Accounting is the lifeblood of your business. After all, it’s the department that handles payroll, invoicing, and so many other functions vital to your company’s cash flow. When it’s time to check on your company’s financial health, you turn to your accounting team to provide timely and accurate reports.
Hiring the right accounting employees is, therefore, crucial to operating a business smoothly. While knowledge of accounting skills and practices might have been enough in the past, today’s accounting and bookkeeping professionals need wider skill sets to succeed. Read on to learn which six skills your accounting department must have for your financials to flourish.
1. Understanding of Your Industry
While your accounting employees may be experts in bookkeeping and payroll, do they understand your industry? Software companies have industry-specific terms and protocols that are different from manufacturers. Even seemingly similar companies, such as consulting firms that specialize in different industries, may have differences that accounting employees need to be aware of.
2. Knowledge of Reporting Expectations
Your accounting employees need to be familiar with the reporting expectations at your company. This includes accounting best practices, such as having monthly financial statements ready on a specific day of the following month.
Accounting employees should be willing to take ownership of financial projects and see them through to completion. You should never have to worry about reports not being filed on time or having to review reports for missing or incomplete information.
3. Good Communication Skills
Communication skills are vital for every employee, but especially for those handling your financials. Sometimes these employees might need clarification on a submitted expense. Maybe they need further direction on a project assigned to them. Whatever it is, they can’t be afraid to speak up if they spot a potential problem.
Being unable to ask questions can result in wasted time and avoidable errors that can affect your reporting and accounts. What if, for example, an employee incorrectly records an expense in your accounting software because they’re new to the system and didn’t ask for assistance? This could cause problems later down the line. And that brings us to our next point: using technology.
Tech-savvy employees are a must-have in the modern accounting world. General software and accounting-specific programs like QuickBooks are used on an everyday basis. What’s more, employees must be able to adapt to new technology if they decide to switch programs or upgrade the business systems.
Employees should also be able to identify errors or inconsistencies when using technology. What if a spreadsheet formula is referencing an incorrect cell? What if they notice a fellow employee is recording transactions improperly? These small slip-ups can become more serious problems if your accounting department doesn’t catch them right away.
5. The Ability to Optimize Processes
Great accounting employees are always looking for ways to improve processes for themselves and their co-workers. These can range from minor changes to forms to complete overhauls of internal reporting. You should already have a business environment that encourages employees to pitch their own ideas, and the right employees will make sure their ideas are heard.
6. Excellent Customer Relations
Today’s accountants and bookkeepers are oftentimes the main contact point between your business and clients and vendors. People skills are a necessity whether an accountant is following up on payments or has questions about purchase orders.
Not only do friendly staff enhance the reputation of your company, but they can also help identify new business opportunities. What if your bookkeeper, during a friendly conversation with a client, hears their business is growing? If your company handles products, this might be an opportunity to increase your orders. For services companies, this could mean being able to move the client to a higher tier of offerings. Either way, having an accounting employee with excellent customer relations could pay off.
Finding the Right Accountant for You
Accounting requires careful attention to detail. You should be able to trust your employees to produce accurate statements for your unique company. That’s why accounting employees need skillsets far beyond the ability to number-crunch.
If you’re in need of highly skilled accounting employees, outsourcing could be the perfect solution. Contact the expert team at Signature Analytics today to learn how we can help get your business on track for financial success.