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Microsoft Teams for Finance Professionals: A How-To Guide

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Written by Laura Schomaker

June 4, 2020

Over the last few weeks, we’ve shared some general tips on how to newly remote workers can use Microsoft Teams to help them feel connected to their coworkers and get their jobs done. Today, and for the next couple weeks, I want to expand upon this theme and look at how Teams can help people in certain professions be more productive, no matter where they’re used to working. First up, let’s discuss Microsoft Teams for finance professionals.

If you’re a finance pro, no matter whether you’re working for a small company or a large one, you probably spend much of your time aggregating data, combining it into reports and conducting regular business reviews. These reports and reviews are key in keeping your finger on the pulse of the financial health of the organization. But you can’t do them in a vacuum. You need input from other departments to get a complete picture of what’s going on.

This is where Microsoft Teams comes in. Without a collaboration app, working with others, especially when they are all working remotely, becomes time-consuming and cumbersome. There are the long email chains, multiple document versions of which no one is sure is the most recent, phone tag and countless other frustrations. Teams can help you ease many of these. It becomes the hub where you and your team can share files, talk and meet, safely and securely, no matter how far apart you are.

Microsoft Teams for Finance Professionals: Getting Started

In the list below, we share the five things finance pros should do first when setting up Microsoft Teams. And, since seeing how to do something is often much more useful than reading about it, we’ve included a video with step-by-step instructions in each section. So, by the time you finish reading this blog and following the included instructions, you’ll be ready to run your finance department on Microsoft Teams.

Create a fresh team for your finance staff

Before you and the rest of your finance department can use Microsoft Teams to check things off your to do list, you’ll want to create a team, specifically for the finance pros and those they work with. That way, you can keep your business’ sensitive financial data on a need to know basis. Note, if your IT team has set up Microsoft Teams to allow this, team members can include people who are not employees of your organization, like accountants or financial advisors. All you need is an email address to invite them.

Watch to learn how to set up your first team

Add channels to your finance team

If yours is like most finance teams, you’re probably working on multiple projects at once. These might include financial reviews, audits, governance and compliance updates and data analysis. If these projects were to share a single workspace, things would quickly become cluttered and hard to find. That’s where channels come in. They give you a simple way to separate the information for each of your projects from one another. And, for an added layer of security and control, you can decide which of your finance team members has access to the information in each of the channels.

Watch to learn how to set up channels

In finance, a lot of your work takes place on a regular cadence. You might have different reviews that you and your team conduct and discuss on a monthly, quarterly or even yearly basis. For these instances, setting up a recurring meeting is very helpful. Just like in Microsoft Outlook, you can create a meeting request once and schedule it to repeat as needed. This is not only a great timesaver, it also helps ensure you don’t accidentally overlook any of your important deadlines.

Watch to learn how to schedule recurring meetings in Microsoft Teams

Upload files to teams for easy document management

Finance teams like yours have a lot of documents to keep track of. And, if they all only exist on the author’s hard drive or in an email string that’s buried deep in your inbox, you’re probably wasting much of your workday on search and recovery missions. Thankfully, with Microsoft Teams you can stop these frustrating and sometimes fruitless searches. Once you’ve set up your teams and channels, it’s easy to add key documents like audit reports or annual financial statement reviews. That way, everyone knows exactly where to go to find the information they need and no one must question whether the document they’re working on is the most up to date.

Watch to learn how to work with documents in Microsoft Teams

Connect the apps you use every day with tabs

Finance teams rely on more than just email and documents. There’s Excel and Power BI for creating financial reports and analyzing data. PowerPoint for presenting your financial findings to the company’s key stakeholders, websites you depend on for benchmarking data and so much more. With Microsoft Teams, you can cut down on the time you spend switching between apps and bring everything together in one central location. One of the great organizational features each team and channel offers is called tabs. Tabs allow you to organize your work based on topic and bring in content from other tools. So, everyone can work on a file at once and reach the finish line faster.

Watch to explore the possibilities of tabs in Microsoft Teams

As you can see Microsoft Teams has a lot to offer. We hope this look at Microsoft Teams for finance professionals helps you visualize how you can use this powerful tool in your day-to-day work. Even if you and your teammates are no longer sharing the same office, you can still be just as productive and connected as you were before.

For more helpful Microsoft Teams tips and tricks like these, check out our other blog posts and visit the Microsoft 365 YouTube channel

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