finance teams

4 Ways Startups Can Empower Their Remote Finance Teams

Latest posts by Rahul Radhakrishnan (see all)

Finance teams worldwide emerged as strategic leaders for startups with the onset of the pandemic by recognizing ways to efficiently manage remote teams, their finances, company operations and associated cost-cutting mechanisms.

Now more than ever, as the remote work landscape continues to change, startup leaders need to reevaluate whether they’ve enabled their finance teams enough to scale the excellent work. 

The following article revolves around the different ways startups can aptly enable and engage their finance teams to ensure a healthy and sustainable balance as we adapt to a series of new normals.

What challenges do remote finance teams face?

Being dependent on almost every department to complete tasks, finance teams typically work via long emails, multiple back-and-forths with employees, and in-person physical interactions to get the job done. 

Handling these tasks while working out of an office was largely straightforward, but having distributed teams has brought its own challenges that require leaders to reevaluate and simplify processes for its employees. 

Here are the most common issues finance teams face:

  • Critical functions like payroll, AP & AR, and expense management weaken with employees working remotely.
  • Processes like expense reporting become lengthy and tiresome, leading to delayed reimbursements.
  • There’s little to no visibility or control into organization-wide expenses and spending habits.
  • The lack of control may result in financial leaks, resulting in more damage if employees commit fraud by submitting duplicate expenses.
  • Zero control over cash flow and literally no way to know the real-time state of company financials.

While these challenges may appear significant, there are easy and inexpensive solutions that can work as permanent fixes such as better communication and collaboration tools or an automated expense management software to manage business expenses. So let’s get to it!


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4 ways to empower remote finance teams

  • Motivate employees to adapt to remote work.

As employees move from their well-equipped offices to their ill-equipped homes, it’s unfair to demand the same productivity levels, given that they don’t have access to the same number of resources. Thus, startup owners must look into the different ways they can enable their employees to adapt to the change quickly if you haven’t already.

A simple idea to get you started would be to offer your employees a small amount of money to set up a well-equipped home office. The funds can cover essential purchases like an office chair, table, and power and internet access. In addition, you should invest in software to help them communicate with each other like webinar platforms.  This will play a crucial role in helping employees bridge the gap between office and remote work.

  • Get to know your finance teams, personally

Understanding what a regular day looks like for your finance teams helps leaders understand the nuances of what needs to change and why.

Take, for instance, expense management, a core function dreaded by most finance teams. If startup owners were to delve deeper into the problem and understand why finance teams and employees hate the process so much, common answers would be multiple back-and-forth conversations between departments, constant follow-ups, tight deadlines, late submissions, etc. 

If your finance teams complain about the same issues, the easiest solution for startups is to automate their expense management with expense software that can streamline all aspects of the process and free up more time to get more work done. Similarly, if founders spend more time with finance employees to understand and address their other pain points, the end result would be amenable for all teams.

  • Boost overall financial and employee productivity 

Let’s face it — businesses can improve their overall productivity only when they remove or automate all processes that have loopholes or require more time and effort.

The right set of collaboration tools are going to benefit every department in your organization. As a result, productivity is no longer dependent on the number of miles between your employees but on their innate ability to adapt quickly.

Startups can use these tools to improve employee collaboration and productivity:

  1. Slack: communication of all work-related matters.
  2. Notion: document anything, anytime, anywhere.
  3. Fyle: for an easy expense management process.
  4. Zoom: for all your video-conferencing needs.
  5. Google Drive: a secure cloud for all your files.
  6. Trello: to track tasks across all your teams.
  •  Motivate employees to use automation-driven technology

Ensure your employees understand that software isn’t going to go after their jobs but rather will help them address the inherent issues of changing circumstances. 

This simple shift from a traditional mindset will help automate tedious traditional processes like expense reporting, approvals, and verifications by adding a layer of accuracy. In addition, advanced data analytics provide real-time analytics that gives financial ammo to back strategic decisions taken by executives to position the brand aptly.

By making the job easy for finance teams, they will feel enabled to create the path for the next new normal.

Conclusion

Adopting a transformative mindset can help startups survive challenging times, like the continuing shift to remote work. The only way to be sure that you’ve done your part in enabling your teams is to help your employees do their work.


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