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What is the most time draining activity that you do that prevents you focusing on high value output?

James Myers's Profile

In preparation for a webinar on Finance Productivity Hacks, I’m doing research on some of the low value add activities that are draining our precious time as Finance professionals. We hear the expression: “doing more with less”, but it isn’t always that easy – what are some of the activities that you find tasked with that are keeping you from adding value to your business and what "hacks" do you use to do better for yourself and your team? In fact, any and all productivity hacks would be appreciated!

Answers

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

I spend too much time in meetings that aren't productive.

Randy Moore
Title: CFO
Company: SJB Bagel Makers
(CFO, SJB Bagel Makers) |

It has gotten to the point where I just won't show up to most meetings unless there is a clear topic that interests me. Meetings about who can park where is a waste of my time.

Anonymous
(Sr. Revenue Accountant) |

Manual/outdated business processes that are no longer scalable for a growing company. Slow or no decisions for process improvement.

Anonymous
(unemployed) |

Manual processes and trying to hold other staff members accountable when they don't want to be held accountable and leadership allowing it to continue. Too many people involved in decision making.

Randy Moore
Title: CFO
Company: SJB Bagel Makers
(CFO, SJB Bagel Makers) |

Conversely, not enough people involved in decision making. Leadership thinking that they have all the answers and only their opinion counts but when things go wrong it is someone else's fault.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

Can I add "non activities" that end up impairing focus on high value output?
Examples:
Failure to communicate strategy throughout the organization-people who don't understand the strategy can't focus on it
Failure to communicate effectively-sales pursuing a big opportunity but not letting operations and finance know (so they can plan for its impact on capacity and cash flow/profitability)

etc.

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Depending on the size of company, tracing/correcting errant or erroneous entries or info. I tell my staff that I'd rather spend 10-15 minutes discussing a transaction and how it should be recorded than spend an hour trying to figure out where it went wrong and correcting it.

So the hack (maybe standard practice) is to discuss new transactions or making sure of accuracy of encoded transactions.

Esteban Rincon Restrepo
Title: Corporate Finance Manager
Company: Longport
(Corporate Finance Manager, Longport) |

Over-revision... we spend lots of time making sure that other people did their job correctly.

Anonymous
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis) |

Too much time looking backwards versus creating actionable value-added activity to improve profitability.

Sara Voight
Title: Controller
Company: Critical Signal Technologies, Inc
(Controller, Critical Signal Technologies, Inc) |

I agree with all of the above and I would add the high level strategic reports that degrade to restatements of line item activity over time.

Anonymous
(Tax/Business Consultant) |

Basically ALL of the above.

The worst... Incompetent [older] management who refuses to Change!
Management realized that they have issues and asked what they "needed" to resolve them.
The "solution" is the one that they REFUSE to do as they Explicitly said.. "You can't change that person... No one can change me!.. That's how we do things here!..." Blah, blah, blah!
Outdated policies/procedures or processes that were not or can Not be updated because of Older management!
Doing things at the last minute.. don't care!
Making changes over and over... don't care!"
Arguing what's "right" or "wrong" when the managements were shown why They were "wrong" (via documents esp. Their OWN handwritten notes) and refuse to update the information and use what "they want to use"!!

The Problem is Self Inflicted... by Management itself!
The solution: CHANGE!

The sad part... the employees and other competent people who have to Suffer from those Unwilling to adopt overall changes for the better! No wonder I've seen staff churn/turnover high at many companies! Management is killing itself!

Basically, ANY company that REFUSES to adopt Changes to improve efficiency, esp. the 'old timers', Deserve to fail!

Anonymous
(C2C Specialist) |

I learnt this from one of my old bosses. She wasn't a very good boss but she was correct about this. Email. Since then, I actually turn off all balloon and other notifications and I might set an alarm for a meeting at the most. I reply to my emails during two periods in the day. I never exchange more than 3 emails on a subject, if I have to, I setup a phone call.

Ross Anderson, CPA, MBA
Title: Controller
Company: TFS Capital
(Controller, TFS Capital) |

I somewhat second that comment on email. Way too much time can be spent on it, especially fretting over wording and details. Keep it simple and quick.

Sue Ashe
Title: President and CEO MobileAccountantAZ
Company: MobileAccountantAZ
LinkedIn Profile
(President and CEO MobileAccountantAZ, MobileAccountantAZ) |

I agree - emails can be so long and convoluted and misunderstood. Just call me and spent 10 minutes on the phone so I can ask pointed questions. I have a few clients that literally send 4 page emails and never pick up their phone.

Sue Ashe
Title: President and CEO MobileAccountantAZ
Company: MobileAccountantAZ
LinkedIn Profile
(President and CEO MobileAccountantAZ, MobileAccountantAZ) |

I agree - emails can be so long and convoluted and misunderstood. Just call me and spent 10 minutes on the phone so I can ask pointed questions. I have a few clients that literally send 4 page emails and never pick up their phone.

Sam Obeng Tuudah
Title: Facilitator/Strategist
Company: Ghana Institute of Management (GIM)
LinkedIn Profile
(Facilitator/Strategist, Ghana Institute of Management (GIM)) |

1. More time on internet - searching for relevant topic of my choice
2. Not sticking strctly to my "To-Do List".

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

In a larger company, most employees focus so much on email responses, they don't focus on getting one task done before moving to another. I think if everyone checked emails, once an hour vs. reacting to every received email as it happens, we would be a more productive nation.

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