The tips on how to become a better accounting and finance manager that you are about to read in this article are what has worked for me as an accounting and finance manager.
Managing an accounting and finance department does not have to be stressful if the right approach is adopted. In fact, it should be fun being an accounting and finance manager all things being equal- as if all things will ever be equal, lol.
15 tips to becoming a better accounting and finance manager
1. Improve Communication
The first thing that I did after accepting the offer to become a finance manager was to work on my communication skill. An ambiguity in communication is a major cause of misunderstandings, conflicts, and above all, works related tension that inevitably leads to inefficiency.
Clear communication in my experience as a finance manager resolves over 80% of misunderstandings that would have otherwise escalated into a full blown rancour.
2. Live By Example Especially In The Area Of Knowledge And Certification Acquisition
You can’t possibly motivate your subordinates to become professionally qualified or to acquire new relevant knowledge if you are not living by example. Two members of my team became CISAs shortly after I qualified as a CISA.
I didn’t just assume that they got inspired by my qualification but I asked what motivated them in one of our routine informal non work related chats and they said they were simply following my footsteps. That kind of made me proud as a leader.
3. Deal with Conflict
There is no better option to handling a conflict than dealing with it head on. Shying away from conflict is tantamount to shying away from your responsibility as an accounting and finance manager.
4. Set Realistic Goals That Are Achievable
You will only make your job as an accounting and finance manager more difficult if you try to set objectives too high for your staff members as they will simply give up. So learn to strike the right balance in setting objectives. The de-facto standard is to use the SMART approach to goal and target setting.
5. Be Proactive And Open To New Ideas
Ideas to solve difficult problems most times come from unexpected sources. Being proactive and open to new ideas is one of the most important soft skills that makes successful managers; not only in finance but in all facets of business management.
6. Take Some Timeout
My most productive times are usually after I come back from vacation. The feeling of freshness that you bring back from vacation gives you new perspective to things. You will discover that things that were once challenging will become relatively easy and intuitive. Make sure that you take some time out to replenish your lost energy. Don’t be an activity oriented manager who never goes on vacation.
7. Be A Friend Not A Boss
A friend gets people to do more than is required of them than a boss will ever convince them to do. Your subordinates will generally be above and beyond when they see you as a friend and not a boss. I bet you have seen the movie called the horrible bosses.
8. Recognise Talents That Will Make Positive Impact
Your ability to recognise and hire those will make positive impact as an accounting and finance manager is very vital to having a successful career as a head of accounting and finance team. Part of functions of accounting and finance department of a modern business is to hunt and manage finance human capital. Your life will be a lot easier if you have capable hands to work with.
9. Listen Before You Talk
A priceless hallmark of quality leaders is their ability to listen. You will hear both the spoken and unspoken words when you listen. Listening gives you the opportunity to become a better communicator which will directly impact on your ability to bring out the best in people. Remember that a listener is a super efficient leader.
10. Identify What It Is That Motivates Your Staff
It is very important that you know what motivates your staff both professionally and personally. I had success in bringing out the best in one of my accounting officers simply by making it a habit to discuss parenting tips with her during quiet less busy hours.
I noticed she was a single mum who was having trouble concentrating at work due to the pressure at home. What this did was to make her pay 110% attention to her work so that she can quickly and accurately clear her desk so we can share parenting best practices.
11. Learn From Mistakes
It is only the dead that do not make mistakes. To make mistakes is not the end of the world rather it is an opportunity to begin afresh more intelligently. The better finance and accounting manager that I am today is a product of series mistakes that I have made in the past both on the job and off the job. The only crime associated with mistakes is not learning from it.
12. Motivate And Not Intimidate Employees
What constitutes the best management style has always been a debate amongst professional managers. Some say that it is best to be fearsome and intimidating in order to bring out the best in the staff while others say that it is better to be soft and tender with the staff. Well, what has worked for me is to be a motivator. There are various ways to motivate accounting staff and yet not be seen as either too hard or soft.
13. Be A Good Finder
This follows from the above point. You will surely find fault in any person if you look for it. Why not be a good finder rather than a fault finder? Your staff members will ask ‘how high’ whenever you say ‘jump’ if they see you as a good finder. The end result is that you will have a vibrant accounting and finance department that will go the extra miles to get things done.
14. Develop Some Sort of Investigative Skills
Having some forensic accounting skills under your sleeve as a finance manager will equip you and allow you discharge your duty is the defender of a company’s assets. This investigative and forensic skill is especially important in this day and age where business technology has become pervasive.
15. Regularly Hold Group Informal Chats With Your Staff
I initially started by holding some formal brainstorming session with my subordinates in the department in other to ways of moving things forward but soon discover that this isn’t working. What I did was to still retain the weekly departmental meetings but then look for any opportunity to have chats with other members of the team.
I try as much as possible to let them know that what we discuss there is off the records. This way, people gave their honest opinion about things. Some even challenged some of the decisions I had made which ended up making me a better accounting and finance manager.
I hope that these tips on how to become a better accounting and finance manager have been informative. Please let me know what you think in the comment box below.