Little will derail an otherwise smoothly running machine like a missed deadline — especially when other groups fall short of Finance’s timetables.
There’s no shortage of deadlines in Finance: time sheets, expense reports, 401(k) enrollment — and probably no shortage of people in your organization who can’t quite meet the deadlines you’ve set.
Why let them throw a monkey wrench into your process?
Here are a few suggestions that can make 2009 “The Year of the Met Deadline”:
- Post calendars everywhere. Yes, everyone probably has their own personal calendars. You might even have a collective calendar in Finance for your department’s key dates. But consider posting a calendar just outside of Finance for deadlines for everyone else. That way, no one can claim they didn’t know expense reports had to be turned in by Tuesday to receive a reimbursement check on Friday.
- Use technology wisely. That calendar could also go on your company’s intranet, if you have one. But you might also send some e-mails as deadlines approach. One warning: Beware sounding overly urgent. Using ALL CAPS or the “urgent” flag will make people feel like Finance is crying wolf and won’t pay much attention to future e-mails.
- Set false deadlines with care. For some groups or with certain super-time sensitive projects, you might think about setting some false deadlines earlier to ensure everyone makes it. But be careful with this one, too — if people discover what you’re up to, it could backfire and Finance deadlines will get even less weight.