Read iplicit’s guide to becoming a finance superhero

Some people walking among us are secretly superheroes. They may look like ordinary mortals but they can perform near-impossible feats. 

At least, that’s the idea behind iplicit’s downloadable guide to doing more with less in your finance team. 

It’s not the first time that iplicit has produced advice on improving efficiency in your finance function. But this time we decided to have a little fun with it.  

The result is The Superhero FD: How to Rescue Your Finance Team from the Clutches of Inefficiency.

Finding your superpower 

Many finance directors are being asked to handle more work without more resources. 

If you can increase output without increasing input, that’s practically the definition of efficiency. But you could equally well call it a superpower. Our guide aims to show how FDs can harness the power of cloud-based software to perform feats that once seemed beyond anyone’s grasp. 

“The team can find themselves trapped under heavy workloads and imprisoned by old ways of operating,” it says

“That’s where you, as the FD, can come to the rescue.” 

When inefficiency saps your strength 

Inefficiency saps the strength of a finance team and the whole organisation.  

Laborious manual processes and interminable data entry cause frustration – and they make it impossible for leaders to base their decisions on up-to-date information. 

But that kind of inefficiency is inevitable if your organisation has outgrown its finance software. That will happen if your software is an old-fashioned, on-premises system where the data is stored on your server – or if you are overstretching a system designed for small businesses.

The serious side  

Despite the comic book-style cover and the light-hearted approach, our guide does get serious. 

It points out the toll that inefficiency can take in the form of stress and burnout. The UK Labour Force Survey found 914,000 people suffered work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2021-22, accounting for 51% of all cases of work-related ill health. Higher rates were found in professional and associate professional occupations such as finance. 

iplicit’s own research shows how inefficiency makes the work of a finance team more difficult. A survey of 1,000 senior decision makers found 72% were taking longer than three days to prepare month-end accounts, with 17% taking longer than two weeks.  

Upgrading your software can remove many of the most time-consuming, frustrating and stress-inducing parts of the job, freeing people to concentrate on the higher-value work they do best. 

In fact, it pays off twice over – firstly by saving time and improving accuracy and then by providing the timely data that drives better-informed decisions.

Meet the fantastic four 

Our efficiency guide introduces readers to the “fantastic four” – not the Human Torch and his colleagues but the four key ways in which the automation features of cloud accounting software can boost efficiency.  

Those four are:

  • Automation of time-consuming tasks.
  • Consolidation for multi-entity organisations.
  • Improved internal controls and processes.
  • Live reporting and enquiries to drive better decisions.  

The guide takes you through each of these areas in detail, showing you how an upgrade to your software can transform efficiency for your organisation.

Making time stand still 

It may be that you know you should install a time-saving cloud finance system – but you don’t do it because you don’t have time. 

This is what iplicit’s guide calls the deadly “haven’t got time” paradox. 

It might remind you of the story in Stephen Covey’s best-seller The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People about the man who spends all day trying to fell a tree because he’s too busy to sharpen the saw. 

As our guide makes clear, upgrading your software can take less time than you imagine – and the savings in time and costs can kick in much quicker than you might have expected. 

Meet a superhero FD 

The guide also includes the thoughts of a real life superhero FD – Becky Glover, who was named Finance Director of the Year at the 2023 Accounting Excellence Awards

Becky discusses how much extra work is being directed at finance teams. Global issues like ESG, climate change and gender pay gaps are all being laid at finance’s door to report on, she says. 

“If you’re not using technology, you’re going to quickly crumble under the pressure and maybe even be replaced by someone else who can harness that technology,” she says. 

The guide shows how investing time in reviewing processes and researching software can pay off – and possibly see you hailed a superhero.