Transactional Finance

When a S151 Officer is new to an organisation, alongside delivering their statutory function efficiently, they will want to understand how the organisation works.

Even if the organisation is meeting its statutory reporting requirements, does it do so easily? If not, why not?

By ensuring accuracy, efficiency, and compliance, transactional finance is the backbone of all financial operations, so it should always be the basic starting point for identifying issues and for working towards efficiency.

We were approached by a Director of Finance who had been in post for just a few months and was frustrated because almost every transactional finance function was cumbersome, and it seemed almost impossible to get direct answers as to why.  There were difficulties and delays in providing timely, accurate and meaningful financial and operating information. Some of the most simple and fundamental functions were unwieldy and time consuming.

We were commissioned to undertake a review of transactional finance activities, to understand the pressures and identify opportunities for delivering efficiencies.

Our approach

First of all, we looked at the main finance functions; invoicing, accounts payable and receivable, cash management, financial reporting and bank reconciliation. We focused on what worked well, what did not work so well and why that was happening. We reviewed policies, procedures, processes, digital systems. We then extended our work to capture higher-level finance functions, such as budget monitoring and recharges.

We worked closely with the finance teams to understand how they did things, what their workloads were like and what challenges were stopping them working more efficiently. By shadowing the teams, we were able to identify a whole range of quick wins, as well as some longer-term solutions.

Following our review, we developed and implemented a ‘Brilliant Basics’ plan in collaboration with the finance team, that took a holistic approach to delivering efficiencies. Not only did this plan include changes to systems and processes, it delivered these in a way that supported development of skills and understanding around the importance of continuous review and improvement.

Performance data and Bottleneck analysis identified the pinch points. We worked through process mapping to find solutions and then monitored performance to check success.  Where backlogs were identified, we established the root cause and implemented solutions, including stripping out duplicate or non-value steps in processes, redistribution of workloads and resources, managing people differently, and implementing simple digital improvements.

Our Brilliant Basics plan delivered a host of quick wins, including:

 

 The Outcome

Getting the ‘brilliant basics’ right put the organisation in a great place for delivery of some longer-term recommendations and for moving on to more transformational change.

Our collaborative approach, coupled with delivery of quick wins, enabled the organisation to free up resource to focus on delivering a more efficient service through more reliable and streamlined processes, increased productivity and enhanced focus on performance.

We addressed some of the underlying cultural behaviours too; teams were given permission to explore, to use their knowledge and to be creative. The work helped teams understand the importance of taking ownership and accountability.

Our plan provided the S151 Officer with a level of confidence that the fundamentals were being better managed, that people understood what was expected of them and took responsibility for delivering accurate and meaningful financial information.

Contact our team to ask about our Brilliant Basics Review and how we can help you to identify opportunities to improve financial fundamentals and ensure accuracy, efficiency, and compliance.