Despite people slowly returning to the office, there’s a large part of the workforce that will stay remote.
In fact, Buffer’s 2021 state of remote work report found that almost 98% of respondents said they’d like to work remotely at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers. That’s a lot of people looking for flex-work.
Source: 2021 State of Remote Work, Buffer
The same Buffer report found that 41% of respondents said that how they collaborate and communicate has changed with their switch to remote or hybrid work. As these behaviors change, it’s really easy for companies to lean on “more meetings”. But, more meetings won’t make teams productive. Instead, implementing better processes and tools to enable more focus time, alignment, and productivity will.
If you want to lead a high-performing finance team, here’s a slew of productivity tools that can enable your team to work smarter in a remote environment.
Jump to a tool:
Spendesk is the all-in-one solution that’s purpose-built for finance teams. The platform enables you to take control of all spending within company cards, expense reimbursements, invoice management, and automated accounting.
With Spendesk, finance teams will spend less time chasing down and nagging people to submit their expenses, and have more control over all things finance within a company, saving your team time, energy, and money.
With Spendesk, you’re able to virtually control and manage all non-payroll spend for your business.
- Issue virtual & physical cards with built-in rules to reduce internal blockers
- Monitor and optimize budgets in real-time, and let your finance team make informed spending decisions, faster
- Easily integrate your accounting software to eliminate the need for double entry
- Give teams the power to own and control their respective budgets with access to secure payment methods
- Access all of your spending reports in one single interface, saving your team time and energy from jumping from tool to tool
Spendesk’s pricing is broken down into three tiers, and all tiers include a free 30-day trial. You can learn more about the packages here.
Xero is one of the go-to accounting softwares for any finance team. The online accounting software enables businesses to connect with their bank, accounting tools, accountants, and other third party apps. As your company grows, finance teams can share the workload of inputting invoices, expenses, and other financial activities with the rest of the company. By making accounting collaborative cross-functionally, you’ll enable your finance team to be more productive, regardless of location.
- Track and pay bills on time using a single dashboard for your accounts payable and cash flow
- Simplify employee expense claims by capturing costs, approving and reimbursing claims, and viewing total spending
- Easily set up bank feeds when you connect your bank to Xero
- Save time by automatically calculating sales tax on transactions
Xero integrates with a wide range of tools including Wagepoint, Spendesk, Deputy, and Hubspot.
Xero has three packages, including a starter package that starts at $15/month, a standard package priced at $40/month, and a premium package that’s priced at $52 per month.
Collaboration and team management
Hypercontext is a solution that enables managers and their teams to be high-performing by combining quarterly priorities, recurring meetings, and engagement measures, all in one place. With this collaborative agenda software, finance teams can close the feedback loop org-wide, especially when it comes to cross-functional communication.
With Hypercontext, finance leaders have a dedicated and organized space for exchanging feedback during 1:1, finance and leadership team meetings, documenting decisions, and tracking goals, all while driving engagement across the company.
- Build collaborative meetings agendas to ensure everyone contributes and shows up prepared to every meeting
- Automatically send out meeting notes to participants
- Gather real-time employee feedback to improve meeting quality and gauge engagement
- Document and assign next steps to hold your team (and yourself) accountable
- Access to a massive library of management resources including 500+ conversation starters, 60+ agenda templates, and goal examples.
Google Suite including Calendar, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Zapier, Chrome, and more.
Hypercontext’s pricing includes a free forever plan, a Pro plan (USD $7/user/month), and a Business plan (USD $11/user/month). Small teams of up to five can take advantage of their starter team pack priced at USD $5/month total for the first five users.
One of the best project management tools on the market is Asana. You can track, manage, and connect your projects across any team with Asana. From lists and kanban boards, to calendars and gantt charts, you can organize any project or task easily in a single dashboard.
Finance teams who have a lot of moving pieces can improve their productivity, as well as stay aligned on what’s being worked on with this project management tool.
- Create recurring tasks with due dates and times to keep your team on top of recurring payments
- Monitor the progress of overarching financial plans and goals through goal-tracking
- Easily process incoming requests cross-functionally, making it easy to track and respond to budget and expense requests
- Keep your team organized with the ability to map out each step of a process or project with the ability to save time and duplicate processes and steps within Asana
Asana has over 100 integrations, including Microsoft Teams, Google Calendar, Zoom, Harvest, and Zapier.
To start, Asana has a free forever plan. Their paid plans start at USD $10.99/user/month for their premium package, and business is priced at USD $24.99/user/month.
Helpjuice is a knowledge base solution that can be used to capture, store, organize, and share all of your organizational knowledge. By making this knowledge more accessible, members of your finance team will be more productive as they can easily find the information they need to do their job.
Additionally, a knowledge base can cut down on the number of support emails and phone calls that your financial team may be answering, allowing them to focus more on their work and less on answering customer inquiries.
- Commenting feature that allows you to collaborate with other team members directly from a knowledge base article in real-time
- Robust search and navigation capabilities makes it fast as well as easy for your team members to find the information they’re looking for when they need it
- Comprehensive analytics and reporting features helps you understand the impact of your articles as well as what users are searching for
Helpjuice integrates with several popular tools including Salesforce, Zendesk, Freshdesk, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and more.
Helpjuice’s pricing plans are dependent on the number of knowledge base users making it great for teams of all sizes. Their pricing starts at $120/month for 4 users and goes up to $369/month for unlimited users. All plans come unlocked with all of Helpjuice’s features, free customization, and a free 14-day trial.
Hive is a project management tool that’s dedicated to helping teams move faster by improving company-wide efficiencies. Their software gives teams the flexibility to lay out projects in a way that works best for them and create simple workflows for complex processes—all in one place.
