Breaking the Cycle

Have you ever come across an organization that simply cannot retain accountants? Some companies struggle with retention. They hire and then 6 months later they rehire, then 4 months later they rehire again. On and on it goes. Once the cycle completes a few times, the organization gets a reputation which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: good people steer clear from working there, compounding the pain and driving up the cost to find folks to work there.  But why is this the case, and what can you do to change it if this is your organization?

One potential cause of this condition can be that employees are underpaid, causing them to leave as soon as something more fiscally rewarding comes along. It can also be because of a bad manager in a department, which is causing an otherwise great organization to become a hard place to work. It can be because of structural issues- perhaps the organization is understaffed or under-qualified at different levels.

All of these issues can be addressed if an organization has the will to do it. Sometimes management may believe that the economics of fixing these problems don’t make sense. One might think hiring more expensive people or more people or replacing bad managers is not economic. However, this assertion doesn’t factor in opportunity costs regarding production for internal and external stakeholders, along with the actual costs of termination/rehiring/retraining which are significant. Concerns over the economics of investing in accounting as merely a “cost center” to be minimized robs an organization of the value that great practitioners in the field create.

Strong teams install efficient systems, instill organization values, have great retention, cut down on errors, and provide more accurate information faster to stakeholders, which informs decision makers. Sometimes these benefits aren’t quantifiable in the same way that having car insurance benefits isn’t easily quantifiable. If your coverage protects you from a giant claim, you may not see the benefits in increased profitability, but it did protect you from otherwise big losses. In the same way, building out a strong accounting team will payoff in ways you might not see obviously but that are very significant.

If your organization sounds like it is running into these pitfalls, make the decision and commit to fix it. I am happy to discuss ways to turn the ship around and work with you to build out a top notch team that will partner with your organization as it moves forward. It starts by taking that first step and investing in your accounting department. Making this change will require a time and capital investment but is worth it. It’s important to bring in a team at the level needed for success, make some changes, and get a positive cycle in motion.

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