Why you hire the wrong accountants

Blurred background image. In the foreground there is a desk with a laptop, calculator and pair of glasses. There is the hands and forearms of a man and he is holding a pen as he touches the calculator and he is holding some papers.

Several years ago, I went to visit a new potential client.

In the CEO’s office, I noticed three boxes of accounting software.

Why do you have so many systems, I wanted to know.

“That one was the platform that our first accountant liked,” he pointed to one box.

Then he pointed to another one. “That one the second person liked. And that one over there was the choice of our third accountant.”

It soon became clear that over a short period of time, this company had gone through a succession of finance people. Each time they recruited someone they gave them a more grandiose job title and more money. But they never achieved anything. Each one started from scratch, building the function to suit their own personal preferences rather than to objective standards of excellence or what was best for the business.

The company had become distressed – and I have no doubt that the chaos in the accounting department was a huge contributing factor.

The real issue here?

The company owner took responsibility for building an accounting function which they understood very little about.

They had no idea what an efficient, successful finance department that helps propel a company forward looks like.

And no idea what kind of skills the person heading that department should have – or how to judge whether they’re a success.

That’s why they kept on hiring the wrong people for the job and getting frustrated. And it’s quite possible they were getting rid of them for the wrong reasons too.

It reminds me of a young man I used to know, who tried project managing his own home extension and renovation, with no experience at all of the building industry. He, too, hired the wrong builders, lacked the nous to negotiate a proper payment schedule with them and had no way to judge whether their work was any good.

You won’t be surprised to hear that they continually messed him about, dragged out the work indefinitely, asked for more money, and produced some shoddy work.

When you head a team, you don’t need to understand every aspect of their job; that would be ridiculous. But you do need to understand what “good” looks like in order to make the right hiring decisions and evaluate their performance.

So how about you?

How deep is your experience of the finance function?

Do you – hand on heart – know what they should be delivering to you each month, in order to propel your company forward?

Do you have a clear idea of the financial systems and processes they need to put in place, for your numbers to be processed smoothly?

And even if you have a gut feeling of what a “bad” finance person looks like, can you clearly define what a good one does, and what skills you must look out for?

There is no shame in answering “no” to these questions. If you are not an accountant, there’s no reason why you should know these things, any more than I would know how to build a world-class IT department.

But if the answer is “no”, then it will prove difficult to build a successful finance and accounting function in-house. (Possible, but difficult.)

The good news is you don’t have struggle through this yourself. We can help.

We work with companies like yours to manage their finances to world-class standards.

For over 30 years, we have helped hundreds of companies install robust financial systems and processes into their business, and get the kind of professional, smooth financial management that is standard in corporate companies, even when they are much smaller.

Although we are an outsourced service, we work with you so closely, you’ll feel that we’re in-house.

Actually, you’ll likely receive a lot more attention from us than from a small in-house team. We make a particular point of working with the company owner personally, to help you understand your true financial picture and use your numbers to make better decisions.

And you don’t have to worry about hiring the right people. Our team includes people with a range of skills and areas of experience, far broader and deeper than most companies can hire by themselves. They are all at your service.

In short, we know what “good” financial management looks like – and ensure you get the best.

If that’s the kind of financial management you want, why don’t you get in touch with us today. Simply hit ‘reply’ to this email or call us on 01279 647 447 to find out more.

Warmly,

Garry

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In this blog archive our Managing Director, Garry Mumford simplifies all things financial and shares with us a lifetime of practical financial business advice.

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