Earlier this week I revealed three quick wins that will help Financial Directors to make an immediate and lasting difference within their business. Here are three more quick wins that all FDs have the power to implement tomorrow.
4. Using dashboards to save time
If you’re able to collate data from the cross-functional teams across the business, it is often difficult to focus on the right information at the right time. Alternatively, it may also be difficult for FDs to see a big picture of the business at any one time.
Using dashboards allows FDs to see at a glance what matters most to you. With a dashboard, you’ll have a view of vital information such as:
- Problem debtors
- Sales pipeline
- Stock levels
- Cash flow forecast
- Abnormal transactions
- Key performance indicators
The majority of dashboard solutions also offer the option to drill-down to the underlying data.
And certain off-the-shelf solutions allow businesses to create a bespoke dashboard using widgets that pull data from popular tools and software such as Google Analytics and Microsoft Excel, and may also allow you to add customer data from various data feeds that can be easily set up by a developer.
5. Arranging a cash facility when it’s needed
The ability to draw on cash when the business needs it most is a talent that even the most experienced FDs will struggle with. Typically there will be a number of reasons why FDs are required to bolster working capital, such as:
- Alleviate the pain of long payment terms
- Seasonal fluctuations in overheads
- Paying for supplies, goods or services
FDs are usually put off by arranging cash facilities such as overdrafts as cost is typically a big setback and getting the overdraft approved isn’t always quick. Ironically, this removes the convenience that short-term access to cash should provide.
However, mechanisms such as invoice discounting and selective early payment, which releases your own cash to you, can provide better options than debt finance such as an overdraft. There are typically no arrangement fees, no monthly fees and no minimum contract term. You also retain control of your entire service ledger.
If you’re using the Tungsten e-Invoicing solution, your business is already likely set up for selective early payment and can release your cash from your own approved invoices. Click here to find out if you’re eligible.
By planning ahead and arranging a cash facility in advance, you are saving yourself valuable time and any unnecessary anxiety in the future. The ability to draw cash when it’s needed is a solution that can get the business out of some very difficult situations.
6. Surround yourself with external expertise
FDs are often one of the leading figureheads in their business; someone people look up to and expect to know all the answers.
Surrounding yourself with a good team of external advisers can therefore be a useful and welcome source of support. Having a good team of advisers to feed you with the latest industry information and advice will help elevate your position in the business.
It is their job to ensure you have the best quality and latest information under your nose. You will be able to demonstrate to your peers that you understand the complex business landscape and have an eye on the latest trends in the industry.
Three key adviser appointments you should focus on include your:
- Audit partner – you need to appoint someone who won’t sit on the fence but who will make decisions quickly and provide advice and support with the business’s best interests at heart
- Corporate lawyer – a good corporate lawyer can listen to what your business wants and determine what it really needs, which sometimes is not the same. They must be creative, confident and have good judgment
- Corporate adviser/broker – if you have the need for a corporate adviser, they can be a valuable source of information, bringing advice, deals and competitor data to the table. They can often give sound advice when making difficult announcements to shareholders, the MD or the board
The difference between those FDs who do an outstanding job day in day out, and those who are able to do this while actually transforming the business, is the ability to identify the quickest and easiest wins first.
Quick wins will help the busiest FDs deliver transformational projects, demonstrating your ability as an outstanding business leader with exceptional capabilities.