We are a team of generalist-specialists
There are many different ways to organize a company and its departments. Every way has its advantages and disadvantages, but it is important to understand what works best for the business. A Society has organized its processes based on the idea that all our coworkers, regardless of which department they belong to, can influence and enhance customer experience. In our first article we talked about why our financial department has received an extra title ”Service Management”. In this article, which is number 2 in our series, we are going to talk about how organization, systems and the way of working can contribute to creation of strong long-term relationships with our customers and consultants.
Today many companies place financial functions very far away from its customers and main operations. In this case the department is at risk of becoming isolated and loosing connection to company’s core processes. It is common for financial departments to have completely separate working procedures that are not in sync with the rest of the organization. However it is the collective effort that creates a unique and positive customer experience.
Contact with our customers and consultants continues from the point of sale (offer, contract, deal) and further through the administrative/economic parts (time reporting, invoicing). This entire process influences the customer experience, and it can either be negative or positive depending on treatment, speed, quality and how well the communication works. Placing financial department centrally and close to the customer gives a unique opportunity to achieve an unmatched service quality.
We are a team of generalist-specialists
”To be a generalist-specialist means that as a partner we can meet all customer needs and demands. That we are both generalists and specialists is in fact a contradiction, but it is an exceptionally good way to describe us”.
In smaller companies it is common that very few people are responsible for all the financial functions in the organization. But as the business grows the department is normally divided into different parts and the resources are allocated to different areas and tasks. A typical example is accounts payable vs accounts receivable. An economist works either with the one or the other and consequently becomes a specialist in a narrow field. We are however convinced that having coworkers that have a comprehensive view of the entire process leads to higher quality of work since it gives one tools for creative problem-solving. One understands how things work together and becomes more motivated to complete one’s tasks when the work is varied and challenging. Our goal at A Society’s financial department is that everyone should be able to do as much as possible, should know all the different parts of the process and at the same time be able to find his/her superpower and excel in it. Can one be a specialist and a generalist at the same time? Absolutely! People have an ability to be great at many things simultaneously, so there is no reason to limit one’s knowledge and development.
”A team of generalist-specialists that is supporting our customers, consultants and colleagues!”
Systems and processes
The systems used in the company also influence its performance. The strategy we have chosen is that everyone works in the same system as much as possible. The intention is to achieve the highest level of effectiveness, transparency and efficiency in order to be able to deliver the best quality of service. One system means that we have one registry and everyone has access to the same data. The risk for deviations is minimized, which leads to a better performance. It also ensures good service since all issues are resolved directly and competently without the need for long email chains. This creates value for our partners since all problems are solved quickly and efficiently. Since all the information is concentrated in one system everyone involved in the process gets a good understanding of the entire chain, which has a positive effect and gives more motivation, keeps data quality in check and gives an opportunity to provide impeccable service from all our departments. This system strategy gives us the ground to be what we are, generalist-specialists, since it gives us the necessary premise in terms of available data and an insight into the entire business process.
With relatively simple means our team Finance and Service Management at A Society has found its way to contribute to the company’s positive development. And as generalist-specialists, we are going to continue to put customer first for real! The changes that come with the growth of our enterprise, developments in the outside world or technological innovations benefit us as a company and as a department, giving us better ground to succeed. But the most important for us is that it benefits our customers and consultants and makes us the absolute best partner when it comes to delivery of qualified consultant services.