Being a finance manager is not an easy job. In the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, author Stephen Covey describes the difference between management and leadership, “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” A Controller is often in the position of having to do a bit of both. Their role leans more to the strategic “big picture”, yet also requires hands on knowledge of every area of finance as well as people management skills.
To help you on your way, here are four habits you should adopt to make sure you are operating at your highest potential as a finance professional, and a manager:
1. Turn Data into Actionable Insights
The ability to analyze data such as the time and cost of different processes, spot weaknesses, then formulate a plan of action for improvement is a key skill for Controllers. Make it a regular practice to review and examine where your finance team can make improvements.
2. Mind the GAAP
OK, it’s a bad joke. But it is true that without a solid foundation in accounting basics, you won’t rise far up the ranks. GAAP (or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), can vary based on location and industry, so make sure your department is “up to code”, so to speak.
3. Explore New Technologies
Along with remaining up to date on best practices through continuing education and your network, it is important to stay informed about the latest technologies. If you notice that there is a consistent pain point within your department (and if you are not sure, ask!), take some time to explore solutions that can drastically improve your employees’ lives and your financial bottom line.
4. Reduce Operating Costs without Sacrificing Efficiency
The average cost of an invoice varies greatly from company to company and industry to industry, but it’s a metric that is always of great interest to Controllers. After all, if you’re spending up to $10 processing each invoice, it is a big responsibility to manage spend. It can feel like a bit of a juggling act, especially when current processes make it difficult to monitor cash flow in real-time. One aspect of the AP process that is often overlooked when calculating spend is the cost of the AP employees’ time. If your AP team is spending too much time chasing invoice approvals contact us to get AP moving up to 5X faster.