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How to go from juggling 100 tasks to running your business with finesse

Business can often feel like a delicate juggling act. Between attracting new customers, retaining existing customers, managing cash flow, filing taxes, monitoring the competition, and keeping tabs on your teams, there are a lot of balls flying – all the time. How do you know that you are making the best decisions for your company’s growth and future success when there’s so much to focus on in your daily operations?

In this article, we will consider how you can run your business more efficiently so that it doesn’t feel like an impossible juggling act. Plus, we’ll take it a step further by suggesting how you can use Syft to save time so that you can shift your attention from getting through the week to growing your business for the long haul.

The challenges you face

To run your business effectively, you need a good team doing what they are meant to be doing when they should be doing it. Finding a good team can be a real challenge. As Forbes found, there’s a persistent gap between the skills companies seek in new recruits and the skills that new graduates have. Add to that the looming memory of the Great Resignation and the resultant expectations that employees have of finding a job that offers sufficient support and flexibility, and finding a good team can be difficult.

Research shows that by 2025, more than 75% of workers will demand hybrid or remote work due to the shifting demographics of the workplace, so it’s worth considering where your company stands when it comes to hybrid or remote options.

However, alongside the trend of resignation comes a trend of “quiet returning” or “unretirement” as older members of society return to the workforce. Despite stereotypical views that younger members of your team may have towards older recruits, older workers tend to spend three times as long at a company as their younger counterparts, and they are known for their hard work. So, this demographic offers a potential solution to some of your hiring headaches.

That said, hiring the right team is only part of the problem. You also want that team to be using appropriate and valuable tools and to have the ability to flag and fix any issues before they become problematic. This is when it may be worth your while to consider investigating the latest tech and providing up-skilling opportunities for your employees to ensure that they are up-to-date, especially when it comes to issues of cybersecurity.

Moreover, technology can make it easier for you to delegate responsibility, maintain security and the principle of least privilege access, and automate tasks that would typically expend a lot of time and resources. Let’s look at some ways you can implement technology to make running your business a little less painful.

Delegating tasks and least privilege access

While it can be difficult at the early stages of a business to relinquish control of certain tasks, there comes a time when delegating responsibilities is vital to the continuance of your organization. After all, one person cannot possibly be responsible for everything – not if you want to grow the business and dedicate enough time to each individual component for it to thrive. There’s a point at which you need to be able to step back – just a little – and let your employees assume responsibility. As an article by Northwest puts it:

“Delegating effectively saves time, helps you as a leader and your team develop as professionals, prepares you to manage larger teams, and inspires employees and team members to perform better.”

Delegating responsibility can help you to manage your workload and increase productivity while also helping your staff to improve their skills and knowledge. Delegation is a valuable tool for strategic planning, personal growth, and promoting development in your team. Plus, it can help you to develop a healthy business culture and ensure cooperation within the various divisions of your company.

The principle of least privilege

The principle of least privilege is an information security concept which maintains that a user or entity should only have access to the specific data, resources, and applications needed to complete a required task. If you follow the principle of least privilege, this can significantly reduce your attack surface and the risk of malware spread.

How you can use Syft to delegate responsibilities

Syft Analytics enables you to distribute responsibilities by adding your team members to Syft with various user roles which limit their access to specific tools and specific entities. Within Syft’s User function, you can add all the relevant members of your team to Syft with an upload template.

To ensure that the principle of least privilege is applied, you can select or create an appropriate role for your team to make sure that your team or stakeholders get access to what they need to do their job – but only that. You might consider inviting your:

  • CFO or Head Accountant as an Owner so that they can invite their team and manage the entity settings of their companies as owners; and
  • The rest of the accounting team as Staff so they can have access to all the features but can’t invite new people or change the entity settings as those are responsibilities that should need senior management’s approval.

You can, of course, tailor any of these roles and create your own custom role to ensure that the people in your team only have access to what they need to do their jobs.

Improving accountability and transparency

Employees tend to be more engaged at work when they know what they are working towards and feel that they can make an impact in the organization. As such, it’s important to be able to share goals and regular progress on those goals with your teams. As Gallup puts it:

“People want purpose and meaning from their work. They want to be known for what they’re good at.”

