Why use OKRs for finance
Finance teams often struggle to balance day-to-day responsibilities and wider company objectives. With a heavy workload, it’s easy to get stuck in the grind, leaving team and company alignment at risk.
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) can help finance teams drive alignment and focus by putting goals and strategy at the forefront. A company's Objectives incorporate its strategic goals and business-as-usual finance. Key Results are the backbone of Objectives, drawing on finance teams’ metric-driven finance.
How to write OKRs for finance teams
Step 1. Get to know OKRs
In order to write effective OKRs, you must first understand them. It's pretty straightforward if you break it down into three parts: Objectives (O), Key Results (KRs) and projects.
- Objectives (O): What do you want to achieve in the coming quarter? Your Objectives are statements that sum up your quarterly goals. They should be clear and concise. Finance teams new to OKRs should start with two or three objectives to familiarise themselves with the process.
- Key Results (KRs): How do you define a successful outcome? Key Results are your indicators of success. They should be metric-based, SMART and quantitative. For each Objective, aim to have around three Key Results.
- Projects: How do we make progress? Think of this as a to-do list. Don’t go overboard — focus your projects on meaningful action. Define a few projects for each KR to start, but feel free to adjust this list along the way.
Step 2. Set your focus
Once you've gotten the idea of OKRs, the next step is to write them. Start by identifying two or three areas of focus for this quarter. Here are some common areas of improvement for finance teams.
- Automation: Automate manual processes to minimise human error.
- Forecasting: Improve forecasting to better inform company strategy.
- Compliance: Stay in line with financial regulations.
- Consistency: Improve processing of accounts payable/receivable.
- Auditing: Effectively project-manage an audit.
Once you’ve got your focus, it’s time to turn them into mission statements — these are your Objectives. Congrats! You’re on your way to OKRs success.
Step 3. Plan your strategy
Steps one and two are a wrap, but don't stop there — you now need to develop a roadmap to goal success. To get you started, we’ve created some finance and accounting OKRs templates, which you’ll find below.
For more on how to write your first OKRs, see our comprehensive resources here:
- A complete guide to OKRs
- How to create your first OKRs plan
- How to write good Objectives
- How to write good Key Results
- OKRs templates
Examples of finance OKRs
A picture says a thousand words, so let’s use some visuals to help your finance team understand and eventually adopt OKRs. We’ve compiled some OKRs templates to cover all of your bases.
Payroll OKR examples
The payroll team has a high-stakes job — ensuring employees are paid on time and correctly. Here is an example of an OKRs plan to help payroll managers optimise their role.
Improve the accuracy and timeliness of payroll processing
Reduce the number of errors in payroll calculations by 10%
Increase the number of employees paid on time by 15%
Increase employee satisfaction with the payroll process by 20%
Asset management OKR examples
It’s simple — asset managers look after their clients’ assets. They provide financial advice and assist their clients in making investments. Below you’ll find an example of how an asset management team may improve their performance.
Improve value and efficiency of our asset management
Increase the value of our financial assets by 25%
Reduce time spent on asset management tasks
Increase overall financial performance by 80%
Revenue and profit OKR examples
Finance teams are the unsung heroes of revenue growth. Finance teams can identify redundancies and fine-tune pricing by reviewing customer and product profitability. Here’s an OKR example to help finance departments achieve record profitability.
Make our org the most profitable ever
Improve Operating Margin by 45%
Improve Gross Profit Margin (GPM) by 65%
Achieve working capital turnover ratio of 2
Reduce Operating Expense ration from 80% to 70%
Decrease Cost of Capital (COC) by 10%
Financial planning and analysis (FP&A) OKR examples
FP&A teams are a vital piece of the finance department puzzle. This team forecasts profit, loss and financial performance. We’ve put together a sample OKR for FP&A managers to improve their effectiveness.
Improve our FP&A Processes
Improve accuracy of financial projections by 25%
Increase the use of data-driven decision making by 20%
Reduce the time spent on manual data entry by 50%
Examples of OKRs for accounting departments
We’ve covered OKRs for finance departments, but what about accounting teams? Just in case OKRs are still feeling a little hazy, here are some examples of accounting department OKRs.
Tax and accounting OKR examples
Accounting departments have a full plate — they are primarily responsible for cash flow and tax, leaving asset management and forecasting to finance teams. Here are some OKRs examples for accounting, tax compliance and tax-advantaged investments.
Improve the accuracy and efficiency of our tax and accounting processes
Increase accuracy of tax and accountaing tasks by 10%
Reduce errors in tax and accounting processes by 5%
Increase speed of tax and accounting tasks by 10%
Tracking finance OKRs with Tability
Writing OKRs is a great step toward meeting your goals, but it’s just the beginning of your journey. Your biggest challenge is yet to come — team buy-in and tracking.
OKRs aren’t set and forget — they must be monitored and updated regularly. While OKRs can be managed using a spreadsheet, it’s not always the best way to secure team commitment. Despite finance teams' comfort with spreadsheets, OKRs documents will likely get lost in the sea of numbers.
That’s where software like Tability comes in. With an easy-to-use online interface, built-in goal tracking, a dashboard and automated email check-in reminders, Tability makes it easy for your finance team to stay on top of OKRs.
What other finance metrics can you use?
If the examples above don’t tickle your fancy, we’ve listed some alternative finance department metrics to help you write your OKRs.
How much is owed to third parties or suppliers?
Payment due to a company for goods or services.
How fast is money being spent by the business?
A company’s liabilities against their equity or net worth.
Gross profit margin
A company’s remaining revenue after deducting the cost of goods sold.
Net working capital
A company’s current assets minus current liabilities.
Operating cash flow
How much is generated by typical business operations?
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