One of the most critical departments of your company is the finance or accounting department. This department provides control of your company’s lifeblood and, as such, provides one of the keys to your company’s success or failure.
While most small business owners recognize the need for an accounting department, many don’t realize how providing your finance staff with regular training and education can benefit the business as a whole.
Benefits of finance/accounting employee training
A strong employee training plan for your accounting department can help you in ways you may not have considered.
Here are some benefits from providing your accounting team with the training they need.
How complex is your business structure?
Employees who know what is expected of them, and are provided the tools to meet those expectations are more productive and offer better customer service to clients, company leadership and coworkers. Employee efficiency and performance improves when they are able to learn new techniques, and keep their skills up to date through training and development.
Helps employees feel valued
Training is an effective recruitment and employee retention strategy.
It also helps define employees' responsibilities, as well as, gives them the tools they need to achieve them.
Defends your company from a loss of institutional knowledge
Training is important to succession planning as more experienced employees leave or prepare to retire. It also allows more experienced employees the opportunity to share their experiences, good or bad, as a learning opportunity to the next generation.
Increases communication and consistency.
Giving employees an opportunity to engage through training allows them the chance to discuss weaknesses in the department or its processes. It also provides an opportunity for two-way communication from team members to the leadership level. Training provides consistency across the department as everyone receives the same information.
You’re convinced, but what is next?
You’ve decided to set up a training and professional development program for your accounting department, but you’re not sure what classes to offer. Key points to consider are if it should be led by someone internally or from outside the company, along with other specific details. In this blog, we’ll discuss seven steps that can help you develop an effective program.
Step 1: Perform an internal audit
You need to assess the department’s prior knowledge to determine its needs, and find the weaknesses, and deficiencies. One way to make this assessment is by conducting a skills gap analysis. Workable provides an easy to follow guide to this process. This will provide you with qualitative data to help build your training program.
Step 2: Get anonymous, company-wide feedback
There are pros and cons of using anonymous feedback but for the purpose of creating a professional development program, it could be valuable.
Ask employees to evaluate themselves and the overall team without finger-pointing. This will allow employees to provide feedback on their training and development needs without the fear of being fired, ridiculed or judged. It’s another opportunity to gain qualitative data.
Step 3: Analyze the data
Find common issues. Set your objectives and define your goals for providing training. Then develop the training to address the skill gaps. According to the 14th ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage survey, nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of companies have reported talent shortages and difficulty hiring, a 15-year high. That’s why we advocate for creating your own talent — provide your employees with the training for the skills your company needs and they lack.
Step 4: Assist employees in creating their own action plans
Get employees engaged in developing their individual professional development plan.
Encourage them to learn skills that will provide them, and the company the most opportunity for growth.
Step 5: Determine appropriate professional development
Take into consideration people’s unique learning styles by finding professional development that can work for the entire department while keeping everyone’s needs in mind.
People learn differently, whether it be by hearing, seeing or doing. Some people will need technical skills (think accounting, tax compliance, software), and others will need soft skills training (communications, problem solving, innovation, etc.)
Conferences and events, trade publications, membership in professional organizations, online courses and educational materials can provide simple opportunities for professional development.
Step 6: Get hands-on help from an accounting firm
Providing a mentoring program is another effective training method that should be considered. If you already have seasoned, knowledgeable staff, you can utilize them to pair with new employees.
If you don’t have staff onboard who have the needed skills to act as mentors, you can outsource assistance. Ascension CPA offers mentoring opportunities to help your accounting department. We have a staff of professionals with a wide range of experience who can help train your accounting staff to meet your goals.
Talk to one of Ascension’s experts to see how we can help close the skills gap in your company.
Step 7: Reassess at regular intervals.
Has there been improvement? A reduction in complaints, less employee turnover? Is the staff happier and more productive? It’s important to evaluate and potentially revise new programs. You will find that new techniques, technology and requirements will always provide new material for updated training.
And finally, remember that these things take time. Providing continuous education, mentoring, training and even leadership from an outsourced CFO can provide new ideas, techniques and strategies for your company to grow.
Helping you with your training needs
Ascension CPA can provide help with your company’s training needs. Whether it be mentorship, accounting training programs, leadership and oversight from an outsourced CFO; or whatever best meets your needs, we are available to help.