Monday, 5 May 2014

Alerting you to the power of alerts

It is all fine and well that you have embraced the shift in managing budgets by getting input from your staff from all levels of your organisation and it will undoubtedly ensure your budget and planning will be far more accurate and the staff will feel more empowered by their involvement.

However, empowerment does not change the fact that your staff are busy with their day to day activities, ensuring the business is on track and growing, and you may face a few problems getting them to prioritise accessing the system and reviewing the numbers. Providing the access and requesting the input is not going to get you very far if your team “hasn’t had time to look at it yet” and therefore can claim ignorance of any updates or changes.

As opposed to having to chase staff to get them to keep an eye out for any changes on a daily or weekly basis, it is much easier to set up pre-programmed alerts that allow you to push data directly to the relevant people via an email. This will ensure key people are kept aware of critical business information in a convenient format suited to their lifestyle, at a predetermined time.

While not all systems will offer this, there are definitely those that do, including idu-Concept, so keep your eyes and ears open when reviewing additional modules for your financial software.

Ideally, your alerts should be able to be controlled by the administrator or the user, depending on the needs of the business and the individuals involved. Decision need to be made from determining when an alert is triggered (whether the threshold is a transaction, balance or variance that affects the user), to scheduling the timing of the notification and the repetition of the alerts.

On one hand you don’t want the user to be able to override or dismiss the reminders before they have acted on them, but on the other if the user sets the parameters themselves, they are more likely to choose what works for them and then follow through.

Whoever makes the decision, the software should allow them to easily make some further adaptations. From identifying socially acceptable times to receive notifications (to avoid easy-to-miss emails’ at 3 in the morning while allowing for different time zones for international use) to activating the alert from a predetermined point in time (it would be pointless to notify users that they are under budget daily from the 1st of the month when salaries are only paid on the 25th).


Knowing your staff and understanding their challenges and how best to provide them with what they need is as important to empowerment as giving them the responsibilities in the first place. 

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