Part of providing your teams with a sense of purpose requires holding them accountable for their performance. In a nutshell, accountability means that doing your job correctly and being held to account for whatever deliverables you are responsible for. Building a high-performing team without accountability is absurd. You need to ensure that each staff member takes responsibility for their actions and that they are transparent about their involvement in various projects in order for them to perform optimally.

Food for thought : Apple implemented what they call the directly responsible individual (DRI), which means that everything at Apple, no matter how small, is assigned to an individual who is directly responsible for it. By explicitly assigning them responsibility, Apple makes it less likely for their employees to pass blame, while also providing greater clarity over who it is that is making decisions.

Ultimately, when employees consistently demonstrate ownership and accountability, you are able to build trust within your organization which means less micromanaging and more high-level performance from everyone involved.

How you can use Syft to improve accountability and transparency

To hold your staff accountable for their performance, you need to have sufficiently detailed information and be able to generate relevant, summarized reports. Syft’s Ledgers and Segments features make this possible.

The Ledger tool gives you the ability to create reports with Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss, operational, and non-financial information that you can share with the team member responsible for those numbers. For example, you could create a sales team report so that the sales team can consistently see how they are performing.

Segments are best suited for when you have divisions (tracking categories, classes, or analysis codes depending on your underlying accounting software). With this tool, you can create an entity for a division, which is called a Segment. The Segment becomes its own entity on Syft and you can add users to it and enable the head of the division to gain insights and manage the performance of that specific division.

Pro tip : A segment can have its own KPIs and monthly reports on Syft too.

This level of granularity is useful when it comes to overall decision-making and it empowers you to identify well-performing – or poorly performing – divisions so that you can learn from what went right or wrong.

Ledgers and Segments are both powerful tools for managing your teams and entities more effectively and transparently and for making better business decisions at the level of each department or division.

Monitoring your entities with Syft

Syft’s Overview and Oversight sections are particularly useful if you have several entities within your organization, such as a group or several franchises. However, these tools can be just as useful if you have one entity as you can create Segments for various divisions on Syft and you would then be able to get an overall view of each division’s performance.

  • Overview gives you a list of all your entities connected to Syft.
  • Oversight provides a list of all the entities you have on Syft and gives you some key information that helps you get a sense of how well each entity is tracking in that category.

Oversight includes a number of different tabs which provide you with different information. For instance, under the Financial tab, you can focus on entities that are performing well or poorly in terms of their key financials. You can examine the entity’s details in the Visualize section to determine which entities are performing well or are in need of some financial assistance.

For example, if one entity has poor cash flow, you could investigate the reason for this. Is it just poor management by the division or franchise owner or is it because of an uncontrollable increase in debtor days that needs your urgent attention? You could perhaps create a filter for entities with low cash balances and set up meetings with the relevant manager to deal with this.

The Sales view operates similarly to the Financial view, except that it allows you to examine the more operational aspects of all of your entities. If a division is performing very poorly in sales, you could use this information as a red flag for performance or initiate discussions to fix this.

Meanwhile, in the Transactions tab, you have a different view of your entities which equips you to identify issues relating to specific transactions. For instance, a decrease in invoices may indicate a drop in sales, while an increase in journals could indicate potential error or manipulation if there is insufficient support. If you notice any of these issues in your entity’s transactions, you can investigate and identify ways to address them.

If you have Syft’s Audit add-on, you can also analyze your entities with the Cleanup and Anomalies tabs. In the Cleanup tab, you will gain a sense of how clean and accurate your data is. You can use this as a tool to hold your accountants accountable by filtering for their entities and determining how many issues were noted. Meanwhile, the Anomalies tab shows you the anomalies noted in Syft’s Audit tool, which is great for identifying areas you may want to investigate for potential issues, errors, or learnings from legitimate anomalies.

Lastly, the Build view provides a blank canvas to add any column you would like. Here, you can include a combination of the metrics that you want to monitor for your entities. You can add information from the other tabs, specific P&L or Balance Sheets accounts that you are interested in, as well as equations.

Improving efficiency with technology

The tools we’ve discussed in this article are effective, but if your finance team’s day is filled with documenting transactions and creating reports to meet financial deadlines, they won’t have time to focus on how to manage your business more efficiently. And they certainly won’t have time for the more interesting work of expanding your firm. This is why Syft automates report production – to save you and your team time, which you can then dedicate to expanding your business.

Syft Analytics is a proud NSBC Partner.

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