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The strongest finance professionals play a far more important role than simply carrying out day-to-day transactional work – they also focus on ways to create real value by driving improvements across the business.

Of course, finance leaders already have wide-ranging and important responsibilities. From preparing and creating financial accounts to analysing current performance and predicting future developments, they play a vital part in an organisation’s success or failure. But many of these functions – and the tools required to fulfil them – also put senior finance professionals in a position to make recommendations that could benefit areas of a business outside of their traditional remit.

Faster and more insightful decision-making

Effective finance leaders use accounting software and other solutions to ensure that their decisions are based on reliable forecasts. Establishing budgets and likely spending patterns for the coming financial year requires a little more insight than simply holding a finger to the wind; these are decisions that have to be based on hard numbers, and that’s where tools like Excel and Power BI come in.

Of course, the majority of companies are already familiar with using Excel-developed forecasting for their financial models. Now 30 years old, Excel has a global user base of more than 750 million, and it has long been the go-to solution for any task involving the analysis and presentation of data. Power BI, with its ability to build KPIs, explore millions of rows of information and create visualisations, moves the game forward further through its enhanced and expanded functionality.

But why should the perceptions that can be gleaned from these tools be restricted to the realms of finance? All areas of business would benefit from better-informed decision-making; if they have the necessary data (whether this be sales figures or customer sentiment) then they should be taking advantage of the same insights. Given their extensive experience in this area, senior finance figures should be taking the lead here and advocating the qualities of Excel and Power BI for informing forward planning.

Empowering the workforce

There is no doubt about the advantages of creating a truly empowered workforce. For instance, it is one of the most effective ways to keep hold of your best staff. As an oft-quoted Gallup survey points out, 89% of managers believe their employees leave for a pay rise, whereas in reality 88% leave for reasons related to the job, the business culture, the working environment or their manager.

But how can you achieve true empowerment in your workforce? One of the most effective solutions is to give staff greater autonomy; after all, no employee is ever likely to feel truly enfranchised if they are being micromanaged at every step.

Finance leaders can play a key role in delivering this autonomy by driving the adoption of self-service expense forms. They allow employees to be more self-sufficient and remove the need for them to call on their manager to perform simple tasks – like submitting time sheets, travel expenses, and requests for time off and equipment purchases – while also automating key processes and shortening cycle times. Not only does this free up more time for staff to focus on their day-to-day job, but it creates greater visibility for management and leads to increased productivity across the business.

Promoting better information-sharing

The importance of sharing information across departments is clear, and yet for many businesses this simply doesn’t happen often enough (or at all). Siloes between different teams can often create a ‘them and us’ scenario, in which workers either don’t consider discussing key details and advice with their peers, or – at worst – actively avoid doing so.

Through their experience with tools like Dynamics ERP, senior finance professionals can take a lead on encouraging information-sharing throughout their organisations. Dynamics ERP can help you to drive performance by giving you the ability to provide thought-provoking and inspiring insights that can be specifically tailored to the various roles within your company.

The value of Dynamics ERP extends far beyond the finance department. It offers a host of capabilities that make it easier to share important information across the company, from business intelligence and reporting to human resources and supply chain management.

Find out more about Microsoft Dynamics ERP for finance


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