added business benefits of outsourced or devolved financial management when supported by cloud accounting?
Not only does outsourcing give you more time to focus on strategy and higher value tasks, it also delivers the following benefits:
• Lower HR costs
• Reduce overall operating costs
• Quicker access and production of real-time reporting and business intelligence to aid decision-making
• Increased transparency and trust amongst colleagues and shareholders
• Self-service reporting for key staff, such as the CEO

Realise your leadership potential – Next Steps
With stretched resources day-to-day financial management can often be a distraction, but by outsourcing or devolving the more time-consuming parts, you are taking the steps to becoming a leader that shapes both strategy and success for you and the business.