4 Steps to Get Your Accounting Back on Track
Your accounting can easily fall behind as your organization grows, creating significant headaches for you and your team. Whether you’ve had turnover in your accounting department, outgrown your financial software, or outpaced your accounting hires, you’re not the only one struggling to keep up. Here are some of the most glaring problems we hear from organizations:
- Delayed financials & compliance. Often, growing organizations can lag weeks or even months behind on their monthly close process.
- Redundant data entry and cumbersome processes. Many want to move to paperless and automated workflows to free up staff time.
- Manual reporting. Many small business owners complain of needing to use Excel spreadsheets or other tools to split financial reports into meaningful data and consolidate multiple entities.
If you can relate to any of these, it’s time to do an evaluation and make some changes. Here are four steps to get your accounting back on track:
1. Evaluate your people, processes, and technologies
Take some time to think about where your organization is and where you expect to go in the future. With this in mind, assess your current accounting software; is it able to handle the complexities introduced by the growth of your organization? In addition to considering your software, you should appraise your people – do you have the right staff in place with the necessary skillsets to effectively manage your business?
Also look at your accounting processes, such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, monthly close, reporting, cash management, and credit card management. Where are you spending the most time as an organization, and which of these processes needs improvement? A thorough examination of your processes is essential to improving your accounting, but it may be difficult for you to do on your own without the time or experience to properly evaluate such things. This is where a consultant or an accounting service like SAOS can help. For a small fee, consultants can leverage years of experience with other organizations to create a blueprint of the best accounting setup.
2. Clean up historical data
Once you’ve created a blueprint for improving your accounting, it’s time for you to catch up and get on the path to effectiveness. Before you can maximize your performance with new systems, you need to get your historical data cleaned up to the current day. It can be difficult to find the time to clear a large backlog; however, it’s critical to have a clean set of books as a springboard for efficiency as you move forward.
3. Implement new systems
Once you’ve cleaned up your existing data, it’s time implement your blueprint for new processes, people, and technology. This could involve growing or shrinking your accounting staff. It might also include training your current team on new software or new workflows. You will likely benefit from building new integrations, as well as creating new reports and dashboards. Of course, it takes a high level of expertise to choose the correct software, craft better workflows, and create integrations, reports, and dashboards. In order to do this correctly, you may need to have a controller or CFO-level individual complete this step for you. It’s essential you start with a strong foundation, or the next step won’t work and your accounting will fall apart again.
At this point, you’ve assessed where you are and where you’re going, cleaned up your historical information, and set up your new software, processes, and people. The last step of the journey is to properly perform every day. Your business may have tens, hundreds, or even thousands of daily transactions, and your accounting must stay on top of every last one of them. The moment you slip, errors can quickly accumulate and spiral out of control. Having the right team to execute and manage the process is crucial to your ongoing success.
Are you ready for change?
This journey isn’t always easy, and it doesn’t happen overnight. However, the most important thing is understanding where you have problems and getting started on fixing them. The good news is that there are entrepreneurs out there who’ve created companies such as SAOS to take the burden off of you so you can focus on fulfilling your mission. Contact us and let us know how we can help.