Did you know that the average employee spends about 25% of their time in meetings? And at executive level, that figure rises to a whopping 90%!
Employee feedback indicates that about 37% of this meeting time is wasted, costing businesses $37billion a year in wasted working hours – no wonder 90% of finance professionals say that are under pressure to complete the month-end close faster.
But month-end close meetings are essential!
Many of you will relate to these shocking statistics, particularly if you work in a small finance team. Daily meetings are essential to feedback status updates, manage your team’s workload, and plan your month-end close. Without them no one would be able to share a particularly heavy workload, or find support for some tricky reconciliations. Soon you would find that while one member of staff had completed their reconciliations in record time, another was struggling to keep up.
Is there any way to bypass these meetings, yet still balance the workload?
Utilising technology to cut down on time
Most companies will, at some point, have tried a technological approach. After all, technology has sped up communication in our personal lives, why not during the month-end financial close?
Some work-arounds have included communicating solely by email, using a shared Excel spreadsheet to track status updates for team members, and implementing internal chat systems. Yet each of these options has significant issues:
Email – While email communication may be pretty much instant, it still wastes a great deal of time. A study by Microsoft found that, on average, every time a person checked their email took more than 9 minutes and it took a further 16 minutes to refocus on the previous task. When you consider that workers receive an average of 40 emails a day, rising to over 100 for some, then you can begin to understand where all that time goes!
Shared spreadsheet – A shared Excel spreadsheet may sound like a clever work-around, but will employees actually keep it up-to-date? Even if they did, it probably wouldn’t save much more time than it took to update. And where would it be hosted? If it is stored in a shared folder then there is a good chance that updates will overwrite one another, and it can be difficult to track those changes.
Internal chat – Internal instant chat systems can be a good way of communicating status updates and issues to your team quickly. Yet this information can easily be missed if you are busy in a meeting or out of the office. What’s more, there are a number of governance issues that need to be considered, such as what defines inappropriate use and the sharing of sensitive information.
Is there a way to balance our workload?
At this point it may be starting to sound a little hopeless. If meetings are eating up too much time and technological work-arounds all have significant issues, then what is a small finance department supposed to do?
Fortunately, Adra Match picked up on this issue facing finance teams, which is why we added a Homepage and Dashboard to our BALANCER software.
The new Homepage and Dashboard feature provides a complete overview of the status of the overall close – your own tasks in particular, as well as colleagues’ status updates. Visual charts and graphs also display the status of key accounts and items in different risk categories.
This complete at-a-glance overview means that finance staff can quickly and easily organise their own workload, help others who may be falling behind, and autonomously manage a smooth and efficient month-end close process.
In short: status meetings become redundant.