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02-Nov-2020 By - team

An accountant manager and his skills

As an expert CPA, a good accounting manager will catch financial mistakes, advise company department heads on financial choices, and evaluate a company’s business transactions and profits. Accounting managers are also responsible for the work of their department or team. Proper training and oversight of the junior accountants are necessary for a successful staff. Set a good example by being prompt for appointments, keeping accurate records, and organizing the goals for each member of your team. Provide support and solve problems when issues arise. A good accounting manager is open to new ideas, like advanced software that will speed up the accounting process, but is also aware of the department’s budget and needs to avoid unnecessary expenditures.

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Accounting supervisors lead teams of accounts clerks by planning and supervising their work and evaluating their performance. They also carry out more complex accounting functions, preparing financial reports and meeting with managers to provide them with accurate, up-to-date financial information. Accounting supervisors play an important role in the financial management of a company, ensuring that the company maintains accurate accounting records and complies with financial regulations.

With several skilled, experienced accountants on your team and an intricate web of tools and IT systems, as an accounting manager, doing financial projections and handling company’s assets will be the least of your worries.

Instead, you need to focus on some of the most crucial leadership skills. No matter how arbitrary some of the items on this list may appear, they are all vital in one’s ability to perform.

 

Here are critical skills we look for when hiring a finance/accounting manager:

A strong sense of ethics

Accounting isn’t just about crunching numbers and producing reports. It is not limited to proficiency with accounting software and demonstrating analytical abilities. Ethics are critical, as well. An exceedingly savvy accounting manager may initiate dishonest accounting practices that affect your company’s reputation. For example, he may abuse his position of trust and in collaboration with others inflate profits for many years, forcing your company to overcome serious ethical and financial burdens.

Accounting professionals are required to abide by the ethical standards set out by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and professional accounting and financial organizations. They must not only uphold ethical accounting practices but also model those behaviours and espouse values that inspire everyone on the team.

 

Cross-functional leadership

Project teams comprise individuals from different departments and across hierarchical levels. In this context, accounting managers may have a moderating role involving budget, a mediating role wherein they do their bit to manage budget conflicts between competing departments or a leadership role where they provide inputs and aid decision-making by assessing across all company functions/departments.

Regardless of the role they play, accounting managers have to work with all internal departments on a daily basis. This requires them to not only have a good understanding of the organizational workflow and outcomes of every department but also effectively relate to and communicate with other department managers.

 

Time management

Meeting deadlines, delegating responsibilities, handling any unpredictable situation arising in cross-functional projects and ensuring a work-life balance is possible only through proactive time management. Accounting managers can use their time productively and meet both professional and personal priorities by maintaining a calendar to organize their time, establishing strict work hours, leveraging project management applications and setting aside time for family and friends. And when these managers need to hire new team members, efficient recruitment solutions can provide critical time management, as well as savings.

 

Adaptability

The ebbs and flows of business, regulatory changes and evolving standards in the accounting industry demand an adaptable mindset. Accounting managers should stay up-to-date with industry requirements to ensure compliance, deliver consistently good services to clients and handle various personality types in cross-functional leadership and collaboration tasks. It helps to stay on the pulse of changing industry requirements as well as observe how peers and competitor companies are responding and adapting.

Financial Services Professional Team

Persuasion

Collaborating with department managers and overseeing direct reports and lower-level staff calls for good communication skills, the ability to present views logically and persuading people to change their behaviours, improve their performance, make adjustments and agree to solutions that benefit the organization.

When faced with conflict, handling negotiations, engaging clients or third-party providers, persuasion is a handy tool. Accounting managers should add ‘the ability to persuade and negotiate’ to their skills arsenal so they can more easily build relationships with clients and team members based on trust and mutual respect.

 

Develop your own skills.

If you expect your employees to develop their technology skills, expand their business knowledge and get certifications, you should lead by example. Your employees will admire your tenacity and dedication to continue to learn and better yourself.

 

A good manager deals with conflict (not avoids it!)

