In Pursuit of Profit
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A lot has been said about The Great Resignation occurring across America right now, but not all employees are leaving for better opportunities. Long-term employees are retiring in droves right now. Many accounting and finance professionals that are close to retirement age are making the decision to step away from full-term work, while others that are well past retirement age are finally ready to hand over the reins at the companies they have served for many years.
Any time a long-term employee leaves, a significant gap is created that their employer must fill with not only a new hire but also the technology and systems components that need to be built up in the transition. So, if your accountant is retiring, now is the time to plan for the shift.
What do you do if your accountant is planning to retire this year?
Unfortunately, many small and mid-market companies are not as progressive when it comes to their accounting processes and technology as they are with other areas of their business. We frequently work with clients that have no POS (Point of Sales) system, are processing AP (Accounts Payable) manually, and are paper heavy with their day-to-day processes.
When an accountant has been with their organization for a multitude of years it is easy to fall behind on modernization because they get trapped in a “the way we have always done things” mindset. Routine maintenance and suggested upgrades can get delayed on existing systems while the potential for implementing new technologies can go unnoticed. The cumulative effect is of failing to modernize can include any of the following undesirable outcomes:
Fix Pain Points
With the wide array of places where technology can be used to augment your accounting functions, knowing where to be more progressive can be tricky. Focus on your biggest pain points across general bookkeeping activities, reporting, payroll, and benefits administration to get the best return for your time and money investment.
If you are not currently using a cloud-based accounting system, make the migration right away to avoid any downtime after your new accountant is hired. (If you do not have the right personnel in place to oversee this kind of implementation, consider utilizing an accounting services provider to do it for you so you do not lose any critical financial data.) Then, ensure that whoever you hire into the role has experience working with whatever kind of technology you implement.
Alternatively, if you plan to hire a highly experienced accounting leader like a Controller or CFO (Chief Financial Officer) this person can be responsible for migrating the company to a new accounting system or integrating new technology to improve business operations after they are brought on board.
Hire Into the Role
The great part about a departure due to retirement is that the timeframe on making the transition is typically more relaxed than when a professional has accepted a job elsewhere and is moving on. Do not let this advantage slip away by postponing your search. Start looking for a new accountant right away to set yourself up for success.
One of the best tips we can offer to any company that is replacing an accountant themselves is to include your accountant in the process by having them:
Whether you plan to use an accounting recruiting firm or handle the hiring process in-house, the earlier you start looking, the better because searching for an accountant without being rushed will invariably lead to a better hire.
Hand Everything Off
From a practical standpoint, transferring knowledge is one of the most important steps you can take when any personnel leaves. This is even more important when the personnel leaving has insight on financial processes, bank account logins, and other key information. As our team explains,
Whether a replacement is hired before your accountant leaves or not, ensure your accountant transfers account logins and ownership, as well as other knowledge to make the transition smoother... Avoid the kinds of headaches that can result when key personnel leave the company and inadvertently take critical information with them. The last thing you want to deal with is being locked out of a bank account or your accounting system. Remember, account ownership transfers can take time when waiting on banks or other financial institutions to confirm and authorize changes.
The sooner you can hire a replacement the better because any overlap will provide the opportunity for your new accounting leader to get the tools and resources they need to be successful in the role directly from the source.
When you are ready to hire a new accountant, reach out to our team. We can help you find a replacement for your accountant as well as aid in upgrading your accounting systems.