Staff management in finance and accounting continues to evolve. Chances are your team faces a greater regulatory compliance burden due to legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, both of which have had a direct impact on financial reporting procedures. According to Benchmarking the Accounting & Finance Function: 2014 from Robert Half and Financial Executives Research Foundation, the growing complexity of regulation has led businesses to develop more internal controls to avoid penalties.
This, combined with financial professionals' increasingly strategic roles within their organizations, means your job as a manager has likely followed a similar pattern of increasing complexity. The way you train, motivate and communicate with your employees has a direct impact on the entire organization's ability to transition into this new set of norms. Understanding the best ways to improve staff management in light of these changes is crucial.
Build a strong team
Group dynamics play a key role in determining the productivity of your staff — especially as processes become more challenging. As a manager, part of your responsibility is to delegate tasks in a way that complements the overarching goal of whatever project you have at hand.
How will you define the roles you assign? Who will you pick to perform each task? Asking yourself these questions will help you set the framework for building a strong team that works well together and meets challenges head on.
Cooperate with other teams
Current regulatory and economic trends have led finance to become a much more integrated aspect of most organizations. Business decisions in areas from information technology to customer service depend heavily on financial data. Your team must be ready to collaborate with other departments to both fulfill its function and allow the entire company to succeed.
Be proactive in enforcing deadlines so other key players have the financial information they need when they need it. Give your staff members the tools and training they need to develop positive relationships with employees from other departments who may have a different way of seeing things.
Improving staff management also depends on your ability to increase productivity. Finding ways to improve back-office processes will not only save time but also make it easier for your employees to get their jobs done. Invest in technology, such as cloud computing, to introduce more flexibility into day-to-day operations, or make a plan to incorporate business intelligence into everyday decisions. Working with a financial staffing firm can also take much of the stress away from the process of hiring and recruiting new employees. The more tools you have to help your team stay on top of its workload, the less likely individual employees will experience burnout or become exasperated with a big project.
Staff management requires dedication to training, team-building and communication, both within and outside of your immediate department. As your business faces new challenges, it's your job to steer the ship in the right direction and keep your employees focused.
What other tips do you have for how financial executives can improve their management skills?