Exactly 24 years ago today, FinanSys was founded with the mission to make finance and accounting processes more efficient. And since then, we’ve been helping thousands of finance professionals reduce manual tasks, improve reporting and analysis and automate their work to free up their time.
So, what can you do with all that extra time?
We recently conducted a poll in which we asked accounting and finance professionals this question:
If you had more spare time thanks to automated processes, how would you spend it during your working day?
The results were fascinating.
1. 14% would spend their saved time on forecasting 🔮
Of all the 4 options, forecasting was the least popular choice. It’s not surprising given that forecasting is often seen as a complex and time-consuming task. However, with the right finance system in place, forecasting can be quick and easy.
2. 21% would spend their saved time on more thorough analysis/reporting 🧮
Analysis and reporting are tasks that form the core of many finance professionals’ roles. Almost every professional in this field has to spend at least some of their time on these activities. It’s therefore not surprising that only a fifth of respondents said they would spend their extra time on these tasks.
3. 21% would spend their saved time mitigating future risks ⚠️
With so much uncertainty in the world of finance, it’s no wonder that finance professionals are keen to spend their time on risk mitigation. By identifying and addressing risks early on, finance professionals can, hopefully, avoid any potential problems further down the line.
4. 43% would spend their saved time on professional development 💪
This was the most popular choice, with almost half of respondents saying they would spend their extra time on professional development. Professional development can take many forms, from upskilling to stay ahead of the curve or taking training courses, to obtaining new certifications or learning new software, as long as it helps finance professionals to improve their skills and knowledge.
Aside from these four options, what other activities could you spend your time on once you’ve automated your finance processes?
Here are some more ideas:
5. More mental bandwidth to get creative 🎨
With automation taking care of routine and mundane tasks, finance professionals can spend more time coming up with innovative solutions to problems and creating different or better ways to do things.
6. More time = Less stress for time-sensitive tasks ⌛
With less pressure to complete tasks quickly, finance professionals can take their time to do things properly. This is especially important for tasks that are time-sensitive or need a high degree of accuracy.
7. Less time on mundane tasks = more time feeling excited and pumped about work 🙏🏽
Mundane tasks can be a real drag, and they can make it hard to stay motivated at work. When you use automation to reduce the amount of time spent on these tasks, you can use the extra time to do work that you’re actually passionate about.
8. Greater opportunity to reduce costs and save money 📉
Automated processes allow the finance team more time to save the organisation money and increase profitability by analysing expenses and looking at possible improvements in cash flow management, reducing debts, negotiating with suppliers, cost control, forecasting, maximising pricing, planning for profit, and better reporting of information to facilitate better decision-making.
9. More time for proper critical thinking 🧠
Critical thinking is one of the most important skills for any finance professional. Once you’ve automated your work and have successfully freed up your time, you can use the free time to really think through problems and come up with the best possible solutions.
10. More time to develop stronger relationships with clients and stakeholders 🤝🏻
Finance professionals often have to work with clients or stakeholders who may not have a lot of financial knowledge. As the finance function is being automated, use the free time to build stronger relationships with these clients as well as external and internal stakeholders, and ensure that they understand the work that the finance team is doing.
11. More time to understand the business 🤔
Finance professionals are in a unique position to understand how different areas of the business operate and how they impact each other. With automation in full swing, refocus your time on learning about different parts of the business and how they can be improved.
12. More headspace for business outlook and strategy 📅
Finance professionals are often involved in planning and setting the strategic direction of the organisation. By automating routine tasks, you can use your free time to work on the business outlook and strategy, and ensure that the organisation is on track to achieve its goals.
13. More time to empower team members 🚀
Accounting and finance professionals often have a lot of knowledge and expertise from which other team members can benefit. Whether it’s training and mentoring junior staff or sharing your knowledge with other departments, you can use automation to free up time to empower your team.
14. More time for process improvement ⚙️
Automation can help to improve finance processes, but it’s also important to review and improve these processes on a regular basis. When you’ve automated routine tasks, channel your free time to work on process improvement to ensure that the finance team is as efficient and effective as possible.
15. Greater opportunity to develop new ideas that generate business value 💹
The finance team is in a unique position to identify new ideas that can generate value for the organisation. Use your automated time to work on these ideas and develop them into tangible business proposals.
16. More time to meet expectations and business goals ✔️
From revenue growth to cost reduction to customer satisfaction, the business has a lot of different goals. It’s important for the finance team to understand these goals and work towards meeting them. Your free time from automated processes can be utilised to work on this.
17. More time to meet deadlines and avoid penalties 📝
The faster the finance team is able to do things like generate reports, the less likely it is that deadlines will be missed and penalties incurred. Automation can help to improve the accuracy and speed of financial reporting and give you more time to meet deadlines.
18. More time for ad hoc tasks that pop up unexpectedly 🔥
There’s always something that needs to be done in finance, and it’s not always possible to predict what it will be. When your accounting operations are automated, your free time can be redistributed to deal with these ad hoc tasks as they come up.
19. More time to predict trends that could affect the organisation and plan accordingly
The finance team is in a unique position to identify trends that could impact the business, and automation can give you more time to do this. By understanding these trends, you can help the organisation to plan for them and avoid any negative impacts.
20. More time developing and implementing financial policies 💷
Finance professionals play an essential role in developing and implementing financial policies. Automate mundane tasks and focus your time and energy on working on this to ensure that the policies are effective and fit for purpose.
21. More time liaising with auditors and other external parties 🕴️
Finance professionals are often the point of contact for auditors and other external parties. Channel your free time to deal with these parties and ensure that they have the information they need.
22. More time networking (online and offline) 🗣️
Connecting with other professionals in your field is a great way to stay up to date with developments and trends. It can also help you to develop new ideas and find solutions to problems. Automate your processes and use your extra time to network, both online and offline.
23. More time writing articles, blog posts or whitepapers 💡
Sharing your knowledge and expertise can be a great way to build your reputation and generate new business leads. When you automate routine tasks, you can use your free time to write articles, blog posts or whitepapers for your company blog and your LinkedIn.
24. More time for you 🔋
Finally, don’t forget to use some of the extra time that automation gives you to take care of yourself. Whether it’s taking a break to relax and recharge, make sure you spend some time on things that make you happy.
The benefits of automation in finance are evident. It can have a huge impact, not only on the finance team but on the whole organisation and on the individual.
For the finance team, automation can lead to improved accuracy and efficiency, freeing up time to focus on more strategic tasks. For the organisation, it can mean better decision-making, improved financial planning and a reduced risk of penalties. And for the individual, it can mean more time to focus on development and overall career growth and satisfaction.
We hope the 24 things on this list have given you some ideas on how you can use your extra time, courtesy of automation, to improve your work and career.
It’s been 24 years since we started out on our mission to make financial automation easy. In that time, we’ve helped thousands of finance professionals automate their work, freeing up time to focus on other value-added tasks.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you, please get in touch.