Creating a Culture Not a Location
Lockdowns accelerated an already embedded trend for geographically dispersed teams. Although the media seems preoccupied with ‘hybrid’ models of working partly on-site and partly from home, We would argue that the last two decades have witnessed a major shift towards more larger functional teams and structures that are not reliant on a single location.
Finance is no exception. Local tax laws and currencies aside, the operational duties of a finance team are not dependent on the country or city they are located in, but the leadership that guides them.
Shared Service Centres
Two decades ago, when ERP systems were at their peak of growth in corporations, the strategic business model in vogue was a shared service centre or ‘factory’ approach whereby a location was dedicated to a function.
As time went by, the structure stuck but the location idea detached from this model. Global teams need not sit together to work together as long as they have the right tools to engage easily – and email, instant messaging and workflow software has helped this, along with the displacement of on-premise locally installed software with cloud-based models.
As long as teams have shared access to data and shared processes to cohere them, the need for physical proximity drops away. SaaS products deliver that. Workflow capabilities underpin it.
Invoice Factories and outsourced Mailing Houses
Despite creating shared service centres for functions like Accounts Receivable and Credit Management, in an effort to achieve economies of scale, outsourcing invoice printing to a mailing house became common in the early part of this century.
Our thirst for all things digital has developed in tandem with the imperative for businesses to make bolder commitments to sustainability. Those two aims meet in electronic invoicing – ditch the paper and go electronic is the finance equivalent of plastic-free packaging. So now, those same companies that outsourced print and post invoices are bringing it back in-house, making it electronic, automated, and trackable across the invoice to cash lifecycle.
Automation in Accounts Receivable functions has played catch up with the automation that has long been popular in Accounts Payable for workflow tools that digitise the approvals process and track all steps from Procure to Pay. Accounts Receivable is now in the spotlight to receive a digital makeover in large companies where the resultant economies of scale are significant enough to turn shareholders’ heads.
Shared Services or Shared Success?
Part of the task of creating an effective, productive and motivated team is to cohere the culture around shared goals. This is why workflow and motivational design elements in software are critical. Clunky, old fashioned, hard to learn software has an expensive learning curve for new employees. It takes a while for recruits to get up to speed, and in high-pressure roles where there is an expected degree of turnover, that is a cost that is repeatedly encountered.
At Data Interconnect, we understand that young and old employees alike should be able to practically self-teach with our software – we measure this by the number of questions we get from new users in the first 6 week period. If customers need to ask us how to do something, it isn’t obvious enough, and the design needs to be revisited.
One of the ways we help users feel part of a team, whether or not they sit in the same office, is to display team goals and achievements on-screen via dashboards. Seeing shared achievements helps to celebrate successes and is a critical part of our acclaimed UI design.
Tasks that are due or overdue are also shown to keep people on track, but the fact that team-wide achievements are also shown is motivating for members and helpful for reassuring for managers.
Shared Accounts, Separate Ledgers
Many of the global enterprises using Corrivo are organised into strategic business units by geography or category/product lines. They track their income on separate ledgers, but customers have a single credit limit across the enterprise and may make one payment for multiple invoices issued by one or many of those units.
This means all Credit Managers need to have access to the data and invoices related to customer accounts they deal with and cannot be screened off from this information just because the income is tracked on a separate ledger.
Corrivo is designed to flex easily to meet the demands of complex company structures across geographies and helps big businesses reap economies of scale but still share data where needed. Individuals can be given rights to access data by roles, so read-only access is available when access is required for information only.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of having your whole global enterprise on one data-rich platform is the ease and speed with which reporting and Management Information can be created. Drill-down capabilities are built-in, but so too is the ability to review financial metrics across the entire group. It is easy to obtain and easier to maintain – its compliant archive is built-in to simplify audit and tax reporting.
Please get in touch for a personal demo if you would like to see how Corrivo could apply to your company structure and help your remote or geographically dispersed teams work effectively.