In Part 1 of this week’s blog series, we began a conversation about how businesses are starting to expect more from their AP departments, having evolved into more of a strategic contributor, and leading the company in increased productivity and contributions to the bottom line.
So, what initiatives might senior leaders adopt to lead the organization from the back office?
Formulating strategy within the business is a relatively new role for finance, but one that is welcomed, according to a recent article from Host Analytics. It requires some new skill sets and increased knowledge of sales, marketing, manufacturing, and other operations, but can also leverage the analytical skills of finance staff applied in new areas.1
This is where even those in entry level and mid-management finance and accounting roles can step forward and get noticed. Imagine how innovative and forward-thinking you as a finance and accounting leader and every member of your staff will appear to be if you are the ones to provide a solution that will unlock valuable data, save money, make existing staff more efficient, and all resulting in sending more money straight to the bottom line.
Imagine if you are the ones to turn your AP department from a cost center into a profit center.
And imagine if you are the ones to ask the senior leaders in your organization, “Where do we stand with working capital so we can more accurately forecast cash and manage budgets?” instead of “How do we manage this ever-growing pile of invoices?”
Once a few heads turn, dig deeper. Start asking more strategic questions like, “How do we better manage our supply chain?” And, best of all, “What do we do with the cash that has been freed up?” Not only that, you’ll be well-prepared to answer those questions with, “I’ve got some ideas for new products I’d like to see us develop,” or “By saving this much money from our accounts payable function, I recommend we reallocate those funds into R&D.”
Take some inspiration from Keri Gohman, president of a SaaS solution provider for small business, who advises, “When you take all of the energy spent on fitting into a narrow box” (like the back office) “and unleash that on your work — magic happens.”
She goes on, “When I allowed myself to be the boldest version of myself, I realized I was more willing to take risks, to be more powerful—and my true capacity was unleashed.”2
Mark Brousseau, consultant, Institute of Finance Management (IOFM) spokesperson, and AP automation thought leader predicts that more and more companies who have not already automated their AP function will realize the opportunities for true leadership and do so soon. “It will be unrecognizable!” he says, “digital, data driven, and strategic. Stakeholders will unlock the value of AP automation and leverage it in more ways than ever.”
Yooz comes from a legacy of business process automation and smart document management. We strive to enable every member of finance and accounting departments to achieve more by automating data entry tasks so that you can focus on providing insights and make smart decisions that improve business operations overall.
Perhaps changing the perception of the “back office” to the “financial strategy” office.
1Retrieved from Host Analytics Blog site, June 19, 2019 https://hostanalytics.com/blog/5-key-transformation-initiatives-to-move-finance-forward/
2Five Things You Need To Know About Women In Finance, Forbes Councils Contributor Forbes Marketplace. Published June 5, 2018. Retrieved June 18, 2019 https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesmarketplace/2018/06/05/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-women-in-finance/#6868bce44e77