The COVID crisis has shown that A/R and finance departments in enterprise organizations can function successfully, even without the whole team (or parts of it) working from the office. While it is true that we have all gotten used to remote-working now, with the economy slowly opening, a lot of us might be returning to the office soon. In order to effectively plan this transition, while avoiding any knee-jerk reactions to your finance operations continuity, leaders today need a plan.
Here are ten actionable insights that HighRadius has collated from conversations with various industry experts and practitioners, that you should be following for success in the aftermath of the COVID crisis.
Frequently align on business expectations
Communicate new strategies around investment-reassessments, budgeting, or forecasting to your department. Based on targeted working capital and cash flow, you need to redefine KPIs for your finance and treasury teams. Also, make sure that your teams are communicating seamlessly with your customers, informing them about developments like new system integrations or payment term related updates.
Monitor and model every risk point of your P2P and O2C processes
Map your cash flow drivers to ensure control of the cash conversion cycle
. In order to create a better buyer-supplier relationship, tracking drivers of payment and receipts is imperative. Ensure that your A/R and treasury teams are operating in sync to achieve this objective.
Foster more communication and better collaboration
Collaboration between your sales and A/R team for two-way success. A/R could help sales in identifying customers with strong financial positions in the market (who should hence be targeted for future sales), while sales could put A/R in touch with non-responsive delinquent customers by leveraging their relationship.
Build a 'Know-Your-Customers' culture
Ensure that your customer financial service teams are focused on building meaningful customer relationships. These relationships, along with a good understanding of what the customer does, their market, etc. is key in dealing with common concerns that arise during a crisis like this.
Be a good leader
As a finance leader, you need to invest in your team’s continuous learning. A daily dose of motivation can help them align better with their professional goals. Allow them to cross-train so that the workforce can benefit from the expertise of each other which will foster a more collaborative environment internally.
Invest in networking with professional peers and colleagues
Ensure that your generationally diverse workforce is able to learn from each other and develop a convivial work environment. Even beyond the internal workspace, invest in networking with your bank partners, customers, technology partners, suppliers, and consultants both professionally and personally.
Prioritize your workforce
For long term success, you need to prioritize your workforce. Creating a department-wide framework to share common remote working best practices will foster adaptability. Identify talent and use your observations for moving resources to more strategic business roles.
Focus on security and controls
Invest in getting your workforce trained in cybersecurity and other compliance requirements to mitigate any business risks.
Experiment and Innovate
Devise innovative methods to leverage technology and encourage your teams to do the same. Let them get over the fear of the unknown, by helping them understand technology better. Drive home the point- that automation is an enabler, not a replacement.
Invest in right-sizing technology
Adopt a solution that suits best to your company’s growth and business requirements while investing in a digital transformation initiative. Scope management is key to your role as an executive leading a transformation project in a cash strapped economy.
Even after the pandemic retreats, virtual collaboration in O2C functions will become a permanent norm for most businesses. It is the combination of the three levers of any organization - people, process, and technology that will help enable a crisis-proof environment.
For more in-depth information, on this subject, check out the webinar below.