The importance of an agile accounting team

By: Steven A. Jordan, CPA, Senior Manager, Wipfli LLP

Agility isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a necessary trait for survival and success.

An agile accounting team is critical in steering a company through economic change and uncertainty. Agile accounting teams can quickly adapt to market changes. They’re well-equipped to analyze financial data in real time and pivot strategies as needed.

And that nimbleness allows businesses to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate risks promptly.

An agile accounting team is a cornerstone of a resilient and forward-thinking company. By being adaptable, collaborative, technologically savvy, data-driven and committed to continuous improvement, your accounting team can provide the strategic insight and guidance necessary to navigate the complexities of the modern business landscape.

The benefits of an agile accounting team

Agile accounting teams can enhance your organization with the following:

  • Improved collaboration: Agility fosters a culture of collaboration and communication within the accounting team and across departments. And better communication leads to more cohesive decision-making and a unified approach to achieving the company’s financial goals.
  • Increased innovation: An agile accounting team is always looking for technological advancements that can streamline operations and improve efficiency. By embracing innovation, the accounting team can automate routine tasks, freeing time to focus on strategic initiatives.
  • Data-driven decisions: Agility in accounting means leveraging data and analytics to make informed decisions. An agile accounting team uses data to drive strategy, ensuring that decisions are based on solid evidence rather than intuition.
  • Continuous improvement: Agile accounting teams are committed to continuous improvement. They regularly review processes and systems to identify areas for enhancement, ensuring that the accounting function always operates at its peak.

Building an agile accounting team

How can you foster an accounting team that checks all of these boxes? Here are five tips:

1. Recognize when a problem is actually an opportunity

Look for the roadblocks and challenges to achieving success in your company. Instead of managing around them, identify them with your team and ask them to take ownership of at least one of them. Pick it apart. Tear it down and find a way to rebuild it as an opportunity.

Your team will start to develop a natural mindset for reframing problems as they constantly identify these situations. Eventually, you can even challenge them to identify opportunities and find ways to gamify them.

2. Encourage failure

By empowering people to try ideas that might not work, you may be surprised by other ideas created in the process. Be sure to fail forward, and you will be quick to learn who on your team is most willing to take that leap of faith. And when you reward people for their actions rather than results, others will want to keep up.

3. Keep your goals in plain sight

A process is much easier to work through when you keep the end in mind.

Sometimes it helps to have a sign or note posted where everyone can see it. If you clearly identify the goal and everyone believes in it and can see what’s in it for them, people are more likely to engage positively and work together to achieve that goal. By synergizing, the efforts of two individuals may be greater than the sum of their individual efforts.

4. Communication, communication, communication

Communicate with your team actively and often and make sure they have the support of leadership. Leaders need to be active supporters of the change so people can see buy-in at all levels of the company.

Any change should involve a good communication plan. For larger changes, consider bringing in some help from the outside in the form of a change management expert.

5. Keep pushing

We all get busy. Sometimes, the day-to-day tasks of our job take over, and we don’t schedule time for change or process improvement. But scheduling time monthly, or even weekly, either individually or as a group, will help you provide dedicated time for this valuable skill.

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli’s accounting team is ready to give you the financial insights you need to take action. We go beyond numbers to deliver value with services from technical accounting and financial analysis to audit readiness. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help meet your accounting needs. 

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