Quality management isn’t the responsibility of managers
Quality management isn’t the responsibility of managers; it’s the responsibility of the bookkeepers who do the work!
Here’s what normally happens:
Bookkeepers do the work. Accounting managers review. Managers catch mistakes and push the file back to bookkeepers. Bookkeepers fix it, and then submit it back to managers. Do that two to three more times, and then it’s finally ready to be presented to the client.
After interviewing several accounting managers, they all say that this is their least favorite part of their job. In fact, their common question is: “Why can’t the bookkeepers do it right the first time around?”
Some firms attempt to address this problem by instituting checklists with lukewarm enthusiasm and minimal effectiveness. Others introduce more training, again, to no avail. As a result, we continue to rely on managers to be the quality assurance before accounting files are complete.
Reliance on managers is neither cost effective nor scalable. If we don’t change anything, we would have to hire a manager for every seven to 10 staff. Of course, this is the status quo. Everyone is scaling in this manner, but what if there’s a better way?
Imagine a new world, where the bookkeeper actually DOES IT RIGHT the first time around? What would that world look like? The accounting file is submitted to accounting managers with near-perfect precision. There would be little, if any, back and forth. The accounting managers now have time to do much more value-added work, such as:
- Providing advisory services to their customers, or training their bookkeepers to look for advisory opportunities.
- Mentoring their teams – one of the favorite activities of accounting managers.
- Meeting with their clients to build relationships, and looking for more ways to help.
Don’t those activities sound way more fun than reviewing files for simple errors?
Not only do the accounting managers’ jobs become more fulfilling, but they can also manage more bookkeepers and more clients at the same time! Why? Because they don’t waste their time doing unnecessary review.
The accounting managers are more effective AND more efficient.
In order for this happen, there needs to be a shift in philosophy. Accounting file quality isn’t solely the responsibility of managers. It needs to start with the bookkeepers. Bookkeepers must leverage Accounting Quality Automation (AQuA) tools to check their own work, prior to submitting their files to the managers. This way, the bookkeepers are using software to catch their own mistakes and fix them, so the accounting managers don’t have to.