Looks like Spring has finally taken hold in most parts of the country. Which means that it’s a great time for a little Spring Cleaning in Finance.
The benefits extend way beyond being more visually appealing – cleaner desktops can save you not only money but possibly even Finance’s reputation.
For starters, the more clutter your staffers have to wade through, the longer it takes them to locate that invoice, and the more valuable time they eat up. (Not to mention that could be holding other groups up – all while your company is paying them.)
Then add this fact to the mix: 57% of people admit they judge someone by the cleanliness (or lack thereof) of their workspace, according to a recent survey by Adecco.
So walking into a finance department piled high in paper and other clutter could be tarnishing Finance’s image to both internal and external customers.
Fear not, though – with a few small organizational tips you can get Finance work areas in tip-top shape.
3 strategies set staffers up for success
Granted, unlike many other departments, finance staffers can’t just toss every old piece of paper. You have your audit trail to consider, after all. And the last thing you want to be is caught short become someone tossed a vital record.
But there are likely still plenty of places Finance can neaten up. These three are worth sharing with all your staffers. After all, everyone could probably stand a little neating.
Strategy #1: Consider the radius rule
This may be the best system yet to make the best use of your space, no matter how much space you and your people have.
Encourage staffers to structure their workspace so that they keep the items they rely on most the closest to them. Then work outwards in rings so the items the furthest from them are the ones they barely use. So it’d work like this:
- Within arms’ reach: Things staffers use often each day: PC, phone, list of key accounting codes
- Requiring a small stretch or roll of the desk chair: Items staffers refer to regularly, but not as consistently as the first tier (Rolodex, tickler fles, etc.)
- Needing a small walk: Rarely-used items that can’t be thrown away (reference books, like tax guides).
Your staffers may need a while to figure out what belongs in each circle, and they may even find they have to so some switching when they realize they really do consult that file multiple times a day.
But it will keep clutter to a minimum and ensure no one’s wasting a lot of time simply accessing the info they need to get the job done.
Strategy #2: Adopt a one-for-one policy
Get a new pack of pens? Toss all the old ones that are dried out. Received a new reference book? Give away one that’s been collecting dust on your bookshelf. Everyone has a finite amount of space.
By making sure you eliminate one item from your workspace each time you bring a new one in to your area, you can keep “clutter creep” at bay.
But be careful: You don’t want staffers simply swapping stuff with each other. That won’t make the overall situation any better!
Strategy #3: Call in the reinforcements
Finally, don’t overlook the masters of organization you have right within your own company: your admins.
These folks deal with clerical tasks all day long and are expected to be at the top of their game, efficiency-wise … especially the ones who serve your company’s top bananas.
Think about bringing one or two of your most on-the-ball admins in to offer finance staffers some of their secrets to success. They likely have already developed some winning strategies to keep that in-box from piling sky-high or to control a Post-It addiction.
The key: Have them actually come into your department to look at staffers’ desks. You want them to open drawers and cabinets to offer the most practical advice. Consider them like a team of efficiency consultants.
It’s a win-win. Your people will gain some tips for a cleaner work area. And they’ll likely appreciate being tapped for their expertise.