Process errors are inevitable when you’re operating your business with manual processes. Someone will forget about an email or input the wrong information in a system. But, when it comes to the finance department, process errors can make big impacts. Your financial department needs to be consistent and reliable. Perhaps even more so than is required of other areas of your business.
Many new customers arrive at Pipefy seeking a controlled, consistent and no-code tool to manage financial processes like, budget requests or employee reimbursement. You’d be surprised how many companies have not yet implemented automated workflows for these types of operations.
“We just send the responsible person a slack message.” “We email one of the people from the finance team.” “We talk to each other and make requests during meetings or coffee breaks.” Sound familiar? These are probably the top three “solutions” we hear from our prospects. Managing operations in this manner leads to errors, and this is why your company should standardize your finance processes.
3 common problems when processing Financial Requests
1 - An error occurred and you don’t know who should be accountable
What if you negotiate a discount and a payment method with a certain client. You send the billing team an email with the details to update the system. On that day the billing team had many things to do, opened the email and forgot to process your request. The following month you receive an email from your client telling you that his invoice is wrong and that it wasn’t what you agreed on the previous month.
Who is responsible for that and will be accountable for this mistake? If you don’t know who opened the email you have no one to send the feedback that something went wrong and it shouldn’t happen again.
Worse than that, if it happened once probably it won’t be an isolated event and your customers will start to be disappointed, negatively affecting their trust in your product and service.
2 - Someone is on vacation or leave and projects stop because something is pending
Let’s pretend I’m from the marketing team and I need a budget adjustment to be approved for a new campaign we are releasing. I sent John, from the finance team, an email asking him to take a look at my request as soon as possible because we can’t lose momentum for the project.
What I didn’t know was that John was going on vacation the next day and wasn’t able to process my request on his last day at the office. A week later I tried to send him an email already desperate to have an answer and I received an “Out of the Office” reply. My manager will be super disappointed, my team won’t be able to release the campaign on time and the company won’t have the results it needed at the end of the month.
Having only one person receiving this kind of request can be really tricky, especially as teams are now largely dispersed. How can everyone be aware of each other’s vacation plans? How long before the vacation should we start to redirect requests to someone else? Who will be responsible for pending requests when someone leaves the company?
3 - Important details getting lost in a conversation and your team will start to have trust issues
During a coffee break, the HR manager told John from finance that he should approve the budget for 2 new openings on our sales team, 5 new computers for the new employees that will start the onboarding period in a week, and asked to check if we could spend extra $1000 on our party at the end of the year.
John thought he would remember to do all of that, but 5 minutes later the marketing director stops him and asks to create a request for money to buy new software. By the time he sits on his chair, John had talked to 7 different people and each one of them made at least one request he doesn’t remember anymore.
It’s likely that John will not remember all of the requests. Many who made the requests will not follow up to validate they’ve been processed. Of the requests, John does remember some will be wrong or missing key details. This will cause rework, and time spent following up.
Since no one has any track of these requests how can the HR manager know that the computers won’t be there by the time he needs it? Or what if he approved extra budget for the party and it wasn’t needed?
You, or someone from your team, have probably already been through one of these experiences or something similar. The solution for this kind of problem is simple: you must standardize and centralize your requests in a single place, and create rules and policies to be able to handle all requests on time and correctly.
With Pipefy you can create and standardized processes according to your team, job and responsibilities which results in reliable processes with no bureaucracy.
4 tips to receive and process Financial Requests with Pipefy
1 - Create service catalogs with online Portals and Forms
Customize error-proof forms to receive all information necessary to process your financial requests and create online portals to gather all forms in a single place. Easy for requesters and much more efficient for the financial team.
2 - Build smart workflows and assign team members automatically
You can assign team members and give them different levels of permission to work on each type of request. Forget about emails staying in someone’s inbox and the request not being processed. In the event one person is going on vacation, easily set another assignee and ensure all of your requests are being processed.
3 - Automate the communication flow with requesters
With Pipefy’s email templates, it’s possible to inform the requester about the status of each demand. It means that team members won’t send you emails asking if you have already seen what they sent you and how things are going.
4 - Measure to improve
Use Dashboards to measure, manage and improve your processes. Select the KPIs you want to track, like monthly budget, purchase order cycle time, or others. Once you have all the data it’s much easier to see where your team’s bottlenecks are and work on improvements.
If you feel these pains, be calm. It’s normal and more usual than you think. It’s time for a change. Start using Pipefy to control your financial operations.