If client wins and ROI are the most celebrated part of agency life, finance and accounts operations are the unsung heroes!
There’s no point bringing in swathes of new clients if you haven’t got the accounting infrastructure and its related processes in place. When your cash flow and tax compliance is expertly sorted and reported, business works so much better!
Here, our Financial Controller, Kathryn Bradshaw, shares five key tips for ensuring smart business practices.
1. Learn the business you are working in – you can’t make a difference in finance if you don’t understand how the business works!
Getting to grips with the business you are joining should be your first port of call when taking on a finance role. If you want to make a difference you need to understand what the business is all about – from day-to-day operations and processes currently in place, through to the industry’s particular quirks. Are there reasons for piques and troughs owing to sector-specific trends through the year. Nail down the learning and you’re on the fast track to hitting those business objectives.
2. Always have clear and robust internal processes from Quote to Cash and Purchase to Pay
It makes life so much easier for everyone involved if there is a structure and process in place. Make sure that any processes are clear and easily communicable across senior teams. Have back ups to your main process for those out of scope situations that are bound to crop up.
3. Set budgets and targets at the beginning of the year and deal with any curveballs as and when they arrive
Common sense tells you that planning ahead makes good business practice but sometimes certain financial factors can fly under the radar. At the start of each financial year, set your budgets and targets and create a forecast for the year that will enable regular tracking. No 12-month period ever goes smoothly without a hiccup or two so account for contingency in the case of mid-year curveballs. You know they are going to happen; just be prepared to tackle them head on when they do.
4. Finance isn’t just about numbers
When it comes to finance, you’re not just going to be sat all day number crunching. Your understanding of the business and its accounts is essential for feeding into business support, strategy and planning. Oh, and then more planning on top just for good measure. No two days are ever the same.
5. Teamwork is essential – you can’t do your job well without the support of the teams around you
In all sectors of business working, teamwork can often become a buzzword but it’s true. While the finance and accounts team can install process, for them to function successfully you need your account management and delivery teams to communicate well and ensure smooth running.
At the end of the day, looking after your financial and accounting systems should be the number one priority for a business setting out its annual objectives. Making sure that you understand business dealings and communicate effectively with your wider team is key to delivering on those targets.