When putting together an ideal accounting staff, you need accountants with strong tax, audit, and financial reporting backgrounds. But, to develop the strongest team possible and provide the best service to your clients, you may want to emphasize other aspects of business operations. If your accounting staff is more well-rounded, you provide more unique, high quality, and efficient services to your clients.
Develop Financial Analysis
Instead of having your accountants stop once the financial statements are compiled, encourage the development of financial analysis skills. Financial analysis is comprised of taking financial records and interpreting the numbers to tell stories in different ways. In particular, you may want to educate your staff on what to expect when certain numbers are divided by each other during ratio analysis. For instance, when current assets are divided by current liabilities, should your clients expect a low or high figure? Help your staff figure out how to answer questions like that.
During an internal audit, it is imperative to know how to calculate certain metrics and measure risk within an organization. With financial analysis skills, your staff can provide consulting, risk management, and long-term strategic advice.
Learn Project Management
Project management can supplement the work your staff is already performing. Developing organizational and management skills enables your staff to complete tasks faster, find resources more efficiently, and communicate with other team members effectively. Those skills are essential if you want to remain organized through tax preparation, audits, or financial reporting processes. Additionally, if your staff knows how to utilize project management software, they may be able to oversee and facilitate projects for your clients.
Incorporate Business Strategy
As your accounting team performs work for your clients, you may encounter situations where you can advise about future risks or opportunities. Your services in these areas are only useful if you and your team are able to properly make strategies, compile recommendations, and communicate effectively. Help your staff learn how to take a forward-looking approach.
Are your clients underfunded? Do they have too much debt? What does your client’s revenue growth over the past five years indicate – especially if you factor in industry and competitor trends? As your staff develops stronger business acumen, they can help your clients answer these questions and develop business strategies accordingly.
Instill Leadership Skills
A critical skill for every member of your accounting staff is leadership. Develop your team members to challenge current processes and seek out solutions to problems. Establish the expectation of taking initiative, not being afraid of making mistakes, and being willing to manage others. Accounting staff with leadership qualities perform more efficiently as they are more action oriented. Your team will also learn from each other as leaders educate, guide, and communicate new information. Plus, strong leaders instill high morale and confidence in their teams. Even if your staff is at varying expertise or career levels, there is much to be gained by developing leaders.
There are clear benefits of developing a well-rounded accounting team. Your can diversify your services by offering analytics, consulting, and advising. Additionally, when your team is stronger, your clients receive higher quality services. There is clear need to maintain high levels of accounting skill within your team, but you should also develop a business savvy accounting staff to make your firm thrive.