Email. What a wonderful thing. Being able to instantly communicate has made our work so much more productive…
…or has it?
Research by the Warwick Business School found that, since 1973, productivity had only risen by 2%. That means that despite all our technological advances we are barely more productive than we were forty years ago. So what’s going on? Where are we losing all of our time?
Overwhelmed by email
According to a study by McKinsey, office workers spend around 28% of their time reading and answering email and another 14% communicating and collaborating internally.
Another study by Microsoft found that, on average, every time a person checked their email it took more than 9 minutes, with 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 our time goes!
Email is disrupting the month-end financial close
Assuming they work an eight-hour day, the figures above suggest that workers spend around three hours a day reading and responding to emails. That’s nearly two working days a week. That seems ridiculous given that 78% of organisations take over three days to close their books. Shouldn’t we be looking for ways to minimise email use in order to speed up our monthly financial close? After all, 90% of finance staff said that they were under pressure to close the books faster.
The problem is that in big organisations people tend to be highly dispersed. You may have teams in other parts of the country and even perhaps in other countries. In order to organise your workload, collaborate on tasks, and support colleagues with a heavy workload, you need to keep everyone else updated on your status. In a small office that might mean a quick meeting once or twice a day. But for a big organisation it means one thing: emails.
Time for some balance
Technology such as instant messaging and document sharing platforms can help, but are only really a half-measure. To really solve this problem with emails, finance staff need a platform that automates the very status updates necessary to organise effectively.
The new Home Page and Dashboard features recently added to BALANCER do exactly that. As well as automating much of the manual work involved in the month-end close reconciliation process, BALANCER now provides a complete overview of the status of your overall close, your tasks in particular, as well as colleagues accounts. 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 falling behind, and can autonomously manage a smooth and efficient month-end close process…all without a single email being sent.