By Ernie Humphrey, CTP
The global pandemic has been disruptive on many fronts and has forced finance professionals to function in a new remote reality. However, there have already been many lessons learned that finance professionals would do well to take back to the office (whenever that might be) to deliver more value in any business environment.
I have had virtual conversations with hundreds of finance leaders and kept up with COVID-19 related survey results since early February. These are areas in which I have seen valuable lessons learned:
Communication – more communication is always better. There are many tools to leverage to communicate and collaborate effectively beyond email that include: Zoom, Slack, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, and within leading AP, AR, and Treasury Management Solutions.
Engagement – Companies and managers have been forced to get a bit creative in engaging their teams. Examples of interesting engagement tactics include virtual coffee hours, virtual yoga, karaoke, guess my office, guess my pet, guess my favorite band, virtual family feud, virtual gaming, and virtual happy hours. Companies would do well not to lose the increased commitment to being engaged with co-workers, direct reports, suppliers, customers, and service providers that have been critical in the remote reality.
Networking – Many finance professionals did not know how to deliver anything close to business as usual in a remote environment and turned to virtual networking via LinkedIn and even online communities to get peer to peer advice on succeeding in a new business reality. Finance leaders would do well to re-embrace the concept of an online community for Finance professionals.
Technology – Many companies have learned that during a crisis can be the right time to invest in technology. Some companies had to invest in AP Automation to make payments and mitigate payments. Others focused on visibility into cash movements, improving cash forecasting, or facilitating more timely reporting and business agility for increasingly dynamic business conditions.
Experimentation/Innovation – Companies and leaders have had to experiment and innovate to keep themselves, their teams, and their business partners engaged and productive in new ways over the past 3-4 months. The courage to not fear failure and take chances to create a competitive advantage in any environment will serve any company moving forward.
Realignment – Finance leaders found the value in realigning on expectations with staff, co-workers, suppliers, customers, and technology providers. Aligning on expectations should be done more than once a year. Doing this monthly, if not more often, is a good practice to continue to keep any relationship on the right track.
If you want to learn more about how to deliver results in any business environment check out the Finance Trends & Disruption Podcast.