Credit Union Cloud Efficiencies – A CFO’s Perspective

by. Robin Remines

Continuing with our Ongoing Operations Intel – CFO – Bill Wells weighs in on credit union cloud efficiencies!

Finance teams in small and medium sized organizations have historically been located together, usually at headquarters.  Before computers and information systems, this was necessary as there had to be a single location that was home to contracts, accounting ledgers, invoices, financial statements, etc.  As the finance and accounting world transformed from paper records to more advanced software packages, locating at a central facility was still necessary to gain access to these systems.   The advancement continued with the proliferation of the internet and stronger connectivity.  Users of accounting systems could now log in from virtually everywhere to main system.  However, as finance departments began to geographically disperse, operational efficiency started to decline.

Does this sound familiar?  A co-worker is having trouble figuring out how to process a transaction in the accounting system- or is having difficulty understanding the flow of a model in an Excel worksheet.  In traditional environments, another co-worker would come over to his/her desk, look at the screen, and offer assistance.  When the co-workers are in different locations, even though they are working in the same software package or looking at the same file, that event becomes much longer and sometimes frustrating as they are describing the problem and what they see on the screen after every click.  Or maybe the co-worker cannot figure out the problem because the co-worker is on a different version of the software- or is having an issue with their browser, their OS, or their anti-virus software.  Solutions are often delayed until the remote employee gets into the office.  Or projects slow down when critical employees get back from a business trip because it’s just too challenging to collaborate with others back at the office.  Life just seemed to work better when everyone was physically together.

While live personal interaction is still necessary for relationship building and camaraderie, the Cloud has brought operational efficiency back to remote finance departments.  To begin with, everyone is working in the same environment.  With remote desktops, users log into systems that are centrally maintained by the cloud provider.  This means that everyone is on the same financial software version, same OS, same version of Microsoft Office, etc.  This eliminates all the issues that crop up with users on different systems.  Secondly, collaboration and problem solving is amazingly efficient through Microsoft’s Lync with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).  With Lync, you can message or call your co-workers with a click of a button.  You can also see their current status (available, on a conference call, in a meeting, etc.) as Lync is integrated with Microsoft Outlook.  Miss the physical presence of your co-worker?  Just hit the video button and you now have a video conference.  Remember that problem that your co-worker was trying to walk you through?  Just hit the share desktop button and not only do you see your co-worker in the video window, you are now looking at his/her desktop as well to see exactly what they are looking at.  Need to get someone else involved in solving the problem?  You are just one click away from bringing that person into the video conference.  These tools have brought operational efficiency back to remote finance departments.

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