Automated solutions have touched nearly every industry and have delivered efficiencies and helped companies solve old problems in new ways. At the same time, more is being asked of today’s CFO and the accounting department.

For example, managers face a great deal of pressure to deliver information and financial reporting quickly. This is because decision-makers need this data to make the mission-critical decisions necessary to help the company stay competitive and relevant.

But does all this time and effort actually serve the people and the organization as a whole? Do department heads associate their goals and activities with the company’s financial results? Do they understand the information reflected on financial statements and how to influence the results reflected on them? These are important questions that CFOs must consider.

Here’s why employees should have a high-level understanding of accounting, to feel empowered in their roles:

Connection, Education and Results

It wasn’t that long ago that accounting teams had to grapple with tedious and time-intensive tasks, leaving little time for anything else. However, automation in the form of advanced Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions and financial management software has helped teams work smarter, not harder.

At the same time, technology adoption and use aren’t enough for longevity. Today’s accounting professionals must also help peers in other departments know how to extract relevant data that can help them perform better. Here’s how to do that on a practical level:

Deconstruct complex concepts.

Accounting vernacular and culture can be challenging for non-financial professionals to grasp. To make accounting more accessible, find ways to explain rules, procedures, and protocols in simple terms. Provide real-life examples to illustrate how and why these elements matter to day-to-day business operations.

Offer training and workshops.

Convene training sessions and workshops focused on corporate accounting basics. Consider financial statements interpretation, budgeting, and forecasting. Encourage and sustain a culture of curiosity with participation in professional development programs. You might even find ways to pique more interest, such as providing team lunches and other perks.

Use visual aids.

Visual aids, such as charts, graphs, and infographics, can help lay people absorb financial information in a more digestible format. Presenting abstract concepts in a way that allows people to make visual associations, in effect helping them grasp complex data and trends quickly.

Relate accounting to departmental goals.

Show non-financial professionals how accounting information can indicate progress. Illustrate how their department’s performance can impact the bigger picture. For instance, demonstrate the significance of cost control, revenue generation and resource allocation in achieving overall objectives.

Encourage questions and discussion.

Make it clear that non-financial professionals are welcome to ask questions about accounting matters without fear of judgment. Regularly hold meetings or Q&A sessions where finance experts interact with people in other departments and answer their questions.

Provide real-time access to financial data.

Facilitate access to real-time financial data by way of user-friendly dashboards or reports. These insights empower them to monitor their department’s financial performance and make better decisions.

Foster collaboration.

Promote cross-functional collaboration between finance and other departments. When non-financial professionals join forces with finance teams, they can better understand how their actions might affect the organization’s financial health. Similarly, finance professionals should put in the time to do the same for other organizations, contributing to mutual understanding and appreciation.

Gamify learning.

Who said learning can’t be fun? Create quizzes, puzzles, or simulation exercises that provide the opportunity for non-financial professionals to apply accounting concepts in a way that connects with their knowledge base.

ERP Bridges Gaps

ERP software can unite teams via user-friendly tools and features that simplify financial data and promote financial literacy among non-accounting professionals. Here are several ways ERP software can assist non-accounting staff in gleaning valuable financial insights:

Centralized and real-time data access

ERP systems consolidate data from different departments into a single, up-to-the-minute database. This ensures that all team members can access real-time financial information without relying on manual updates or data transfers. Financial reports, statements, and key performance indicators (KPIs) are readily available on a unified platform, keeping everyone informed about the company’s financial well-being.

User-friendly dashboards and reports

ERP solutions typically offer intuitive, visually appealing dashboards that present financial data in a user-friendly format. Graphs, charts, and infographics make it easier for non-accounting professionals to interpret financial trends and performance metrics. Customizable reports allow users to focus on specific financial aspects relevant to their roles, enhancing their understanding of financial data.

Financial data visualization

Many ERP software options include data visualization tools that simplify financial concepts for non-accounting personnel. Instead of dealing with raw numbers and spreadsheets, users can interact with colorful visuals that present financial data in a more understandable manner. This visualization aids in identifying patterns, correlations, and anomalies, making financial insights more accessible.

Budgeting and forecasting

ERP systems often feature budgeting and forecasting modules that enable non-accounting professionals to participate in financial planning processes. These modules help users understand how budgeting decisions impact the company’s financial projections. Involving non-accounting personnel in budget discussions provides insights into financial constraints and the importance of cost control.

Integration with non-financial processes

ERP software can help users understand financial data in the context of business processes, such as inventory management, sales, and procurement. This visibility demonstrates how non-accounting actions affect financial outcomes.

Training and education resources

Many ERP vendors offer training resources and how-tos designed for non-accounting professionals, bringing clarity to accounting concepts. Such educational modules help these staff members navigate the ERP system confidently and interpret financial reports effectively.

Collaboration and communication

ERP systems help non-accounting talent closely with the finance team. This promotes cross-functional understanding, improved communication, and mutual ownership of financial data and objectives.

Security and data control

ERP software brings data security and control to the fore, ensuring that non-accounting professionals can trust the accuracy and reliability of financial information. What’s more, secure access controls offer peace of mind in that users can view relevant financial data without compromising sensitive information.

Better decision-making

As employees from all departments are better informed, they become more motivated and engaged to contribute to an organization’s financial goals and decisions. This spirit of collaboration helps people in all departments and job functions feel like they have agency.

Get More with Sage 100

Struggling with staying on top of everything on your to do list? Finding the right automated system can help users do more in less time and allow them to focus on tasks that drive revenue.

We understand that selecting ERP software should be backed by research and reputation. At minimum, it must meet or exceed accounting regulations while seamlessly incorporating developments.

Get to know Sage 100. Sage 100 is a complete business management solution for small and mid-sized companies that need to automate processes, connect employees, and gain business insight.

Call us today at 803-252-6154 or contact us for more information on how an ERP system can help your business.