In Pursuit of Profit
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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:
Finding the Right Fit
Are your employees equipped to do the jobs they were hired to do, or do you need to “hire up” to meet the demands you are placing on your accounting staff?
An employee that is the right fit will:
Employees that fall flat in any of these areas may need to be mentored, further educated, reskilled, or, possibly, let go depending on the extent of their deficiencies. Remember, your team is only as strong as its weakest link, which means that anyone misaligned with their role will bring down your accounting team.
Do not underestimate the importance of having the right fit both within the role itself and the company at large. Staff that do not mesh with the company culture on critical issues like inclusion may be able to be trained to transform them into the kind of fit that will benefit the company most.
However, sometimes knowing whether your accountant is making the grade is less about whether they are performing on par with company standards and the demands of the role and more about whether you are supporting them effectively as an organization.
Hiring Enough Personnel
Having the best people working for you will not mean much if they do not have the tools and support needed to succeed. As our team explains, “The key is in helping existing employees to succeed in their roles by leaning on automation, outsourcing where needed, providing the right tools, and strategically hiring.” So, while adding to your ranks can certainly improve your output, the more financially shrewd option is to get more out of your existing employees. When employees feel valued and supported, they are more productive and their job satisfaction improves, making them more likely to stay with the company.
Outsourcing busywork, in particular, can free your accounting staff up for more value-add tasks, making the most of their skilled expertise to drive revenue. Furthermore, giving them the right tools, resources, and technology will almost certainly improve the quality and timeliness of the day-to-day work they are doing. Our accounting services providers tell our clients,
It is important to remember that the work your employees are doing is a direct result of the tools and resources that are available to do it. Without the right inputs, their outputs will fall short regardless of whether they are being done in-house, automated, or outsourced.
However, if you have maxed out these options, you may have no other choice than to hire more accounting staff. When there is no room in the budget to hire additional full-time staff, a fractional accountant may be the right option to provide part-time, short-term, or project work help.
Augmenting with Technology
Regardless of staff levels, leaning on accounting automation is a surefire way to improve:
Additionally, technology can reduce costs by mitigating the need to hire more staff to scale up operations, making the need to determine whether your accounting team is the right lineup for the job even more imperative.
Automation can truly transform your accounting functions when used across day-to-day accounting operations like general ledger bookkeeping, invoicing, payroll, and vendor management. But this can only occur when it is being used correctly.
Whether technology is being used to automate manual processes or aid in data analysis, it should align with your accounting team’s skillset for best results. When posting a new accounting job opening requiring proficiency in the platforms and systems your team uses is one of the most important criteria you can include. Because technology will not replace your accountant, it is crucial that your team is adept at using available technology to analyze financial data and provide strategic advice.
When there is an entry-level or mid-level accounting/finance gap it is often much easier to spot than a gap at the top because in this scenario the company needs someone to do a functional task that isn’t being done effectively (or being done at all!). But you would be surprised to find out how many companies we talk to on a regular basis who come to us and say, “I need help – I don’t know what I need!” and we ask, “Well, who is overseeing your accounting team?” and the answer we get is “Our owner” or “Our most senior accountant” or even “No one really.”
If your accounting team seems to check all the boxes, but your organization still struggles to align behind a cohesive strategic vision, you may have a gap at the top. In an absence of strong financial leadership, a company can be led astray – overspending, investing in unprofitable areas, tying up cash that could be used to fuel business growth, or expanding too quickly. If this is the case at your organization, you likely need to create a financial leadership role in the form of a CFO or financial controller.
While most companies start out with their founder/owner/CEO overseeing their accounting and finance functions, this is not sustainable in the long-term because the leader of the business needs to be able to focus on running the overall organization, not just setting the financial direction of the company. Every team needs a captain, and without a CFO or Controller or Senior Accounting Manager to unite everyone below them in the org structure, you do not have the right accounting team in place to succeed.
Now that you have worked through these questions, if you have discovered that you need to hire accounting staff or leadership, please reach out to us. Our experienced accounting recruiters are ready to help you bring on any additional personnel that you need to round out your team.