This is really important. Don’t put off approaching your employees to discuss issues or conflicts. The longer you wait and allow conflict to fester, the more credibility you lose in their eyes. Uncover the issues quickly, and come to a reasonable resolution as soon as possible.

 

Set high but realistic expectations.

Challenge your people, but make their goals achievable. This will show that you understand your employees’ skill sets and capabilities and that you have confidence in them. By empowering them to accomplish more, your good employees will work harder, get better, and ultimately achieve success for the whole team.

 

Be open to new ideas and new perspectives.

As a manager, you are privy to a variety of different perspectives and ideas. Tap into these. Use them as a competitive advantage. Don’t expect others to conform to one way of thinking. Embrace these unique viewpoints – you could uncover ways to be more innovative or efficient.

 

Take a break.

Hey, sometimes you have to work through lunch. It happens. Just make sure this is the exception and not the norm. Taking a few minutes throughout the day to clear your head and prioritize can increase your own productivity, and also sets an example for your employees to do the same.

 

Recognize your big-picture impact.

As a manager, you have the potential to change someone’s career, and sometimes even their life. That’s a big responsibility, so take it seriously.

 

Effective finance managers listen more than they talk.

Before you can manage your team, you must listen to their concerns, questions, and opinions. Make a point to pause in your conversations more often, and really listen, instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next. You’ll be surprised about how much you’ll learn about your employees, what motivates them and what they’re looking for from you.

 

Figure out employees’ personal and professional motivators.

This is directly related to listening. Pay attention to each of your employees’ individual motivators. A one-size-fits-all system for rewarding good work is likely only to fit a select few and may lead to disengaged employees. Motivation has to happen on an individual level. The best way to incentivize or reward an employee is to listen to and observe what motivates them – both professionally and personally.

 

Learn from your mistakes to be an effective manager.

In order to grow as a manager, embrace the mistakes that you make. And, just as important, own up to the mistakes that you make as a team – after all, these are your people and your responsibility. Don’t be ashamed of failures – use them as motivation to improve your team and your results, and to be a better manager and a better financial professional.

 

Communication

To be the most effective manager that you can be, it is vital to have open lines of communication with your employees. Communicate your expectations clearly and often, consider the employee’s unique perspective, and encourage them to ask questions or voice concerns openly.

The first thing you need to understand is that there’s a common misconception about accountants that they’re just people dwelling in numbers. You see, one of the things you need to understand is that most of your clients and employers won’t have the same level of financial literacy you do, which is why you’ll have to give them a simplified written or oral report. For this reason alone, every accounting manager needs to be well versed in the art of communication. Keep in mind that a powerful presentation may make a difference between them heeding your advice and ignoring it altogether.

In theory, coming out with your financial projection or warning may be considered enough, yet, just because you’ve warned your superiors of a problem or presented them with a possibility doesn’t mean that you’ve done enough. Your inability to persuade them or interpret this data in a way that they’ll find understandable may be considered a grievous offence. In turn, a mistake that they make from failing to listen to your advice might end up being interpreted as your fault, which could lead to damaging your reputation.

Lastly, as a manager, you’ll need to transfer orders and gather feedback, neither of which can be done efficiently without proper communication skills. Moreover, an accounting manager plays a crucial role in devising a sound business plan that will later be presented to investors. This is also a good reason why one needs to work on their communication.

Female Workers In An Office

Technology

The age of pen and paper is long behind us, which is why an accounting manager of the 21st century needs to be as tech-savvy as possible. Most accounting programs are fairly simple to use, yet, as a manager, you’ll have to worry about more than just accounting. Integrating these accounting tools with collaboration platforms, IM software and remote desktop monitoring is just the glimpse of a system that could potentially revolutionize your productivity. This is probably the main reason why best accounting firms also insist on one’s IT background and competence.

Another important factor to look out for is the issue of adaptability, which is only something that a truly tech-savvy person can do. An accounting manager needs to be the first one to understand these changes. The reason why this is considered a leadership skill is due to the fact that it enables an accounting manager to lead others by example.

