10 Ideas for Finance New Years Resolutions in 2022

In Process Improvement by Tamara

Reading Time: 8 minutes

New Year, new finance-related resolutions to help improve your working life! Doesn’t really have the same ring to it as “New year, new me!” but we have some great ideas for those of you heading up finance teams who may be looking to make some significant process improvements in 2022.

We all start the new year with good intentions and nothing is more demotivating than not being able to keep up with your resolutions. However, hopefully, you will find these resolution ideas realistic and achievable. We’re not saying implement all 10, but it would be great if you could pick a couple to focus on in the first quarter of the year, maybe with the idea of implementing a few others later in the year.

1. Set clear objectives for the year

We wanted to start simple for resolution number 1. Something that we can all do on the return back from Christmas break is to set some clear objectives for the year ahead. Make a list, set some realistic dates and set up reminders or alerts to keep you on track. On those bigger objectives, break them down into smaller goals or tasks, it often helps make those larger projects or goals feel less daunting.

2. Develop your finance team

Another achievable goal to kick start the year is to put plans in place to develop your finance team. A good place to start is to speak to your team, get an understanding of what they think their strengths and weaknesses are, where they would like to be developed. Look at your team as a whole and identify any skill gaps or weaknesses. Sometimes your gut reaction is to hire in to fill those gaps, however, you may find that a little bit of training and development within your current team can help fill those gaps.

3. Increasing the automation of your finance processes

This resolution can actually have an influence over number 2. So many finance teams are bogged down in manual, repetitive tasks, duplicate data entry in multiple systems, manual reporting and revenue recognition postings. By adopting finance automation you will free up your finance team to focus on more important tasks that can have much more of an impact on your business, reduce the risk of human error and speed up key processes.

Automation starts with a strong core, you need a finance platform that can support and grow with your business, that can do the core processes well without the need for human intervention. Your processes should develop as your business develops, ensuring you have the right team with the right skills and the right technology will lead you to success.

This is a great place for you to start considering shifting to automating your finance processes.

4. Move away from spreadsheets

There is such thing as death by spreadsheets. We see it time and time again with businesses we work with. Excel is familiar, comforting and easily accessible which is usually why people default to using it or other similar spreadsheet tools. If you’re over-reliant on spreadsheets, drowning in V lookups, getting lost in complex formulas and using them to manage multi-entity, fixed assets and revenue recognition then you may be in need of an intervention! It is so easy to use a spreadsheet to fill a gap, perhaps your finance solution doesn’t have the functionality to help you, but maintaining those spreadsheets is not reliable or efficient. It can lead to human error, it’s time-consuming, there are security risks, scalability limitations and it’s costing you money, probably more than you realise.

Our first tip in combating this issue is doing an Excel (or spreadsheet) review. You should use this to try and get a gauge of what are you using spreadsheets for. To do this try and gather the following information about each spreadsheet your finance team uses:

  • Name
  • Type
  • Description
  • Owner
  • Location (local or Cloud)
  • Frequency of use
  • Time spent per month (time spent maintaining, using, reconciling, checking it etc)

This is a good way for you to see how many spreadsheets you and your team use (you’ll be surprised how many there actually are!) and also how much time is spent on maintaining and using them.

In the future we will be covering this topic more in-depth during our Financial Transformation Live sessions, click here to learn more and sign up to make sure you don’t miss it!

5. Take your purchasing digital

Some typical reasons CFO’s or finance leaders lie awake at night thinking of their purchasing problems:

  • You don’t know what invoices you have coming in
  • You have no idea what your team have committed to purchase
  • You only figure out if you have overspent after the fact

Getting in control of your purchasing is fundamental for finance teams, managing it on paper, or in spreadsheets just isn’t feasible. There’s no visibility across your team or the business and it can lead to major problems, like overspending.

In an ideal world, you need real-time visibility of your purchasing process, the ability to make purchasing decisions based on data you know you can rely on, no manual data entry and purchasing approval process for peace of mind.

Here are some resources to help you take your purchasing digital:

In the future we will be covering this topic more in-depth during our Financial Transformation Live sessions, click here to learn more and sign up to make sure you don’t miss it!

6. Shift to real-time reporting

Did you know, 70% of CFOs still make decisions based on gut feeling rather than actual data?

It is so hard for businesses to make decisions when you don’t trust your data. Whether that’s because it’s outdated or because of relying on manual data entry (or sometimes even both), how can businesses make accurate, timely decisions that boost performance if they don’t have the visibility they need?  

Executives, investors, shareholders, auditors and others want to know more than simply what has happened. They want to know why. Which leads you to be under pressure to deliver relevant information quickly.

Here are some resources to help you harness the power of real-time data:

7. Bring your Payroll in-house

A lot of businesses outsource their payroll to free up time, however, this comes at an additional cost. Oftentimes you will find you probably still contribute towards doing the payroll without really realising it, for example, collating timesheets, recording sickness and statutory leave so payroll can be processed. The actual doing of payroll is just a few extra steps from this, so why not bring it in house and save your business some money too?

If you are using Sage 50 Payroll or thinking of using it, we have a great blog on how you can bring your payroll in-house easily, here.

8. Get in control of your credit

Reliable credit control processes are an integral part of the successful running of any business.  We can’t afford to become complacent about credit control, with bad debt and cash flow issues named as two of the main reasons small businesses fail. A lot of businesses find credit control overwhelming, with huge administrative tasks, it’s very easy to become snowed under and fall behind. A good credit control tool can be the key to a healthy cash flow, happy staff and suppliers (they get paid on time!) and a much less stressed finance team.

We love a good credit control tool and sharing tips on how you can improve yours, take a look at some of our helpful resources below:

9. Switch to the Cloud

We understand that this one isn’t as simple as a click of a button. Switching to Cloud accounting isn’t a quick new years resolution, but it really could be the most impactful. If the last 18+ months have taught us anything, it’s the importance of the internet and the Cloud. The pandemic has been an eye-opener for so many businesses, particularly those that were not using Cloud software. We are all aware of the benefits of the Cloud now, but just in case it needs reinforcing, Cloud accounting can allow your finance team to work from anywhere with an internet connection, it’s cost-effective eliminating hardware costs, it opens you up to seamless integration with your other business systems and it also means you can hire talent from anywhere in the world.

You can learn more about switching to Cloud accounting and what Sage options are available to you, here.

10. Review your existing systems

Lastly, a great new years resolution idea is to review your existing systems. This is a great task to start off your new year. Start by thinking of technology gaps, what can be implemented to make your finance team more efficient? Where can manual processes be removed? What processes can be automated?

Next, review the tools you use. What are the drawbacks of your finance software? What pain points are you and your team experiencing with it? Can they be resolved with help from your software provider, perhaps some training? Or is it a case that you’ve outgrown your system and need something bigger and better?

New Year, new you

Hopefully, this has given you some inspiration for some New Years resolutions you can begin to implement in 2022. As you know, we help businesses like yours implement almost all of the resolutions we have mentioned above. As we have already said, starting a new year is a good time to evaluate and review your existing systems. If you would like some help with this, whether that’s helping you find the right product for your business or if you have a product in mind and you’d like to learn more about it, please reach out, we’d love to help you. You can get in touch with us using a contact form here, using our live chat system on the bottom right-hand side of the screen, via email or call us on 01824 780000.