Collaboration technology offers a wealth of business benefits — including greater productivity, accelerated processes and reduced travel costs. But generalized discussions of collaboration’s benefits can feel a bit abstract, so it’s good to zero in on a particular use case. 

Accounting departments provide an especially compelling example of collaboration’s real value within a line of business (LOB). Staff not only collaborate with each other for compliance and reporting, but also work with other departments to answer questions about things like accounting policies, accruals and accurately allocate costs. They also collaborate with outside parties to bring in new vendors and process invoices.

Collaboration technology expedites these tasks so they occur faster, more efficiently and with better results.

Here are some particularly useful collaboration tools for accounting departments:

Instant messaging (IM): Email doesn’t always work well when questions require multiple back-and-forth exchanges. Phone calls, on the other hand, can be too disruptive. The combination of presence detection and IM enables accounting staff to answer questions quickly and thoroughly without experiencing major interruptions.

Web conferencing: Accounting staff must often educate groups of LOB managers and contractors about new processes and policies. Conferencing technologies such as WebEx offer an efficient way to do this, especially when the target audience is geographically dispersed. Conferences can also be recorded and played back, benefiting those who can’t attend the event in real time or who need to review the material at a later date.

Screen sharing: When an LOB user is having an issue with the company’s financial systems, someone in accounting usually has to function as a help desk support tech. Screen sharing makes it much easier to quickly and successfully address these software problems so everyone can get back to work.

Video conferencing: LOB managers should consider video conferencing as a compelling alternative to traditional phone calls or costly business travel. Use of the technology makes communication more effective, enhances persuasiveness and helps to build trust.

Collaboration technology expedites these tasks so they occur faster, more efficiently and with better results. #CDWBlogSolutions

The synergy among these tools makes them even more beneficial. Imagine launching a screen sharing session while messaging or inviting a third person into a conference if a problem needs to be escalated.

Joy Mackessy, an advertising accounting assistant for CDW, says collaboration provides another important benefit to her team: auditability. “When you work issues via email, IM and web conferencing, you automatically leave behind an auditable trail of interactions that document your due diligence,” she explains. “That trail is essential if you ever face a compliance audit.”

Mackessy also highlights the fact that a highly efficient and effective accounting department is vital to any company’s profitable growth. “As your business expands, you don’t want to have to keep hiring and training new accounting talent,” she says. “The leaner, cleaner approach is to better leverage the knowledge and abilities of people who already understand your business — which is exactly what collaboration lets you do.”

Interested to learn more about how CDW can design and implement a custom solution that fits your current and future business needs? Check out our collection of Unified Communications-related case studies, data sheets and white papers – or take a look at BizTech Magazine to stay on the cutting edge of UC technology.