In Pursuit of Profit
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She knows the ins and outs of the company’s accounting software, which isn’t perfect, but it works well enough for ABC Company’s needs right now. Sharon really doesn’t make mistakes – she is fastidious in the work that she does and has a system for everything. But, even with the quality work that Sharon is doing, ABC Company knows it needs to bring someone else in to help her because there is simply too much work for one accountant to handle anymore. Plus, Sharon is getting close to retirement age, which means that they will need to bring someone in to replace her when she decides to retire in a few years to follow her dream of traveling around the country in an RV.
How does ABC Company bring in help for Sharon without offending her? How do they convey that while they are happy with the work Sharon is doing, they need redundancy in case Sharon gets sick or is out on disability leave? How does ABC Company put the right personnel in place now so that they have continuity when Sharon decides to retire? How do they hire a senior accountant or controller to help implement a new accounting system to grow with them as their needs change and evolve?
There may not be a Sharon at every company, but every business can benefit from learning how to tactfully bring in senior accounting staff. Taking the right approach in the hiring process is crucial because it can truly mean the difference between success and failure. When done correctly, a new hire can complement and elevate your existing team. When done incorrectly, a new hire can lead to resentment and distrust, poisoning the team culture and fueling needless turnover.
However, pay for performance based on the achievement of these targets is no longer adequate in the post-COVID pandemic world to acquire and retain skilled financial staff and leaders.
What is Growth?
For our firm in the early days, growth was not a given. In fact, we didn’t really plan to grow at all. Growth was much different in those early days. But because we had a very talented consultant group, we were able to land quite a bit of business and our team would get full. Unfortunately, at that point you have two choices – add to the team and grow organically or slowly lose market share as clients go elsewhere because you’re too busy. Now, 20 years later growth means somethings completely different. In today’s world growth for us means geographic expansion across the US. It is a very carefully planned strategy that we work very hard to execute. But our definition of growth may not be your definition of growth.
At this stage, companies are feeling the limitations of their existing accounting personnel and are evaluating what their next move should be to keep the company moving forward. But knowing whether to hire a Controller or a CFO is a big decision, because, contrary to popular opinion, the roles are distinctly different.
As Kevin Briscoe, the CEO of CFO Selections, explains in nonprofit leadership podcast, “A Controller is ‘walls-in and rear-facing’ and a CFO is ‘walls-out and forward-facing’.” He goes on to explain that a controller analyzes what the company has done already while a CFO evaluates where the company is going next.
Growing up I dreamed about experiencing Mt. Rainier up close and personal. So, it is no wonder that as I came to enjoy hiking in my adulthood the idea of conquering her crept into my mind. Summiting was something I thought about for several years. However, with a limited window to attempt the climb, a very small chance of summiting and the high cost, I ultimately put that dream away.
Then I remembered an article I read in 2008 about a group of friends who hiked around the mountain on one of the country’s most notable long-distance trails: The Wonderland Trail. This trail had stuck in my mind as a challenging way to experience Mt. Rainier that was far more feasible than summiting. So, early last year I decided to use the excuse of a milestone birthday to set out to hike the trail with three friends. Now, the Wonderland Trail is a 93-mile circumnavigation of the mountain that includes 46,000 feet of gross elevation gain/loss; a large undertaking!
The Boston Marathon. Even non-runners understand that it carries a certain prestige that other races simply don’t. But aside from its cachet in the sporting world, it held a special place in my heart.
As a long-time runner it had been on my bucket list for 20 years. Along with most other runners, I never managed to qualify. In fact, after trying and trying I had never even come close. I could have counted myself out and just given up. I mean, I had failed many times before and I certainly wasn’t getting any younger.
Something interesting happened as I got older. I actually found myself getting closer to qualifying. With age I learned more about myself – about my body, about my mindset, and about my capabilities. Along the long, hard training road I learned numerous lessons that I have applied to many different areas of my life both personally and professionally.
As a fan of Star Trek, one thing I like to ponder about is the concept of time dimensions. Can you be in two points of time at the same time? For many people, living in a pandemic has made the sensation of time change. Things have simultaneously seemed like they happened long ago and also only yesterday. And, at one point or another we have all thought, “It seems like it was years since I saw you. Wait, it has been years!” But time has more than just social implications. The concept of time is relevant to you professionally as well, especially as an accounting manager or a member of an accounting team.
To have an effective accounting and finance team, an individual’s time view preference must match their job responsibility. If it is not, your accounting operations may suffer, and your company may experience unnecessary attrition. What do I mean?
The pandemic forced most companies to go remote for what was originally anticipated to be a 2-4 week stint. Over two years later, many companies still have remote employees, at least to some degree.
Hybrid working has become the new normal and small business owners continue to struggle with the added challenges of how to manage remote workers. While office-based businesses have largely adapted to managing a remote workforce, other types of small businesses continue to wrestle with the increased demands of location-divided staff.
Communication challenges, technology barriers, and access to key information remain difficult among small and mid-sized companies trying to learn how to manage remote teams virtually. If this describes your business, our guide to managing remote workers will give you the tools needed to be successful in this new era:
One of the most common questions we hear when talking to prospective clients is “How do I know if I have the right accounting team in place?”
Now, the underlying questions wrapped in this broader question can vary to include things like:
If you are wrestling with these same types of questions, use this guide to determine if you have the right accounting team in place to move your company forward:
A guest post from Jen Girard at CFO Selections
We get this request all the time. A small non-profit needs to hire a new Finance Manager. Sometimes they call this person a CFO or Controller, but whatever the title, the role is a Superhero who wears multiple costumes and does it all!
How do you find (and afford) this person? Find out how other non-profits are doing it: