In Pursuit of Profit
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After another difficult year, savvy employers have come to realize that supporting their office staff needs to be a top priority to combat labor shortage woes as financial uncertainty continues. With 85% of employees open to new job opportunities (even if they are not actively looking), employers understand how important it is to proactively work to retain employees.
As the year comes to an end, organizations are asking themselves, “How can I support my accounting and finance staff next year?”
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.
Help employees to understand the value of automation so they do not feel threatened by it. Our team elaborates on how best to embrace automation when they say,
The main reason AI is not implemented when and where it should be is human resistance to change. Accounting and finance teams that are stuck in the past typically resist the opportunity to automate because they are fearful that it could make their roles obsolete… When professionals exhibit a distrust of automation or a skepticism around the benefits it can provide, it indicates a lack of understanding around AI because automation should serve to augment accounting and finance roles, not replace them when used correctly.
When implementing automation make sure accounting and finance teams understanding that doing so is one way that you are supporting them in their roles. Focus your messaging on how AI can:
While AI can certainly drive business results by improving efficiency while reducing costs, your employees likely will not feel as supported by this kind of messaging because it fails to recognize their individual needs. Leave those kinds of conversations for executive-level discussions. Instead, focus on how you can implement the kind of automation that will improve employee satisfaction by addressing their biggest pain points and clearly communicate those benefits to them.
Some activities may not be good candidates for automation because, while tedious, they do not have the repetitiveness needed to teach a machine how to execute them properly. However, repetitive manual tasks can easily be outsourced to a third-party provider to free up employees to do more sophisticated or nuanced work. For example, when it comes to bookkeeping and reporting our team explains,
Accountants should not be spending their time doing data entry and bookkeeping tasks. These activities are better suited for lower-level financial staff like [in-house or outsourced] bookkeepers... Accounting software like QuickBooks can be used to carry out bookkeeping tasks more efficiently, freeing up accountants to take more of an analyst or advisory role.
The result is a greater focus on the kind of value-add work that fuels innovation and drives revenue. And while the organization-wide benefits are significant enough to make the case for outsourcing, there is certainly an individual case to be made as well.
Employees that can forgo the monotonous grunt-work that could be included in their jobs will have more time to do more stimulating and fulfilling thought-based work – the kind of work that makes them want to log on in the morning. Therefore, letting employees focus on their core job functions not only improves business results but also job satisfaction.
Providing Tools and Resources
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.
Make use of the right cloud-based software and accounting tools needed to facilitate financial analyses and effective decision-making. Then, support employees by providing guidance and establishing parameters for the work that is being done related to:
And do not forget about the people themselves! Provide time for professional development so that your employees can stay up-to-date with current laws, regulations, business trends, and industry-related topics to succeed in their roles. This is especially salient at companies that have seen a lot of turnover in their accountant role during this time.
Hiring Additional Staff
In some cases, the best way to support your existing employees is bringing additional staff onboard.
It is no secret that employees with too much on their plates will see their performance deteriorate and ultimately burn out. Hiring more accounting and finance staff can provide relief for not only daily activities, but also project work. However, the biggest barrier to hiring additional employees is not realizing that more staff is needed, it is typically the cost associated with doing so.
Organizations that need more coverage but do not want to (or cannot afford to) invest in an in-house hiring process can turn to fractional hiring options. Our team of fractional accountants explains,
As business needs expand your current employees may not have the availability or skillsets to keep pace with those changes – a fractional accountant can meet additional needs and fill those gaps. When your accounting needs increase… hiring a fractional accountant allows you to get more work done on a budget. And hiring a fractional accountant role converts what would otherwise be a fixed cost for a full-time hire into a variable cost, facilitating better cash flow management.
In this way, a fractional hire provides the benefits of an in-house hire at the cost of an outsourced solution.
If you think your organization could benefit from bringing on more (or more experienced) accounting and finance staff, please reach out to us! We are a contingent recruiting firm specializing in the placement of accounting and finance professionals. Find out now how we can help you increase job satisfaction among your employees while improving results.