Accounting is More Than Numbers

Posted: Updated:

The Indiana University Kelley School of Business is one of the best business schools in the world.  As an undergraduate, I did not appreciate the I-Core (Integrated Core) that provided knowledge in each division of business.  I now know why I-Core is essential.   Each division is like a body part, one cannot function without the other.  Many accountants see the accounting function as its own entity.  Accounting is more than debits and credits or hitting a button to run the Profit and Loss Statement.  To truly bring value, accountants should have an overview of how each division is operated.  Why? All roads lead to the financial statements. 

During my first couple of years out of college, my coworkers and I would swap stories about why different people couldn't provide timely reports and why it takes three to four hours to put a report together.  We would not go to operations to ask these questions.  Then I met Brian Mosher, a former manager who insisted that new staff members should shadow production staff members. It was eye-opening to learn how they track inventory, perform cycle counts, and how the production stages intertwine.

Here are a few tips for accountants to build a relationship with other divisions:

  • Just Ask: If an accounting task is a struggle or the same issues arise each month, just ask.  It sounds simple but many accountants do not.  Learning how the business provides a product or service is essential for analyzing the financial statements.  This deals with questions like; how does the business create the product or service? What the key steps? Who are the key players in the operations process?   You don’t have to know every detail.  Having the knowledge will allow accountants to understand the drivers and various factors that affect the financial statements.
  • Huddle: We accountants are usually labeled as introverts or dull people.  Many times, accountants are left out of the operations or marketing meetings because of this reason.  However, all business tasks have some form of financial impact. As an accountant, it's wise to request an invite to non-accounting meetings in order to hear what’s going on.  For instance, if production is ramping up or a machine is down, accountants can assist to mitigate the financial risk. 
  • More Fun Times: Accounting can be fun.  It's even a lot more fun when the month end closing goes smoothly.  If accountants are asking questions and participating in meetings relating to operations, a better understanding occurs which leads to more efficiency for both sides.  Operations will have an appreciation of their workflow and how it translates to the financials.   Accountants can spend more time analyzing and strategizing for the future. 
  • Show a little love: Accounting work heavily relies on others doing their part.  So accountants ask for lots of data or documents.  Go out to lunch with non-accounting folks, make your desk inviting by having candy to offer. This would help to build a healthy relationship with coworkers.  At a former job, I would occasionally email the operations manager on their birthdays; I would jokingly say, "for once I’m not asking for a report, but wishing you a happy birthday."

Building a relationship sounds cliché, but it works.  When people know you and feel you care, and that you won’t talk down at them, they would be more inclined to help you.  When the different body parts are communicating and working in perfect harmony, the bottom line becomes much stronger and achievable.  One team, one goal. 

  • Perspectives

    • Take Time to Face Reality

      When is the last time that you as a business owner truly stopped for 30 minutes or an hour and truly took some quiet time to reflect on your business? Like most owners, it’s probably been quite some time. We all get busy doing things, working hard, taking care of customers, running the business. But if we don’t take some time each day, week, month or quarter to slow down, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Business leaders and owners need the time to slow down to...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (Image provided by the Capital Improvement Board.)

      Indy Alters Plans for Downtown Hotels

      The city of Indianapolis has announced plans to change the framework for a major project in downtown Indy that has sparked controversy. The $120 million project, announced in October 2018, calls for an expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and two new hotels at Pan Am Plaza, which would add about 1,400 rooms. The project has drawn criticism from a group of hoteliers, who have expressed concern of a potential oversaturation in downtown Indy. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett issued...

    • (photo courtesy Butler University)

      'Banner Year' for Butler Fundraising

      Butler University is celebrating what it calls a ‘banner year’ for its fundraising efforts. As Fiscal Year 2019 ended, the university had received $41.4 million from 15,823 donors. Butler says it was the second-highest fundraising total over the past decade. “This level of generosity demonstrates the incredible loyalty of our alumni, faculty, staff, and community, and the commitment we share to advancing Butler’s mission of providing the highest quality liberal...

    • Shelly Timmons

      IU Health Names New Leader of Neurosurgery

      The Indiana University School of Medicine and IU Health Physicians have named Shelly Timmons to lead the department of neurosurgery. She previously served at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center as vice chair for administration in the department of neurosurgery and director of neurotrauma.  

    • (Photo Courtesy: Roche Diagnostics)

      Roche VP on List of Influential Women Executives

      An executive with Roche Diagnostics has joined an exclusive list of prominent and influential women, including Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams.  Cindy Carlisle, Vice President of Human Resources at Roche Indy, was named to Savoy Magazine’s 2019 Most Influential Women in Corporate America. 

    • Bank of America Merrill Lynch Adds Mar

      Bank of America Merrill Lynch has named Lucia Mar as senior vice president and the newly created position of Indiana market executive for Global Commercial Banking. She most recently served as market manager for the Greater Tennessee market in business banking. Prior to becoming a market manager, Mar was a senior relationship manager with the healthcare and institutions team.