 

Critical thinking

One of the greatest misconceptions that a lot of people make is believing that when it comes to numbers, regulations and laws, there’s no room for interpretation or critical thinking. Anyone who has ever belonged to the world of accounting knows just how ridiculous this statement sounds.

The ability to spot patterns and form a strategy is completely impossible without the ability to think critically. This soft skill is something that can be developed over time, however, this process can be facilitated if one is willing to practice it actively. In fact, not taking anything for granted is probably one of the best principles for any team leader to adhere to.

 

Results-oriented

Although a good account manager shouldn’t be pushy, it’s important not to lose sight of the company’s goals and their role in generating results. By understanding client needs, building trust, and establishing a rapport, the account manager secures and maintains profitable accounts. In addition, this individual is organized enough to monitors sales activity and actively seeks ways to up-sell products and services. They also utilize a successful client retention strategy and generate referrals from existing clients.

 

Good Business judgment

A good account manager also has business insight. In the competitive marketplace, this individual is sensitive to industry shifts and business trends. They actively identify new areas of growth and pursue those opportunities. This individual objectively weighs the pros and cons and balances data-driven decisions with experience and gut instinct to arrive at and execute the best decision.

Being a high performing account manager requires a combination of interpersonal and goal-oriented skills. Developing these five traits is essential to successfully secure, maintaining, and increasing client relationships that will achieve the organization’s objectives.

 

Qualities of an Accounting Supervisor

Teamwork

Accounting supervisors must be team players. They work closely with members of a company’s management team, providing them with financial information that is relevant to their operational needs. They also work with departmental heads, ensuring that each department keeps within its agreed budget.

 

Management

Supervisors need strong management skills so they can get the best results from their own accounting teams. They must be able to coordinate the work of a team of accounts clerks and other junior accounting staff and develop the skills and resources to deal with the company’s accounting requirements efficiently.

 

Technical Competence

Accounting supervisors must demonstrate technical competence, with qualifications and a level of experience that meet the requirements of the job. Some positions require a degree with a major in accounting or a related subject such as finance or business administration.

 

Communication

Good communication skills are essential to an accounting supervisor. They must be able to present complex financial information in a form that is understandable to non-specialists. They must be capable of communicating information orally and in the form of presentations or written reports.

 

Accuracy

The ability to work with accuracy is vital. The accounting team is responsible for the successful management of a company’s income and expenses. Failure to maintain accurate records increases the risk of poor financial performance. Lack of accuracy could also lead to penalties if a company’s accounting standards do not comply with industry regulations.

 

Analysis

Accounting supervisors need excellent analytical skills. They must be able to interpret financial data and make recommendations based on their findings. The management team makes important operational and investment decisions based on the accounting team’s reports and recommendations.

 

Control

Accounting supervisors need a good sense of control. They must be able to quickly identify potential problems in cash flow or budget overruns that could put the company’s financial position at risk.

 

Efficiency

Accounting supervisors must be able to work quickly and efficiently, making use of computerized accounting systems to automate routine work. They must be competent in using accounting software and developing processes aligned with the company’s operational and reporting needs.

 

Pressure

The ability to work under pressure is important, particularly in the periods leading up to quarterly or annual reporting when certain deadlines must complete reports. Accounting supervisors and their teams will also be under pressure when companies are developing plans for investment or other major business changes.

 

Honesty

Accounting supervisors must demonstrate the highest standards of honesty. High-profile accounting scandals at companies such as Enron mean that company’s accounting standards are under the spotlight. Supervisors must not be afraid to reveal any discrepancies or financial irregularities that could compromise the company’s integrity.

At the very end, keep in mind that you’re not an accountant first and a manager second, you’re both of these things at the same time. Balancing these two aspects is probably the first thing you need to achieve before focusing on anything else. The importance of your leadership abilities lies in the fact that they benefit each member of your team individually, same as the company as a whole.

Hopefully, these tips will give you a better understanding of what your people are looking for in a manager, and help you lead your accounting and finance teams to success. For more tips on becoming a more effective manager, managing your workforce, or to add top finance and accounting talent to your team, contact an Accounting Principals office near you.

 

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