Earning a degree and then getting in with a firm is just the beginning of your journey as an accountant. When you move up the ladder to owning a firm, things get a bit more complicated. Now you face one business challenge after another, much the same as any other owner. Instead of just providing a service, you earn a profit to run an entire company, and you have to overcome these obstacles.
1. Balancing Costs Versus Client Needs
Clients always want to save on their own expenses, but you have costs as well. You want your clients to deliver the correct data so your staff can do their jobs, but sometimes you need extra time to complete a small project. A comprehensive contract spells out the billing process. A member of your team should consult with the client from the beginning as to what to expect if things change once a project starts.
2. Optimizing the Team
Another business challenge has nothing to do with the client, and instead requires you to optimize a team to complete a project. The team leader should treat everyone as equals, communicate as openly as possible and prepare for what to expect on a project. Accounting technology can help with all of these aspects.
3. Managing Projects
Computerized spreadsheets were once the workhorses of accounting firms. Thanks to advances in cloud computing and mobile devices, accounting technology helps keep teams on task. Leaders can track the progress of a project, and even anticipate problems, thanks to real-time data that flows through top accounting software. Clients should be able to send information to your accounting software when needed.
4. Competing for Business
As a company leader, one business challenge you face includes adding value for your clients without lowering your profit margin too much. Can adding a team member to a project speed up the work the client needs, or would technology be better in this instance? Extra touches can earn repeat business.
5. Distributing Resources
You should understand how to distribute your resources wisely. Don't be afraid to hire temporary help in case your teams get too much work. You can always bill the client for extra costs later. Just remember to deliver top-rate results so clients seek out your services at a later date. Loyal, returning customers form the basis of your profits.
6. Motivating Employees
Managers within the firm have a business challenge that involves keeping team members motivated, even when things get tough. Supervisors must recognize that different team members have different motivations. One person might work more efficiently to try to earn a promotion, while another wants to see his family by 6 p.m. every night. Managers must try to cater to everyone's needs, so long as individuals deliver with hard work.
7. Receiving Payments
Perhaps the biggest business challenge lies in receiving payment. Balance your need to get a payment in advance versus receiving compensation when the contract completes by making a payment plan. Plans can trigger a payment after certain dates or when certain phases of the project meet set goals or deadlines.
The key to solving all of these accounting issues lies in preparation. When you understand the real-world dilemmas that firms face on a daily basis, a business challenge becomes less of a problem.
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