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

    • Richardson is a practice lead with Centric Consulting.

      How to Create Consistent and Positive Customer Experiences with Your Brand

      Everyone knows that keeping the consumer happy is the first priority. The importance of considering the customer’s experience in all areas of engaging with your business, not just customer service is becoming even more clear. I’m seeing an increasing number of my peers in the marketing world take ownership of the customer experience with their brands. As a result, we’re all learning how to borrow and...

    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 courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      U.S. Steel Updates Layoff Notice to State

      Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) has updated the State of Indiana regarding its previously announced layoffs at the East Chicago Tin Mill. The company says 314, rather than 307, workers will be displaced when the mill is idled this fall. 

    • Red Star announced plans to expand and add 18 jobs.

      Larwill Medical Device Maker to Expand, Add Jobs

      A Whitley County-based medical device maker has announced plans to expand its facility in Larwill which should mean new jobs. Red Star Contract Manufacturing Inc. says it will invest $1.6 million in real estate improvements and additional equipment and will create 18 new jobs by 2022. 

    • Regal Beloit is closing in Valparaiso. (photo courtesy; The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Valpo Bearings Plant to Close, Eliminating 160+ Jobs

      Wisconsin-based Regal Beloit Corp. and the union representing workers have reached an agreement about the closing of a helicopter bearing factory in Valparaiso. According to our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana, the decision will cost between 160 to 170 workers their jobs. 

    • (WISH-TV Photo)

      Clif Bar Expands Indy Bakery

      California-based Clif Bar & Co. has completed a $10 million expansion of its commercial bakery in Indianapolis. The company says the project involved a more sustainable redesign of the facility for its employee-owners with a greater focus on energy efficiency.

    • AM General & Fiat Chrysler announce plans to build military grade Jeep Gladiator pickup trucks.

      AM General, FCA Collaborate on New Military Grade Jeep

      Nearly 80 years since the first jeep rolled off the assembly line, and helped support American soldiers throughout World War II, it appears the trusted four-wheel-drive machine may be making a comeback in the U.S. military. South Bend-based AM General LLC has teamed up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to build military-grade versions of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup truck.