Top 5 Career-limiting Mistakes Everyone in Finance Should Avoid

Top 5 Career-limiting Mistakes Everyone in Finance Should Avoid

We all make mistakes. But the expectation is that we learn from our mistakes and try to avoid repeating them. Of course, that’s not always the reality. So when mistakes tend to pop up again and again it might be time to seek out some help.

For those of us in finance, mistakes can result in reactions that span the spectrum of “oops” to “we’re done for.” Even oops-level mistakes can multiply into career-limiting (or ending) catastrophes. Just consider how a small spreadsheet calculation error could over- or under-inflate sales or profits or costs. It could force companies to change direction, cancel projects, or spend money it doesn’t have. If those mistakes make it into regulatory or other critical reports, it could lead to financial, reputational, or legal repercussions that resonate for years.

Okay, enough doom and gloom. Let’s focus on the career-limiting mistakes that are easily avoidable. Ones that can be easily eliminated or reduced through improved processes, managed approvals, or even just a bit of automation. So let’s look at the top five career-limiting mistakes in finance and potential solutions to keep you from ever worrying about them again.

#1 – Using the wrong numbers in financial calculations and reports

The root cause of the wrong number issue is human error. If you’re entering data, there’s the risk of a typo. If you’re exporting and importing data, there’s the risk of an incorrect sort, an errant header, incorrect formatting, and more. If you’re copying-and-pasting data, there’s a chance of missing parts of a column or row or pasting it a cell or two off.

Planful lets you easily and quickly integrate data from where it resides in your existing systems directly into your reporting, analytics, financial planning, and close processes.  Any data source (ERP, CRM, data warehouse, spreadsheets, and more) will then send the required data, automatically, with a range of automation options. Source data can be on-premise or in the cloud, and anything from GL summary balances and transaction details to operational data and even users, employees, leads, opportunities, and more. This automation removes human error from the equation, and provides structure and control to ensure that the numbers are always correct.

#2 – Yet another missed deadline

We’re all busy. But missing deadlines again and again, especially for deadline-driven reports and compliance documents, can separate you from your next promotion. The best protection against missed deadlines is a robust and reliable process management tool, with task management, workflow, visibility and communication for all collaborators, and alerts and reminders to keep everyone aligned, on track and on time. Email follow-ups and spreadsheet checklists just don’t cut it anymore.

The Planful platform not only automates the collection of data, it gives you workflow, collaboration, and process management capabilities to keep everyone aligned and on schedule. It provides dashboards to keep finance projects moving forward, allows flexible control over tasks for unique needs or one-off requests, and provides a centralized control panel from which finance can orchestrate activities within their team or across the enterprise. Along the way it keeps everyone focused on deadlines and aware of roadblocks.

#3 – A constant refrain of “I don’t know”

Finance is looked to as the single source of financial truth in an organization. Your answers not only need to be accurate, they need to be fast. But if you’re more often responding to requests with a lack of answers, the business might start to question your strategic value. At worst, they stop asking questions altogether.

Planful gives you the power to answer more questions accurately and quickly. By providing insightful analytics and comprehensive planning capabilities, it empowers you to be both the strategic core of the organization and the single source of financial truth. That makes finance the go-to source of business information and turns your I-don’t-knows into here-you-gos.

#4 – Taking 20 days to close the books

Financial consolidation shouldn’t be a never-ending cycle of closing. In other words, it shouldn’t take as long to close the books as the period itself. If your close process is taking too long and too much effort, the business will start to wonder why you haven’t taken steps to make it better. Another strategic opportunity missed and another anchor on your finance career.

Planful offers a robust consolidation and close platform to help you capture, consolidate, and report every period. Built-in journal entries and reclassifications and built-in workflows automate tedious and time-consuming steps to speed up close cycles. Even complex corporate structures can be easily mapped to a single chart of accounts. The result is fast, flexible, and accurate reporting so you can cut days or weeks off of your close process. In fact, some of our customers have cut more than 90% off of their manual close times!

#5 – Not sticking your landing on the aircraft carrier

Managing a budget is a big responsibility. The leaders of the business have entrusted you with the company’s capital, and they’re expecting you to successfully and responsibly use it to execute the company’s strategy. But managing that budget can be tricky business – overspend and you’re in hot water with your bosses, underspend and you’re likely losing that money in next year’s plan. It’s a bit like landing a fighter jet on an aircraft carrier – you have to stick the landing. Miss that landing by too big a margin too many times, and your job might not be so secure.

Planful MyPlan is a planning interface specifically designed for budget owners, so they can easily see where they currently stand compared to their budget, and where they’re going to land at the end of the period. Users can quickly and easily update their forecast and re-allocate resources as the quarter progresses, ensuring they’re on track to hit their number. Planful MyPlan makes it easy to stick the landing every time, and keep your job in the process.

Start making career-growing decisions

As we mentioned in the beginning, we all make mistakes. If those mistakes are noticed and yet still reoccur, it can become an even bigger problem. Recognizing mistakes but doing little to eliminate them means the only one to blame is yourself.

These top five mistakes above are all very common yet very avoidable. The technology exists to automatically gather data, enforce and track processes, and eliminate tedious manual work. And, it’s less expensive and easier, faster, and less disruptive to deploy than you probably imagine.

Planful can eliminate these 5 mistakes from your life, and in the process, make you look like a finance hero. Besides, aren’t you overdue for a promotion? Yeah, thought so.

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