As a business owner or manager, you know how important understanding your numbers is. But if front-line employees who are far removed from the accounting department view accounting as an unpleasant chore rather than a critical job, the data you use to make decisions might not be accurate.
To get the information you need to make the right decisions, make sure your employees understand just how important accounting is to both the company and their personal success.
Tell Employees the Reasons Behind Your Procedures
You've probably put a lot of effort into defining policies and procedures that make sure every job in your company is done right. The problem is you're often asking your employees to use the longer or harder way of doing something.
This creates the risk of employees taking shortcuts and becoming disgruntled when you reprimand them. You don't want your employees to feel treated like children.
Instead, teach them the "why" behind each part of their tasks so they can understand the importance of what they're doing and take ownership in getting it right. If they still think there's a better way, they can propose changes that fully address your concerns.
Let Your Employees Have Skin in the Game
Owners whose entire livelihoods depend on the success of a business have much more incentive to help it succeed than employees on fixed paychecks who can find a new job tomorrow. While giving all employees equity is usually not feasible, even small incentives can help.
You can tie small bonuses or perks like afternoons off to things like increased sales, reduced costs or no accounting errors found during the month. Show employees that you appreciate a job well done and they'll return your respect by taking ownership in what they do.
Have Different Departments Work Together
Once a business grows beyond a few employees, rivalries often develop between departments. Healthy competition between departments can drive growth, but bad feelings can hurt your company even more.
One common example is the accounting department needing updated numbers from the sales department. The sales department might feel that isn't their job and that it's a burden added to their already heavy workload.
The key is building a culture that all departments are one big team who help each other so requests aren't seen as a burden. Typical ways of accomplishing this include having employees from different departments sit next to each other or having regular informal meetings so employees get to know people from outside their own department.
Make Things Easier for Your Employees
Many accounting tasks are boring and repetitive, and this is exactly why it's hard to motivate employees asked to perform them. Think about ways to avoid having employees perform these mundane tasks.
For example, manual sales logs and inventory records can be replaced by a good point-of-sale system. All your employees need to do is scan customer purchases into the computer. Then, the information is automatically updated and sent off to your accounting and bookkeeping services so they can compile your monthly reports. Upgrading your systems will cost you money, but it's an investment, not an expense. First, even highly motivated employees make errors that computers can't, and errors often cost you money.
More importantly, automation frees up more time for your employees to focus on customer service, business development, or other activities that directly add to your bottom line. Learn more with our free accounting guides and articles.