We would like to think that our relatively recent ability to communicate via email has improved our rate of productivity. However, studies have determined that to be vastly untrue.
The Warwick Business School© found that, since 1973, productivity had only risen by 2%. Meaning, despite all our technological advances, we are barely more productive now than we were forty years ago. Why is this?
Overwhelmed by Email
A study by McKinsey Global Institute© discovered that 28% of office workers’ time is spent reading and answering emails, and an additional 14% of their time communicating internally.
In another case, Microsoft found that the average time an employee took to check their email was nine minutes, with another 16 minutes to refocus on the previous task. Additionally, workers receive an average of 40 to 100 (for some) emails a day.
Email Disrupts Month-End Closing Activities
Assuming the average employee works an eight-hour day, the figures above suggest that workers spend around three hours a day reading and responding to emails. That’s nearly two business days a week. Given that 78% of organizations take more than three days to close their books, the numbers are disconcerting. Shouldn’t we be looking for ways to minimize email usage to speed up the close process? After all, 90% of finance staff said that they were being pressured to close their books faster.
Getting rid of email might seem the most reasonable conclusion. For small businesses, it could be a viable solution.
Time for Some Balance
Forms of communication, such as instant messaging and document sharing platforms, are helpful, but only a half-solution to the larger issue.
Automated financial close software exists today to improve communication efficiency in month-end closing activities. In addition to automating much of the manual work involved in the month-end reconciliation process, the right solution can provide a complete overview of your overall close, particularly the status of your tasks and colleagues’ accounts. A summary of key accounts and risk categories can be visually displayed as charts and graphs.
Providing your finance staff with a simple at-a-glance overview means they can organize their own workload and autonomously manage a smooth month-end close process, all without a single email exchange.
It’s time to find a solution that will successfully improve your team’s productivity during your month-end close. Speak to one of our experts today, or take a look at our solutions and let us know if you have any questions.
Written by: Ashton Mathai