Imagine you’re the type of person who habitually over-achieves. You drive your work forward with a lead foot, speeding to the front of the pack. You manage this by planning breaks and vacations throughout the year where you can go idle and come back to work ready to jump back in full-throttle.
It’s a safe bet that one of those breaks happens in summer. It may, or may not, involve a surf board or two.
Now, imagine you can’t take that break for reasons out of your control. What happens then?
You keep driving forward at max speed until you run out of gas or hit a wall. You burnout. This scenario is something a lot of finance professionals are facing, thanks to COVID-19.
It’s interesting to note that recent surveys have found that professionals are skipping their usual/traditional vacations this summer in favor of waiting for travel to be safer. Skipping this mid-year break is likely to lead to summer slumps at best and employees burnouts at worst.
According to CFO Daily News, this could be bad for CFOs if their finance team puts off taking a vacation and are running on steam in the latter half of the year — the least ideal time to be on the precipice of a department-wide burnout.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, there are steps businesses can take that will prevent this. It's possible to protect your AP team by making their day-to-day tasks easier and removing the kinds of tasks that inspire frustration and apathy.
One of the most effective ways to do this in Accounts Payable (AP) departments is to get rid of paper-burdened and manual processes in one fell swoop with payment automation.
Why Are Vacations Being Skipped?
You don’t have to look very far to find some answers as to why fewer people are taking time of this summer. Pick your favorite poison out of the ongoing pandemic, social unrest, unpredictable economy shifts, and the uncertain job market.
What are people saying about it?
As you can see, a fair amount are at least taking less time if not skipping taking time off altogether. Of those, the portion doing so because they have too much work to consider it are prime candidates for burnout.
The smart and/or lucky ones are the 20% taking days off — not to go on a trip but for stay-cations designed to boost their mental health and well-being.
Is burnout as bad as it sounds? Normally, it may not be. It can happen to anyone, but usually a business could withstand one or two employees burning out and needing a break.
It’s not normal times though, and if steps aren’t taken, it may be the majority and not the minority affected.
The Potential for Burnout in AP Departments
Even without getting into the implications of a workforce skipping their regularly scheduled vacations — the current pandemic is already having a negative impact on mental health and well-being.
Per a recent Gallup poll, U.S. employees and managers are about 20% less likely than they were in May 2020 to say that they strongly agree with the idea that they feel well prepared to do their job.
Simply put, as time goes on, the portion of people who feel ready to perform their job-related tasks is decreasing.
The reason? Most cite the continuous and unpredictable disruptions that we're all experiencing and the feeling that they are not in-the-loop about what’s going on.
The seemingly never ending pandemic, and the changes caused by COVID-19, have left many feeling exhausted and increasingly apathetic. Now, they’re skipping their habitual and anticipated summer trips.
This is a recipe for a burnout.
Per Marie-Cécile Godwin, a UV designer recently interviewed by ABC — burning out can manifest in a variety of ways: mental feelings of exhaustion, increased negativity, and reduced work performance.
The relationship between staff and business is symbiotic, an otherwise excelling professional burning out has ripple effects. More so, when it’s an entire team or department.
Fear not! This isn’t a hopeless or unavoidable outcome. We can prevent burnouts. That symbiotic relationship between staff and business can be used to our advantage.
Removing Tedious and Manual Tasks Is Key
Have you heard the phrase, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” coined by Henry de Bracton? It’s an apt piece of advice that applies to more than just medicine.
It’s entirely possible to prevent a burnout, and while a portion of that responsibility is on the individual — businesses have a part to play too.
If you ask Market Watch, they’ll tell you there are a few key methods to prevent work fatigue — two of which can be achieved with payment automation:
Varying Work Tasks
Removing the most tedious tasks (paper checks, invoices, manual processes, etc.) frees up Accounts Payable (AP) professionals to adjust their day-to-day duties and focus on more rewarding tasks. It also lightens their load and prevents any of them from being overburdened.
As a bonus, these higher-value and rewarding tasks have a better pay-off when completed. There’s a sense of achievement there that’s lacking when all you’re doing is inputting invoice data into the system for the thousandth time in a row.
Payment automation will update antiquated payment processes. Allowing you to remove the exact type of convoluted processes that are far from ideal for stressed-out finance teams skipping their vacations and mental breaks.
And the best part? Payment automation does more than just lighten your AP’s team’s workload and improve their chances of avoiding burnout.
Payment Automation Benefits the Bottom-Line
Automation can be a scary word. It’s a common belief that this means entire jobs formerly done by humans will shift to automation and AI. This can be true in some industries — but not in all of them. For finance professionals, automation more accurately means a shift in duties/roles.
The days of spending hours scanning and entering invoices into systems and printing and signing paper checks are past. An automated payment solution can take care of this for you, allowing you and your staff to devote precious time to tasks of higher value with greater rewards.
Payment automation will:
- Earn Rebates
Avoiding hands-on processes that may require staff to be in the office when they otherwise could have stayed home, is one less stressor your AP team has to contend with. Investing in payment automation is a down payment on the future of your company and their well-being.
Antiquated processes are frustrating at the best of times and motivation-killing at the worst. Do your team, and your business, a favor by advancing your finance department forwards via payment automation.
It’s possible to prevent employee burnout and the method that does so pays off for businesses in various ways. Boost morale, lessen workloads, reduce cost and increase efficiency with payment automation.
Automating has never been easier. Now is the perfect time to put a plan in place to move to AP automation. Keep your current processes — including your ERP or Accounting System — and digitize payments and invoices at no capital expense.
Prevent employee burnout with fully automated approval processes and customized workflows!