Accounting Operational Excellence: Weathering the Storm to Establish a New Standard for Leaders (and Their Teams)
Oct 14, 2021 | By John Siegel
Consider, for a second, the term “beancounter.”
Even if it’s not being used as a blatant insult of the accounting profession, it’s certainly not meant to be flattering. But if you really think about it, it’s representative of what the uninformed typically think of accountants as: Back office support folks who make sure the company closes the books on time and makes payroll.
But for those who really get it, the last 18 months changed that perception in a big way. Even if – out of a fear of the unknown (it’s been a crazy year-and-a-half, haven’t you heard?) – they came to the realization that controllers and their teams are vital cogs in the business engine, the understanding of how important accounting organizations are coming with a level of respect that, let’s face it, accountants haven’t really gotten before.
The Lighthouse in the Storm
Given the economic uncertainty of the last two years, controllers, their teams, and the insights only they were capable of offering, served as beacons for businesses navigating the rough waters caused by a global pandemic and the subsequent economic downturn.
(I have got to stop making these nautical references)
In doing so, however, controllers were faced with a greater balancing act than ever before. Do we sacrifice accuracy for speed, given limited resources? How do we ensure control when we need to offer greater levels of flexibility for the staff? How do we provide effective visibility without micromanaging?
All these questions, of course, come with the added pressure of delivering timely and accurate numbers to leadership to help them stay ahead of any
phantom waves turns in the marketplace that could negatively impact business.
Over this incredible period of time, controllers rose to the challenge. In spades. Overseeing massive shifts in the workplace, expediting vital financial reporting, and revamping existing processes to offer flexibility without sacrificing transparency, these beancounters played huge roles in steadying a volatile situation. They set a new standard for accounting leadership moving forward.
By evolving into strategic leaders while still ensuring tactical efficiency, controllers achieved accounting operational excellence. And there’s no going back to the old days.