5 best practices for using Jira in finance teams


17 June 2019 • 14 min read

    Finance teams manage complex projects that include many stakeholders responsible for managing documents such as budgets, purchases, and attachments. That’s why smart organizations equip their finance teams with tools that help to manage complicated projects with multiple stakeholders.

    Atlassian’s Jira Core is a project management solution dedicated to business teams. It helps to establish workflows, develop processes for efficiency, and automates tasks. Finance teams can use Jira Core to create and manage workflows from simple ones like generating invoices to more complex procedures like end-of-year financial reporting. Finance teams also use Jira Core to track the preparation of financial reports, approve purchases, and manage budget processes.

    In this article, I show how your finance team can benefit from Jira Core to address all their issues to become more productive and accurate.

    Track and review tasks like invoices

    Invoice tracking is one of the critical tasks of finance teams. They need to know when to generate invoices and when to track them. They can use the workflow composed of statuses such as to do, in progress, and done to make sure that every invoice passes is tracked properly by passing all these stages.

    Here’s how invoice tracking works in Jira Core:

    • Step 1: Create a task for every invoice that you need to generate.
    • Step 2: Once the invoice is ready and sent to the client, you can move the task from ‘to do’ to ‘in progress’ status in your workflow. At that point, you can add any details that need to be recorded in the comments section. You can set the due date for when the invoice needs should be paid.
    • Step 3: If you need to record specific information for each invoice – for example, the invoice number – all it takes is adding custom fields to the issue type called invoice number. That way your team can later search invoices by their number when.
    • Step 4: Add attachments or emails to the issue to record any correspondence with the client. If there’s one person in your team who controls invoicing or acts as the project lead, make sure they always are alerted when an issue is created by setting up custom notifications.
    • Step 5: Once the invoice has been paid in full, you can change the task status to ‘done.’ The entire finance team will know that the invoice has been paid and nobody will need to update anyone about its status – all the information is displayed for the supervisors to see.

    Boost your team’s productivity with special features

    Jira Core includes a host of features that help teams to get their work done faster.

    For example, your finance team can use out-of-the-box business templates to create tasks easily, define and track your finance projects. By filling in task details, you can be sure your team members gather all the information required for each filing report. That enables teams to properly approve, record, and file every financial document.

    By using @mentions, workers can quickly get the attention of other team members or their manager when feedback is required.

    Finally, don’t forget that all Atlassian tools can be extended with apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace. You can integrate your Jira Core instance with tools that help teams to track, plan, and forecast finances. You can even automate billing with online accounting systems. Jira Core is fully customizable to address the needs of every finance team.

    Take advantage of reporting

    Reporting is an essential part of every finance team’s activity. Thanks to the reporting features in Jira Core, managers can make more informed decisions and understand what’s working and what’s not.

    The tool includes various reports and analytics dashboards used by the most significant financial companies to manage all kinds of processes: from purchasing to quarterly reporting. You can set your procedure, including all of your metrics and keep visibility high from start to finish of your project.

    Manage complex processes

    What if your team’s processes are more complicated than ‘to do,’ ‘in progress,’ and ‘done’?

    For example, a purchasing flow can look like this: Order item > Item received. But it can also look like this: Item requested > Business case created > Business case sent for review > Approval receipt > Purchase order created > Item received.

    Finance teams can take advantage of Jira Core’s process management project that offers an initial workflow to get started. You can customize the workflow in time as your team matures and establishes its process.

    Here’s how it looks like in detail on the use case of creating and submitting a business case for approval. The process management project offers the following workflow: ‘open’ > ‘in progress’ > ‘under review’ > ‘approved’.

    Your team can create a task for every new business case that needs to be approved and then populate it with relevant details by adding spreadsheets, documents, and other information that supports the business case.

    By moving the task status to ‘under review’ and assigning it to the person responsible for approvals, your team will get started on the process. Once the purchase is approved, the final stage of the process could be either raising a purchase request or transferring data to another system to complete the purchase.

    Jira Core offers many functionalities to make that process easier. For example, you can mention other people in the comments to make sure that you have all that information about the business case before putting it up for approval. You can also assign the task to relevant people throughout the workflow to ensure that it always appears on their to-do list and that they get notified about it.

    Monitor the performance of your finance team

    Team leaders need to have accurate information about how their team is performing. Acquiring that information with Jira Core is easier than ever.

    If you need to check the progress of a financial filing or purchase approval, you can be sure that all the information is inside the system. With an audit trail, you can also ensure that the reviewer is never the same person that served as the preparer.

    By using Jira Core’s analytics dashboards, you can check the progress of different projects and see how your team performs in completing their tasks in burndown charts. That type of information is critical for monitoring the overall productivity of the team and understanding whether it encounters any problems that need to be addressed (for instance, by reformulating the workflow or creating a different business process).

    The takeaway

    Project management tools boost the productivity of finance teams but also improves their overall satisfaction. By taking advantage of such innovative solutions, you can help your team automate monotonous tasks and formalize processes for greater clarity.

    Jira Core offers a high degree of visibility and transparency which helps individual team members to understand how their work fits into the bigger picture, increasing their motivation.

    Are you looking for a technology partner experienced in implementing Atlassian tools for business teams?

    Get in touch with us; we help companies make the most of project management tool by careful configuration and customization.

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