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Maximizing revenue potential: 4 strategies to improve your financial operations
Posted by Grace Townsley
June 8, 2023
Every small business, no matter its size, industry or product, aims to be stable, successful, growth-focused and profitable. But these basic goals are much easier to list than to achieve!
Creating long-term success requires a strong commitment to effective financial operations and optimized revenue management. Two foundational goals many businesses struggle to achieve.
In this article, we’ll take a look at why streamlined financial operations are essential to your company’s viability — and four practical strategies you can use to optimize those operations every month.
What are financial operations?
The careful management of your financial processes and procedures is collectively known as financial operations. Together, these processes and procedures guide your business’s financial health, growth potential and bottom line.
From meticulous accounting and bookkeeping to strategic financial planning, and cash flow management, your financial operations give your leaders insight into company performance, risks and opportunities, and critical decision-making data.
Unfortunately, the most common reason an estimated 33% of small businesses fail within their first two years of operation is poor revenue management. These businesses could have a great idea, a dynamic team and a perfect product-market fit. But without strategic, streamlined and optimized financial operations, they struggle to perform.
How can you optimize your financial operations?
Optimizing your financial operations requires an integrated strategy that leverages process improvements, automation, software tools and proactive planning. These four strategies can work together to help you streamline your financial operations and increase efficiency:
Financial operations strategy #1: Use process mining to visualize your strengths and gaps
Process mining is a data-driven technique business leaders can use to analyze and visualize the business processes within their company.
To develop your process map, gather data from your key business systems, like your ERP system, CRM software and accounting systems, to see how processes are being executed.
For example, if your business sells products online and in-store, you probably have both an e-commerce tool and a point-of-sale system in your storefront, plus an accounting software that manages both. To use process mining to better understand your order fulfillment process, you should pull data like order details, timestamps, payment information and inventory updates from all three systems.
Using process mining software, you can then analyze this data and create a detailed visual representation of how your inventory moves from storage to the shelf, to your customers’ carts and to their homes. That report can reveal areas of improvement, points that can be automated and wasted costs.
That’s one small example of how you can use process mining to improve your financial operations. Similarly, it can be applied to any part of your financial processes to optimize your performance, reduce errors and save your team time.
Financial operations strategy #2: Evaluate and refine your financial operations
After using process mining to identify areas of improvement in your operations, it’s time to evaluate the effectiveness and value of each process.
As you look at processes like month-end close, your vendor payment process and payroll, ask yourself (and your team!), is there a particular reason that the process is completed this way? Beyond small improvements and optimizations, does this process need a full overhaul? Is this process still necessary?
If it’s been a while since you evaluated your processes, you may find that some are no longer necessary or beneficial to your business. A new tool may complete the task you’re doing manually — more efficiently and in a fraction of the time. Or an old reporting process may be redundant now that you’re outsourcing your accounting tasks.
Financial operations strategy #3: Leverage the right technology
Technology plays a significant role in the effectiveness and accuracy of your financial operations. Software that can automate your repetitive tasks, like data entry, data transfer and reconciliation, can free up your team’s valuable time — and reduce the risk of human error.
As you’re streamlining your financial processes, look for accounting software solutions, expense management tools, and cloud-based platforms that offer real-time access to your essential financial data. Not only can these tech tools optimize your financial operations, but they can also help you uncover areas of waste, growth and redundancy.
Financial operations strategy #4: Lean into automation and outsourcing
The final strategy you can use to improve your financial operations is to use outsourcing and automation to accelerate your processes.
When it comes to making business decisions, real-time data is key. But many small businesses struggle to complete month-end closing, reconciliation and data entry in a timely manner. That leaves business leaders stuck — or forced to make major decisions without all the necessary data.
By integrating automation and outsourcing into your monthly processes, you can complete key revenue management tasks in a matter of minutes or days, not weeks. As your financial reports, invoicing, cash flow monitoring and sales data update faster, your team can make stronger decisions in less time — yielding better long-term benefits for your company.
Stability, growth and profitability are possible when your financial processes are streamlined, your systems are useful, and you leverage automation and outsourcing to keep your team agile. That’s why prioritizing careful financial operations is key to setting the stage for long-term business success.
Want more? In addition to taxes, accounting, bookkeeping and CFO services through its FinOps, Escalon’s Essential Business Services include PeopleOps (HR, benefits, recruiting and payroll) and Risk (business insurance). Talk to an expert today.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. Escalon and its affiliates are not providing tax, legal or accounting advice in this article. If you would like to engage with Escalon, please contact ushere.
As a professional copywriter in the finance and B2B space, Grace Townsley offers small business leaders big insights—one precisely chosen word at a time. Let's connect!