Right People, Right Positions

Let’s start with a chart:


Right about now, you’re thinking about the size of your team and feeling really good, really meh, or really, really bad.

Nobody wants to be in the “bottom performers” bucket, but perhaps even more striking is that a $1 billion company only needs 5 people to perform its general accounting function. There’s two no ways about it; that is impressive.

The chart above came from a CFO article from last fall that discusses the trend of mergers and acquisitions and what that means for building a lean, mean accounting team machine.

Along with any new acquisition comes the challenge of how to integrate two distinct corporate cultures, processes, technologies, and groups of people. And that includes the question of what to do with the acquired company’s finance team, who come with their own quirky ways of doing things. The simple solution might be to tack the new people onto the existing department to handle the suddenly expanded workload. But that’s a good way to end up with a lot of bodies in chairs doing work but probably not as efficiently as they could be.

The workload will vary from business to business, of course, but essentially, the top performers are four times as productive as the bottom performers. As the article states, “Staff size often shines a spotlight on hidden process weakness.”

Every team has pain points in their close that cause the process to be inefficient. Here at FloQast, we’re intimately familiar with two of the keys to getting more production out of your people: Technology and Collaboration. We built our entire platform as centralized, cloud-based service that your team can access from anywhere that encourages them to work better together and tracks their progress.

But having the right tools is only piece of the puzzle. Back to the CFO article:

[A]nother important consideration comes down to this age-old question: Do you have the right people in the right jobs?

Just think about it (WARNING: SPORTS METAPHOR AHEAD) you would have your Quarterback play offensive line or vice versa, right? Neither person is suited to the job that the position requires.

It’s no different for accountants. People have different skills and some complement and some repel the unique skills of other team members. If you’re a leader on this team responsible for putting the right people in the right places, you need to be aware of where each person fits best, where their talents and skills will be best utilized.

This is hard! It requires good communication and knowing and respecting people’s preferences about what they work on and not just sticking people in jobs where you need a warm body:

It’s tempting to simply fill your empty seats with people who already know how to push buttons and run reports. But a deeper look into skills and capabilities may uncover valuable hidden talents or training that you can put to work. You may learn that your company has acquired star team members with specialized expertise who can help you analyze the drivers of cash-flow performance, segment customers effectively, understand the impact of global economic trends, or determine how collectable your outstanding balances really are.

Make some time to look at your lineup (ANOTHER SPORTS METAPHOR, SORRY) and assess if you have the right people in the right positions. You might just surprise yourself what hidden talents you find on your team and the efficiencies they create.