Getting a team to work together efficiently can prove a challenge, especially if the team’s task is no fun and no one wants to finish it.
An inefficient team can cause unnecessary waste, missed delivery dates, and lots of unnecessary stress.
As a CFO who knows that invoice processing is hardly a fun task, how can you get your accounts payable (AP) team to work together productively, make the best use of their resources, and deliver quality results more quickly?
At Pyrus, we are keen to help teams achieve remarkable results while maintaining optimal efficiency.
Today, we’ll be talking about some of the things you can do as a CFO to unlock more of your accounts payable team’s potential.
Let’s jump right into it:
1. Set limits and targets
In the purest sense, efficiency is about accomplishing a task with minimal expense of time, money, and effort. It’s about decreasing resource requirements while increasing the results.
In the quest to optimize your accounts payable team, you might set time and cost limits, while setting a target around that limit.
The aim is not to restrict your AP workers from using the resources they have, but to get them to achieve best results within the shortest possible time, without compromising budget or quality.
Simplify your projects by breaking them into manageable pieces, each piece having its own milestone and deadline.
Be down-to-earth about what is possible within given constraints of time and money; don’t set targets that can’t be attained with your available resources.
Limiting resources against set goals ensures that your company is in it for the long haul. It will go a long way to saving you time and money while ensuring that your team does only the task that is most necessary at any given time, adding to your company’s overall bottom line.
3. Optimize your team’s communication
If teamwork is key to success in any large organization, then it certainly bears mentioning that communication is the key to successful teamwork.
Professional communication can get unwieldy, and sometimes it takes place across team boundaries.
As an executive leader, you have to keep your AP team in the loop about goals, deadlines, and the upper management’s expectations.
An intuitive internal communication tool makes it easy to keep everyone on the same page. And if you’re using that tool as a means of two-way communication, listening to what your employees say in turn, then you will surely only benefit.
3. Take advantage of the right tools
The technological upswing of the past decade has yielded many new ways for teams large and small to work together more efficiently.
Formerly difficult business processes have been greatly streamlined and your invoice approvals don’t need to be left out.
Tools like SAP or QuickBooks can help your office go paperless, for example, and turbocharge your team’s efficiency.
When you use the right tools the right way, your team will complete their tasks more quickly with less effort.
4. Automate your workflows
One foolproof way to boost your accounts payable team’s efficiency is to automate their workflows.
When you automate workflows, you not only streamline your processes, but you save time and money in the long run by keeping human errors to the barest minimum. There are at least 14 other benefits to automating workflows to be found here.
If you don’t know where to start, try Pyrus.
Pyrus is a brilliant accounts payable workflow automation tool that lets teams conquer their tasks and stay sane. This cloud-based software is also available on mobile.
With its user-friendly interface, Pyrus lets you:
- Streamline invoice workflows effectively
- Respond to approval requests quickly
- Automatically capture and validate data within seconds
- Keep your team on the same page even if you work remotely
- Assign and monitor processes
- Match invoices with POs
- Keep big-picture tabs on your payables, and even peruse the details
Furthermore, Pyrus is free for unlimited number of people. Even the largest accounts payable team in the world can start using it at no cost.
5. Allow flexible working conditions
Plenty of people still work in a conventional office setting today, but remote work is as popular as it’s ever been.
In a global survey conducted by software service provider PGi, 60% of part-time remote workers said they would be happy to leave their other job for a full-time remote position, given the opportunity.
Plenty of people are happier and more productive working from home or some other place of their choosing. After all, we live in the age of the smartphone and its instant connectivity. Why can’t we access our accounts payable information from anywhere yet? It turns out you can.
A worthwhile workflow automation tool like Pyrus will let you collaborate on a remote basis to process and approve invoices, and make it easy to do so.
6. Assign tasks more intelligently
As a company grows, its tasks like invoice processing get more complex. More and more, the executives depend on the work of the team below them in order to grow the company. They do it by delegating tasks effectively.
Effective delegation starts with matching the people who have the right skills with the task that most calls for those skills.
People are more eager to work in an environment where they get to put their best skills to use.
Delegating tasks to members of your AP team based on who is best-suited for that task will have a significant impact on the efficiency of that team.
7. Review and evaluate
As the financial chief of your company, it’s necessary that you evaluate your team’s performance to identify what’s working, what isn’t working, and what needs to change.
Whatever kind of “report card” you want to give, let it serve as a way to steer your team. After all, teams work better when they know where they are going and why.
Here are some ideas for effectively evaluating of your accounts payable team:
- Keep an eye on invoice metrics like the number of invoices processed or hours worked. To track these metrics, you can use a workflow management software like Pyrus, a common spreadsheet like Google Sheets, or some other kind of accountability system that can track team metrics.
- During the appraisal, brainstorm for ideas on how best to achieve your set targets and improve processes and workflows.
- Be on the lookout for areas that need improvement.
- Remove redundancies.
- Eliminate other steps that no longer apply when platforms change.
Goal-focused evaluation will help you identify ways to boost efficiency in your team. Just remember to meet every goal with action.
8. Acknowledge exceptional performance
Don’t be the type of boss who only provides negative feedback.
While constructive criticisms can help shape the team’s performance, appropriate application of positive feedback can do the magic of boosting their confidence and encouraging along in their tasks. Recognize people for good work; wouldn’t you want your own good work acknowledged?
9. Bring in a little bit of fun
Invoice processing is rather plainly a boring task, so, you need to find ways to bring fun into the mix.
You can set the tone for an appropriate level of levity among team members by creating opportunities for them to laugh together and loosen up.
Happy hour, bowling, intramural sports with another company; these ideas and more help bring some lightheartedness to the workplace.
Activities like these can reduce work-related stress and strengthen their team bond, which only builds positive momentum for efficiency and productivity.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to get your team to work together efficiently. It may not sound like an easy task, but it’s achievable with the appropriate tools, attention, and action.
In our bias, we hope you try out Pyrus, but you ought also to try any of the above ideas in order to more fully optimize your team.