4 productivity tips for finance professionals

Time management and efficiency drives are becoming ever more significant as the role of the CFO broadens to encompass non-traditional duties

Some 38% of CFOs cited time management due to competing priorities as their biggest work challenge, according to a survey of 1 400 CFOs at US companies by Robert Half Management Resources. Time management and efficiency drives are becoming ever more significant as the role of the CFO broadens to encompass non-traditional duties. Here are five simple tips to help you make the most of your day.

 

The productivity triangle

Before you open your email each morning, identify the three most important tasks that you really want to accomplish during the course of the day. Then link these tasks to your anticipated energy levels and put them into batches,, which will help you retain focus and concentration. If you are going to be travelling, identify those tasks that are not reliant on office infrastructure and internet access to fill this dead time.

 

Time allocation in meetings

Be prudent about meetings in which you choose to participate and target only those that offer a viable return for your time. Wasting time in meandering meetings is a bugbear for many finance professionals and can drag productivity into a rut. Sometimes a one-hour meeting can be condensed into a simple email. Tesla CEO Elon Musk famously does not writing down anything in meetings because he believes useful information will be retained and throw-away information has no place in a meeting.

 

Embrace Excel

Microsoft’s venerable spreadsheet is still a popular choice for finance professionals, so it make sense to learns the ins and outs of the program. The good news is there is a ton of free resources available online that will turn you into an Excel guru in no time. The better equipped you are in the art of Excel spreadsheet creation and maintenance, the less time you will need to spend tinkering with data, macros, and formatting issues.

 

Resist the urge to micro-manage

Micromanaging can be time-consuming, mentally exhausting and demoralizing and the root causes are often insecurity and inability to trust employees. Financial executives who are unable to delegate effectively risk burnout over the long term and eventually bring the finance function to its knees. Hire competent people, express your expectations, ensure that they are well trained and reinforce your belief in them in regular feedback sessions and you will see productivity levels rise markedly.