An accounting and finance manager handles some of an organization’s most crucial needs. They need to hone the necessary leadership skills to successfully manage their finance and accounting team. As someone who is responsible for “the bottom line” and handles sensitive company data, it’s equally important to know how to communicate effectively, be ethical and have the skills to overcome obstacles efficiently.
Managing a team is more than just balancing numbers. It also comes down to improving the productivity and efficiency of your team. How can you be a better finance or accounting leader?
Tips to becoming a better finance and accounting manager
We’ve rounded up some of our top tips to effectively lead a highly productive and engaged finance and accounting team.
1. Set expectations and trust
Once you have set expectations about the logistics of how and where your employees will be working, it’s important to trust that they will do their jobs efficiently. This means you must avoid the urge to micromanage your team. Foster a culture of trust by evaluating the quality and efficiency of their work – not by how much time they spent sitting at their desk. You can set up regular meetings to touch base and clearly communicate expectations, goals, and deadlines.
2. Communicate transparently
Transparent communication is at the heart of leading any team. You need to be consistent with your communication and make sure your employees are able to talk to you when necessary. This is important for feedback and any other concerns that may arise to avoid misunderstandings that lead to wasted time or errors. Information must be delivered and received proactively to ensure timely review of projections and budgets. Transparent communication means that expectations are understood, and projects get completed with accuracy.
3. Solve problems with empathy
It’s important to be able to approach your team about any issues or conflicts that arise instead of avoiding them. Always be empathetic about the situation at hand. As issues arise, such as miscommunication with projects or other errors, be sure to address them and find solutions to move on from the problem. This will help keep you credible and approachable. Avoid attacking members of your team and instead approach the situation with understanding and a caring attitude.
4. Encourage ongoing education
Finance and accounting professionals need to be in the know regarding evolving processes and maintaining their professional credentials. As a leader, you should encourage your team members to further their education through online and networking resources where possible. Finance and accounting professionals constantly want to learn and giving them the flexibility and encouragement to take on educational opportunities will keep them motivated to thrive on the team. You can also arrange to help them meet their continuing professional education requirements through resources such as Ledgent CPE University.
5. Be open to new ideas
When you manage a finance and accounting team with different personalities and backgrounds, there will be many people with unique ideas for your projects and tasks. Use this as an opportunity to improve your projects and make sure to be open to different suggestions. You never know how these ideas (even if they are different from yours) might end up enhancing the team and the projects at hand.
6. Streamline processes for efficiency and productivity
When working on projects, find ways to prioritize and streamline processes to lower costs, improve productivity and increase accuracy in reporting. Whether it’s adopting a standard chart of accounts or purchasing software that manages reports efficiently, finding effective ways of financial and accounting management will enhance your team’s performance.
7. Acknowledge your mistakes
One of the most valuable traits of a good finance and accounting manager is the ability to acknowledge your errors. We are all human and all of us make mistakes no matter how careful we may be. Instead of putting yourself down or defending yourself, make sure to embrace the mistakes and use them as an opportunity to learn and do better next time. Your team members will see this as an example to be transparent about not hiding their own mistakes and understand that everyone has room to grow and improve.
8. Cross-functional leadership
As an accounting and finance leader, you will have to work across departments to ensure budgets are planned properly. You will need to keep track of company spending and other critical details related to financial matters. Whether it’s receiving sales forecasts from the sales team or social media budgets from marketing, building relationships with different departments is crucial for the finance and accounting team to work on financial reports. In order to do this efficiently, managers need to understand each department’s workflow and be able to work in synergy with department managers.
9. Set expectations for the team
The finance and accounting team is one of the most important teams in a business. Expectations within the team need to be set so everyone knows their specific role in every critical project. Keep expectations realistic and achievable so that no one feels overwhelmed and overworked. Maintaining achievable expectations will motivate them to do their best and empower them to continue to improve, whether it’s reaching their targets and goals or completing projects successfully.
As a manager, you are held accountable for your team. You’re the person your team member will be looking up to and will feel empowered by. These helpful tips should help set you apart as a team leader and manage your finance and accounting team successfully.
Looking for your next financial and accounting hire? Contact one of our Ledgent Finance and Accounting recruiters today!