In accounting and finance, teams focus on numbers. But without strong communication skills, errors can increase – and those errors can be costly. How costly? For SP+, a parking management firm serving Pennsylvania’s capital city, communication errors cost them upwards of $827,000.
They made two major errors leading to that staggering total. First, they deposited money into the wrong account, and then they issued a payment by check that had already been made electronically because an accountant was not told to cease manual payments. These types of mistakes are easy to avoid when communication flows freely. Here are four tips to keep your A&F team from making costly errors.
Create a Culture That Values Speaking Up
It is the workers “in the trenches” who often spot disaster early, yet many don’t speak up for fear of making waves. You must create a culture where it is OK to speak up and provide feedback on systems, processes and error reporting. If someone sees that a process may be doubled, or that a system is encouraging even small errors, they must feel that their voice will be heard without repercussion. Consider recognizing and rewarding employees who develop new and better ways to improve accuracy and efficiency.
Trust, but Verify
The double payments of SP+ could have been avoided if a manager had just verified that proper communication occurred. Managers should trust their staff to communicate, but there is no harm in verifying and confirming the sending and receiving of announcements and messages. During staff meetings, run down a list of important communications that should have gone out during the week to verify all parties receive messages. Have the team’s admin include references to those announcements in meeting recap notes.
If a change occurs to an account, every employee who touches that account must be made aware of those changes. Create a point of contact for each vendor and account who will be responsible for tracking changes and communicating them to the rest of the team. Never assume that changes will automatically trickle through the pipeline.
When other departments turn to accounting and finance for reports, require specificity and detail. You must know precisely what the department needs in order to provide accurate information. Ask for exact dates, accounts, vendors, and other details to ensure that the reports coming out of your office do not lead other departments to make incorrect assumptions or analysis.
Accurate and efficient accounting and finance teams are about people. Having open communication is meaningless without strong individuals working for you. If your company is seeking top accounting and finance talent, or you want to improve your A&F hiring processes, reach out to the expert recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions today. As a market leader in A&F recruiting, we can help you create a team that will keep your business moving forward, and keep your money flowing.