So that no one can accuse me of writing clickbait, the answer is: Two. If you are trying to organise your finance team with more than a single source of tasks and workflow, you need a better workflow tool.
As accountants, we have an innate inclination to compartmentalise. We love to neatly colour-code and organise everything into its rightful place. However, this borderline obsessive need for orderliness often extends to how we manage our time, tasks, and workflows. Finance teams will create multiple checklists to try and organise work—one for month-end close, one for internal reporting, another for year-end financial statements, and the list goes on. We become like frenzied squirrels hoarding checklists. This is one of those situations where we as accountants must go against our instincts and start amalgamating rather than compartmentalising.
While checklists are an essential tool when managing a finance team; relying on multiple fragmented lists creates more confusion than clarity. The decentralized workflow makes it impossible for a finance manager to gauge their team's workload without having to painstakingly wade through multiple Excel spreadsheets and analyse task allocation. It's like attempting to not only solve a Rubik's Cube but also compare the progress your team is making to solve 8 Rubik's Cubes—it's an exercise in frustration and nearly impossible to get a simple snapshot of where the team stands. All work performed by members of the finance team is interconnected, so it should not be managed as if it is a collection of unrelated stand-alone projects. It's time to move to a more holistic approach to managing workflow.
Along with the difficulty in reviewing data stored in multiple locations, it also brings obvious risks to the team. Items that are not front of mind and readily accessible are easily forgotten or ignored. Without a centralized system to track the teams’ progress, reassigning work is not easy. There's no guarantee that the reallocation will be noticed without relying on having to have additional discussions or team meetings that just eat up the already short amount of time accountants have. Moreover, there's no efficient way to check if the reallocation clashes with other work the team member needs to perform that is documented in a separate location. It's a recipe for confusion, frustration, and potential bottlenecks.
The solution to these issues lies in having the right tools for the job, and in this case, specialised software designed explicitly for finance teams. Our work is unique, and we need tools that reflect this. Gone are the days of trying to use only Excel or software another team uses and happens to have some spare licenses for. It's time to embrace software that provides dedicated dashboards for month-end close, not a generic projects module hastily renamed each month-end to the current month to try and make it month-end software. With specialised software, you can bid adieu to the Excel chaos and welcome a centralised platform that simplifies task allocation, tracks progress and provides real-time insights.
If you would like to know more about how Easy Month End can help your finance team bring all your tasks under one dashboard, then get in contact. We want to give you the tools you deserve.