Offices that use a Rolodex, have computer screens with bright green lettering with a black background and contain rotary phones on each desk may have some issues with upgrading to newer standards of technology. Although these examples are extreme, some accounting firms and their employees may feel that office improvements should have happened yesterday.
A recent survey published by Robert Hall Management Resources shows that chief financial officers want their staffs to think forward when it comes to office improvements. Even a small improvement, such as better communication among lower-level and upper-tier management, can make a big difference and earn more profits.
Ideas can come from anywhere, but the culture of office improvements must come from the upper echelon and work its way down. If the c-suite doesn't want to hear new ideas or try progressive things within the industry, then the company culture probably will not change unless other firms do so first. Innovation means becoming an industry leader.
Accounting technology, although it may pose a big initial investment, can make an entire office structure run more efficiently over the long run. Get out of the past and embrace the future with several facets of technology that can make your firm run better. Integrate the technology into every aspect of the company to make advances in the software easier. Try cloud computing so your staff has access to information when they need it most. Even better, cloud software can be accessed remotely from smartphone apps and logins from home and not just office computers. When you stay up-to-the-minute with your clients, you become better engaged with them. Saving weeks of work later with improvements now can save millions of man-hours over decades.
The best office improvements start as ideas. Every employee, from the new copy clerk to the CEO, should be allowed to voice his or her opinion. Have regular brainstorming sessions, preferably outside of an office setting, where the free exchange of ideas is encouraged. Drop ranks for an hour and see what ideas come forth. What happens in these sessions stays in the sessions. In other words, if anyone displays anger, frustration or other emotions, their behavior cannot be brought back to the day-to-day operations of the firm. Otherwise, everyone becomes offended and even more upset.
Finance and accounting can have many practical office improvements that have nothing to do with rules, regulations and laws. How staff handle clients can be one facet of accounting that can often be fixed with simple communication. Instead of talking on the phone or flying to a meeting, try videoconferencing for a face-to-face meeting. Try to see if clients can, somehow, integrate with your accounting technology to deliver real-time data so accountants can catch financial red flags before they become burdensome to investors and executives.
Office improvements can take your company from a bicycle's pace to that of a Ferrari. But this must happen with attitude adjustments first, ideas next and physical changes last. Everyone has to be on board, starting with the upper echelon in the CFO's office.
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