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Finance System Fact Find

At the centre of all organisations is the accounting function. Many people within your organisation may not understand the function of the Financial Director/Controller. To mnay, their job is seen as a necessary evil that can be carried out in isolation. Of course they couldn't be more wrong. The role is a vital part of any business, no matter how large or small, in fact it is the 'heart' of the business, keeping the money flowing in a controlled manner.

Unlike other departments who can shade their argument or colour the truth, the Financial Director must know in black and white what is coming in and going out. Financial statements tell the truth about how much you are making and where your money is going. The more accurate your financial business processes are, the more efficient and profitable the whole business can become. So why is it often the last area that gets any attention?

A Clear Picture of The Current Situation
Before you can move forward, it is a good idea to assess where you currently stand. If you are looking for ways to improve your organisation's efficiency, you need to find out and document what is currently happening. In other words, create a clear picture of the current situation; collect facts and draw out the flows of information about your company and present them in an understandable way. This will allow you to quickly and easily identify potential areas for development...

Your Objectives Made Clear
We call this a Fact Find and, in summary, it presents your objectives clearly so that you understand what you are aiming for, taking into account any constraints. It shows that you have explored the ideal solution and then uncovered some realistic options. It lists sensible considerations based on experience and highlights key system requirements to help with implementing new procedures if required.

Finally, your expectations from any 3rd party specialists are also documented. All of this is written in a simple, focussed, no-nonesense manner so that you and your colleagues can begin to understand how to clear the arteries leading to increased efficiency and profitability. It is a very important first step and every time an organisation has worked through this procedure they have always had a successful outcome. Skip it and you can expect problems.

Do You Need To Do A Fact Find?
It makes sense to take stock of different areas of your business from time to time. Your organisation may need to review your Business and Accounting processes. Here are 3 ways to tell if you do; consider the following questions...

  1. How in control of your system do your feel?
  2. Do you have a documented picture of how your systems and procedures work?
  3. Do you feel that you current system has the capacity to cope with your company's needs in the next 2 years?

Depending on your answers, you may consider using an external specialist to carry out a Fact Find. An external specialist will provide you with the following benefits:

  • No need to rely on internal resources to identify potential problems and produce an independent professional report.
  • Opportunity for external specialists with relevant knowledge and experience to concentrate on the facts.
  • 'Outside of the box' thinking means that you will get a fresh new approach to problems.

How To Come Up With Your Ideal Processes
Explore what you want to happend. Write down and draw out, in diagram form, the various ideas you have. Get help from others who may be involved. Review your ideas a few days after designing them; do they still make sense?

How To Rationalise The Options
Once you have explored the idea processes, start to get realistic. Think about how far the ideal processes can be applied to your existing system. What enhancements could be made? This will begin to tell you whether you need to make major or minor changes to achieve your key objectives. List sensible considerations based on your experience. Ask other people both within and outside of your organisation for their thoughts. If you need more help or advice then please contact us.