Staff training is hardly done at small and medium businesses (SME) in accounting. As such, the SMEs are missing out on a very easy and important conduit of productivity improvements. The Accounting world is innovating and improving with the technology available to speed up data input ; in fact a lot of data entry can be avoided by downloading (into the accounting software) directly from other systems – Payroll, Banking and credit cards are some examples. I encourage my clients to set aside an hour, a month to train their accounting staff. I start by setting up a program, that goes from overview to detail. I explain how an overall accounting system functions within an organization and its purpose. I set out data gathering, recording and reporting needs. I contrast traditional and new methods.
Then I talk to them of productivity improvement tools – where this can be used and how their job will become more interesting and how they can become more analytical rather than recording. I teach on basics of accounting and then leading to a higher level, that shows what and how an accounting function can contribute to improving business results. The teaching proceeds to show them how they can move from a reactive mentality, and putting out fires to a planning and anticipation mentality. When we talk of new methods etc. the question next is where can we use it in the firm and by who? This gets them to use and be comfortable with the new tools and procedures.
Training should be viewed as job and productivity enrichment at the same time. This way, the investment SMEs make will have a tangible return.