Bridging the Gap Between Finance and Project Management to Increase Productivity

February 21, 2020 Trilby Lawless

It’s no secret every aspect of your business benefits from aligning to others. Silos help no one. What’s challenging for many businesses is finding the proper way to execute two-way communication. Most often it’s because either the right channels aren’t in place, or expectations are not clear. 

Accountants are beneficial allies for many departments, and when paired with project managers your decision making and internal operations will become more proactive. As combined forces, the two teams can become important advocates for strong financial reporting and better management processes. 

Follow our 6 steps to make sure you’re getting all the value you can out of the two teams working in sync. 

Align the teams

Going back to clear expectations, the more the two teams understand how each other work the better. Take the time to make sure everyone has a clear understanding of the metrics used by both teams, and how they impact each other. 

Keep communication open throughout the project 

In order to see the full benefit of syncing the teams, it’s important to keep communication touchpoints throughout client projects, not just the beginning and end.  How involved the accounting team is will depend on the level of risk, the higher the stakes the more involved - but in most cases, the goal is to stay accessible. The accounting team should act as a supporter of the project, not controlling.  

Streamline reporting

Open communication becomes much easier when it’s less dependent on manual work, and more is automated. The right time and billing software can fluidly spend reports on WIP and budget statuses to project managers, without having to wait for accounting to send. Receiving this critical information in real-time is what makes it easier to say on top of project planning rather than reactive.

Manage risks in sync

Managing risk is impossible to do all at the start of the project, it becomes much more real after the project has begun. The accounting team can help by thinking like an auditor throughout the process. By presenting relevant business rules and “auditing” phases of the project as they’re completed can help keep the project better on track with client and internal goals. Continual involvement from accounting always plays into preventing any bottlenecks that can happen when a challenge arises. Instead of having to be caught up to speed, they can weigh in immediately. 

Learn from mistakes 

Once a project has ended, don’t be too quick to close the book on it. Both accounting and project managers should spend time recapping what went well and where things went off course. Project managers should focus on where they can correct problems in the project process, and accountants should asses if their involvement helped move the project forward or if they held things up, and how to reduce risk. 

These steps are essential to the growth of your company. If your processes never evolve and teams don’t get on the same page, you can’t expect anything to scale. To hear how following this process benefited one firm, read our customer success story with The iFish Group, Inc. next.

 

About the Author

Trilby Lawless

Digital Content Manager

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