- Encourage an innovation culture
Honest and openness should be encouraged. Employees should have the confidence to share their knowledge, experience, skills, ideas, suggestions and recommendations, and able to explore initiatives without fear of retribution. Finance professionals can offer novel ideas to ensure that deadlines are met, introduce automation to reduce manual errors, propose new management tools or apps, and suggest other organizational or process-based efficiencies.
- Hire people with different perspectives
The best hires are people who are aligned with your company culture and values, but are not cookie cutter versions of management. Seek employees who bring different perspectives, diverse backgrounds, wide-ranging passions, and varied capabilities. For example, the intellectuals on your staff will offer logical reasoning and complex problem-solving skills, while the analytical problem-solvers will always see possibilities for improvement. Employees who are driven and energetic will see the project through to success, while the strategic leaders will motivate others and develop long-term plans to actualize their ideas. Remember, a staff with many different ideas and problem-solving approaches will more easily generate innovation.
- Set the right example
Make sure the company’s leadership is leading by example. Introduce high-level innovative thinking in regard to working capital management, fixed assets or productivity. Monitor current finance, VAT compliance, business or industry trends and best practices, and share your findings with your team. Be open and approachable to new ideas. This can be demonstrated over and over again, such as holding specific meetings to generate new ideas, implementing suggestion boxes or online forums, and rewarding those who consistently exhibit innovative thinking. Remove any red tape that demoralizes staff and inhibits the flow of new ideas.
- Be quick to take action
Employees’ ideas must be supported by acknowledgment and feedback in a timely manner. When their ideas are implemented quickly, employees will be extremely motivated to continue to share their ideas. The entire staff will be encouraged as well when they see how their ideas can have a direct influence on the direction of the business. Finance is well positioned to facilitate interdepartmental communication, helping to underscore the business case of rapid idea implementation.
- Create opportunities for innovative thinking
Implement practices that encourage new initiatives. Today’s de-centralized organizations offer many opportunities for fresh perspectives stemming from cross functional team collaboration or bottom-up communication with HQ. Offer a dedicated collaboration space to promote employee interaction in a relaxed environment. Offer training to inspire new thoughts and approaches to the business. Finally, allocate appropriate resources to innovation in your company – it is one of the best investments in the future of your business.
- Believe in the innovation potential of the finance department
In today’s de-centralized organizational models, companies look beyond marketing and sales staff for fresh ideas. Support departments – such as accounting and finance – have a bird’s-eye view into the inner-workings of the organization. The finance department should debunk the perception that it smothers new ideas, and should be encouraged to voice their thoughts and use their analytical skills to find innovative ways to reduce inefficiencies and find new areas for growth.
VATBox’s services, which simplify the laborious VAT recovery process, are often engaged due to the forward-thinking innovation of an organization’s finance department. Finance recognizes that multiple time-consuming and error-prone processes can be streamlined through intelligent knowledge-based automation. They realize that an innovative VAT solution will help their companies minimize their tax risk, uncover hidden recoverable VAT and boost their VAT tax reclaims …. an excellent example of finance-driven innovation that directly impacts a company’s bottom line.