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How to Adapt to a New Way of Working During COVID-19

By Sarah Spoja, CFO, Tipalti 

As companies across the world are working remotely, and the stock market is disrupted, a company’s finance team must be at peak performance during this time of change.

In this new landscape, we must adapt to a 24/7 environment. Physically, people are not conducting business in an office—they’re Working From Home and navigating an entirely different work-style.

With a global company, it’s essential to be able to function virtually and on-demand. And the only way to succeed is to have the right systems and processes in place. Now is the time to take a hard look at your financial operations and see if you can answer the following questions:

  1. Are your processes 100% cloud-based to allow 24/7 collaborative access for your finance team?
  2. Do you have strong financial controls in place so that your company is not exposed to greater fraud, tax, regulatory, and audit risk even while working remotely?

 As a financial leader, it’s important to find ways to deliver more with less by applying smart cost and working capital controls while ensuring Work From Home productivity and addressing operational risks.

Today, finance teams will need to lean into digitizing all solutions they can. It’s vital to build collaborative processes that don’t require physically being together—this is the new norm.

Sarah Spoja
Sarah Spoja

Second, it’s imperative to put infrastructures and documentation in place for your standard processes. There needs to be a fluid trade-off of roles—especially with a remote, lean team. Your finance operations shouldn’t come to a halt because of unforeseen circumstances. And partnering with appropriate technologies can help mitigate this risk dramatically.

  • Be More Efficient by Optimizing Processes

Eliminating a significant portion of the finance workload with smart automation allows your team to re-focus resources on what matters most.

Look for solutions that enable productivity—technologies that are cloud-based and allow for remote management of all operations. In the finance function, many time-consuming processes are still manual. Utilize this time to identify ways to optimize operations while cutting costs.

When evaluating potential technology partners, look for solutions that offer digital workflows and electronic payment methods. Also, find a platform with built-in controls and audit-trails that ensure strong governance in a mobile workforce environment. Streamlined management across multiple geographies is critical and improves visibility into all financial activities.

  • Streamline Global Operations

A global company is well-suited to a distributed workforce—you’ve already been managing cross-border financial processes remotely.

Maximizing your global operations is crucial during this time. Evaluate your subsidiary capabilities to ensure you have a single, scalable, secure platform with a consolidated view. Also, look into tools with real-time integrations and data visibility to help accelerate your financial close.

  • Invest in Value-Based Solutions

In today’s landscape, it’s key to implement solutions that allow you to get up and running quickly and efficiently. Find comprehensive, scalable, adaptable, and modern end-to-end technologies with enterprise-grade financial controls.

When evaluating, look for these features:

  • 100% automated approval workflows with AI-based routing
  • On-demand onboarding and complete visibility into the platform
  • Multi-subsidiary capabilities that allow a distributed organization across various geographies to continue working as normal from home

 

  • Ensure Security & Peace of Mind

In this heightened environment, it’s important to avoid non-compliance penalties. Now is not the time for tax and GDPR penalties, fraud losses, and regulatory fines.

Ensure system security with multi-factor authentication and IP restrictions, data protection and encryption, role-based security and audit trails, guaranteed operational security, and complete segregation of duties with redundancy, disaster recovery, and data backups.

Also, limit physical restraints with controls and approvals. Dual authority controls (to write a check, pay a credit card bill, or respond to an invoice) reduce risk, but if not set up correctly they can become increasingly difficult in a remote work environment—especially if you don’t have an automated system in place. Ensure dual authority in every aspect of your remote operations by finding solutions that allow you to designate approval requirements in the system. Now is the perfect time to fully commit to a paperless operation, including how you manage funds.

  • A New Way of Working

As a financial leader, you’re consulting, advising, and influencing your peers—that communication has to remain effective in a digital environment. Increase the cadence of check-ins with your peers and business partners to ensure that they have what they need from finance to be successful. On your team, make sure that everyone knows their roles and priorities. Having the right tools in place will be crucial to success.

To survive, you must transform your productivity and cost structure, think strategically about how you operate and make a commitment to positive returns.

You have a responsibility to be the glue across your organization. Focused adaptability during this time ensures that your business can weather the storm long-term—take this opportunity to find the right way through the chaos.