Your accounting team isn’t just a crew of number crunchers that output financial reports. The difference a skilled, integrated accounting department can make to your business is immeasurable. From managing cash flow, to minimizing tax exposure, to forecasting trends, they can enable you to capitalize on opportunities for growth and withstand downturns that might sink your competitors — but only if they’re utilized to their full potential.
What’s the Opportunity?
A fine-tuned accounting department is the backbone of any organization. It gives the company structure and support, provides connections between functions, and enhances flexibility.
Conversely, a dysfunctional accounting department stands in the way of information flow and progress. If your accounting department is delivering late or inaccurate financials, delaying reports, or experiencing excessive expenses or turnover, it needs improvement. In addition, if your accounting department can’t make decisions, collect receivables, or pay bills on time, it’s costing you money.
As with many corporate challenges, it comes down to three areas: people, process, and technology. Here are a few considerations to strengthen your accounting department’s contribution to your company’s value:
People and Skills
There are three skill levels in the accounting department: accounting staff and bookkeeper, controller, and chief financial officer (CFO).
Most companies start with a bookkeeper or accounting staffer who maintains the books, produces a balance sheet, and creates a profit-and-loss statement. They then hire a controller as accounting demands and complexities increase. A CFO is a more strategic addition.
Do you have the right people in the right spots? Does your team have the skills to provide accurate budgeting, forecasting, and cash management? Can they offer the necessary input to take advantage of tax planning and credit opportunities? Review your team’s skills and talents to be sure you’re using them to their fullest potential.
In terms of accounting processes, the goal should be to maximize profit and cash flow. Among processes to consider are cash and risk management, billing and accounts receivable, inventory and purchasing, expense review and approval, and payroll. Financial reporting and analysis should be calibrated so that they meet the needs of not only the executive team but also sales, operations, human resources, and IT.
Your accounting processes should be based on best practices and be efficient, predictable, consistent, accurate, accountable, and timely. In addition, processes must include fraud protection and detection.
Too often, business owners dismiss their accounting team’s complaints about outdated devices, ancient software, and poor interoperability. Overhauling and upgrading accounting systems gets put on the back burner. This is a missed opportunity.
When your accounting team has the latest, industry-standard tools, they can deliver critical information to decision-makers faster. And any systems that automate tedious processes leave more time for insight. Wrestling with expenses, payroll, reconciliation, and reporting isn’t a good use of their time or your money. So take advantage of efficiencies and empower your team to leverage their skills for your bottom line.
Dembo Jones’ specialized outsourcing professionals can assist your in-house accounting team with everything from setting up new software like QuickBooks, to developing financial processes and procedures. Whether you’re looking for monthly oversight or CFO-level expertise in budgeting, fiscal planning, and board presentations, contact us today.