Hive is great because your finance team will have a centralized place to manage tasks, projects, and share updates with one another, keeping everyone on the same page.
- Easily manage projects through task lists, Gantt charts, Kanban boards, or calendar views
- Create forms to collect information quickly and easily cross-functionally
- Time management capabilities that help you understand where your team spends time, from resourcing to time-tracking
- In-app chat, commenting, and email capabilities make collaboration across the team seamless
Hive has a wide range of integrations, but most commonly used are Google Drive, MS Teams, Slack, Gmail, and Outlook
Hive has a free forever version that caps at 2 users. Paid plans start at USD $16/user/month for Pro.
MS Teams is where teams meet, chat, have audio and video calls, and collaborate in one place. This is one of the big contenders when it comes to communication applications, especially for enterprise-sized businesses. If your finance team uses Outlook and Microsoft tools, like Word and Excel, MS Teams is a great addition to your ecosystem.
- Great chat functions that enable you to add the human element to your messages, like GIFs, stickers, and emojis
- MS Teams Meet allows you to go from a group chat to a video call with the touch of a button. Plus, up to 10,000 people can meet in one place from anywhere
- Easily find, share, and edit files within your MS Teams workspace, including apps within the Microsoft ecosystem like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel
Microsoft Teams integrates with a wide range of applications including Trello, Polly, Hypercontext, and Asana.
MS Teams has a free forever version. Their paid plans start at their Basic tier which starts at US $5/user/month and business is priced at $12.50/user/month. Both of their payment plans are on annual subscriptions.
Another app that needs no introduction is Slack. This app is your team’s communication hub, especially since your email is likely overloaded with messages from external vendors, internal requests, app notifications, and the occasional newsletter you signed up for.
Slack enables finance teams to cut through the clutter and have direct conversations within the team and beyond, making it easier to tackle problems faster.
- Create channels that are dedicated to a specific purpose, like your finance team chat, leadership team huddles, and even project-based chats like annual budgeting
- Slack Connect makes it easy for you to connect your Slack channel with those outside of your organization, easing the load on your email even more and enabling you to tackle tasks with vendors faster
- Huddles enable you to have “quick chats” without the need for video
- Powerful search functions that help you find things that can get buried, faster
Slack has a multitude of integrations including Google Drive, Office 365, and 2000+ more.
Slack has a free forever plan. Their pricing packages start at USD $8/user/month and jump up to $15 for their Business+ tier. They also have custom pricing for enterprises
With the big shift to remote and hybrid work, digital privacy and security is even more important than before. That’s where Tauria comes in. This video conferencing and communication tool makes remote work more secure and manageable.
While there are many communication tools out there, Tauria focuses on privacy first and foremost giving finance teams peace of mind.
- Video calls for up to 50 people per call, which is great for direct and cross-functional team meetings
- Chat functions that to enable asynchronous communication with end-to-end encryption
- A cloud-based vault that makes day-to-day tasks more manageable
As they’re still in the early processes of building their platform, Tauria currently integrates with GitHub and HubSpot.
Tauria’s pricing model starts at USD $10/user/month.
Together provides an easy-to-use corporate mentorship management platform. HR leaders can easily manage pairing employees across their organization without the administrative burden of using spreadsheets. Their platform takes care of everything from registration to reporting.
Employees start by filling out a questionnaire that informs their pairing algorithm. The algorithm then suggests relevant mentors within their company that they can request to match with. For example, a junior accountant can match with a senior executive in their department. After the match, the platform provides ready-made session templates and handbooks to ensure both mentors and mentees have everything they need to build a successful mentoring relationship.
- Supports 1:1 or group mentoring programs
- White-labelled program with customized registration questions, content and design.
- Pair up employees at scale without manually sifting through spreadsheets
- Built-in reporting and health monitor make it easy for program administrators to see the success of their program at a glance
Together integrates with native HRIS systems like Workday, UltiPro, Bamboo, ADP, SuccessFactors, as well as calendar integrations with GSuite and Outlook.
For the first 50 users, the cost of Together is USD $5000/year. For more users, you can contact their sales team to discuss custom plans.
If you’re looking to encourage more cross-functional collaboration between finance and other teams, Donut is a great Slack and Microsoft Teams app to consider! The most common use case for this app is to set up coffee chats within your organization. Individuals can opt in and be paired with coworkers on a set cadence. This is great for encouraging people to get to know others cross-functionally and build relationships across the organization.
- Foster cross-functional collaboration and rapport building through “Connect”
- Replicate the water cooler experience in a remote environment with automated question prompts meant to spark lively conversations on your team
- Bake human connection right into your onboarding experience to help build camaraderie and connections with every new hire
- Built-in templates from successful teams on scenarios ranging from employee recognition to buddy programs
Donut integrates with Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Donut has a free forever tier that caps at 24 users per month. After that, you’ll have to switch to their standard plan, which starts at US $59/month. For larger teams, the Premium pricing package starts at $119/month.
Focus on using the right tools for your team
To increase productivity on your remote team, you don’t need a whole lot of technology, just a few of the right ones for your team. When deciding which tools to introduce to your team, think about their pain points, where collaboration fails, and what processes can be improved.
And while getting the right tools is important for productivity, people also need to be allowed to take care of themselves properly. Even the best tools in the world can't help an employee who is overworked and not getting enough rest. Remote workers tend to spend more time working and get less sleep, which means their productivity can suffer in the long run.
If your team is remote, make it a priority to ensure they take care of themselves.
When you nail down communication and collaboration, productivity and engagement will follow.