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From tracking income and expenditures to ensuring statutory compliance to financially informing business decisions, accountants play an essential role in running a business.

Nevertheless, accounting departments struggle to complete tasks and face difficulties keeping everything on track, especially during busy times of the year, due to inefficient tools or empowerment to gain efficiency and speed. And without the proper leadership and technical support, there is a greater chance that reports will have inaccurate information, leading to a financially unhealthy company where all departments suffer.

Therefore, supporting accounting departments needs to be a top priority for savvy employers who want a flourishing business. Now is the time to dive deeper into how company leaders can invest in their accounting teams and why it matters for the future of their company.

Focus on communication skills

Have you ever organized an office debate event for your accounting department? This simple idea can help team members identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats while strengthening the ability to create logical arguments based on statistics.

If you are wondering why this matters, consider accountants as the keepers of your organization’s finances and the gateway to gathering support from investors. To help your business thrive, accountants need to possess the ability to present clear, strong financially driven arguments about how the business is doing. Debates can boost the skills required to convince C-suite leaders and venture capitalists to fund your business.

Moreover, regular, clear communication during the month-end close or balance sheet reconciliations can ensure that everyone has an accurate picture of the company’s financial health. Effective communication makes it easier for different departments to formulate strategies and make decisions, increasing their productivity by up to 25%.

Setting up idea-sharing gatherings or organizing team-building events helps create an environment where accountants can speak their minds and be heard. These informal gatherings can bring the team closer together and are valuable, particularly during intense work periods such as the year-end close or tax season.

Provide accounting teams with enabling technologies

If company leaders want to keep up with the market and gain a competitive edge, listen to the accountants: 83% of them agree that investing in the digitization of services, such as sales and use tax calculations, payroll, and month-end close, is essential to business growth.

For starters, handling tasks manually or via Excel lends itself to errors, violations and manipulation. While rules can be set up to build each spreadsheet and amend it manually, it is extremely time-consuming. Accounting automation tools can create multiple ledger entries in seconds without the risk of errors and remove the most inefficient aspects of accountants’ jobs.

Second, embracing automation tools enables accountants to focus on making data-driven decisions rather than building time-consuming reports. Advanced data analytics enables accounting teams to better understand the business environment, highlight positive revenue streams, recognize money drains and improve their management systems.

Bear in mind that you do not need to automate every accounting function at once. The first step is to communicate and be transparent with your finance teams to identify the necessities and decide which accounting function they want to automate (another reason why that debate session was useful). Once the objectives and requirements are clear, team leaders should begin the software platform selection process.

Cultivate a culture of learning

Research conducted by Big Four firm Deloitte indicates that high-performing learning organizations are more profitable, productive, innovative, quality-assured and future-ready. Therefore, keeping finance and accounting departments up to date with the latest developments in the field is more important than ever.

Sponsoring interesting webinars and out-of-the-office training programs or helping finance higher learning opportunities are some of the most effective ways that employers can empower accounting teams to learn the ropes of the industry.

For example, CPE opportunities improve accountants’ ability to effectively complete their jobs. From online courses to live events, there are different ways to get this certification. Since some options are not free of charge, companies can offer to cover the expenses to help their employees maintain their professionalism and expertise.

Additionally, it is a leader’s responsibility to coach accountants, recognize the main causes of errors, and remedy these issues. Thanks to employee coaching and regular feedback, leaders can increase the level of employee engagement, which results in 21% more profitability. In order to enhance a culture of learning and promote knowledge sharing, leaders can also invite senior accounting team members to guide new staff through their new journey.

Wrapping up, we can all agree that accounting teams can make or break a business. If company leaders have their eyes set on standing out from the competition and scoring big, they need to find the most effective way to support their accounting departments.

This article was written by Shagun Malhotra from Accounting Today and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]