Ken Poirot, author of Mentor Me, once wrote, “Wisdom comes from life experience; life experience is the result of repeatedly taking corrective action while courageously learning from mistakes.” As a new accounting manager you need to make a positive first impression by establishing credibility and trust. And while we don’t believe in making decisions from a fear-based place, there are definitely mistakes that you want to avoid as a new accounting manager.
Mistake #1: Not Setting Boundaries
Once upon a time you were in the trenches with your coworkers. Now, you’re leading them. This can cause an uncomfortable dynamic initially as people (yourself included) adjust to the new relationship. It’s important, therefore, to establish boundaries. You do this to help people understand how to interact with you moving forward. This smooths the transition and keeps your team on track. Meet with each person individually. Consider the importance of team building and position yourself as a leader they can trust.
To learn more about how better communication can strengthen your finance team, read this blog.
Mistake #2: Not Delegating
You’ve become a manager likely because you’ve worked above and beyond the call to deliver for your organization. But here’s the thing, first-time managers often have an issue delegating. You have new responsibilities now that demand your attention. Not delegating therefore, can cause issues with time management and your team. Remember, your success no longer rests only on your shoulders. You need to help your team succeed, not just check off items on your personal to do list.
Mistake #3: Quick Wins
In this resource, designed for new finance and accounting managers, we speak about the importance of scoring quick wins in establishing your value. But let us be specific, you don’t want to secure a quick win at any cost. Don’t steamroll your team, or anybody else in an attempt to get a quick win. And if you do score a success in a constructive way, then don’t claim sole credit. You’ll alienate your team. As a new accounting manager you want to facilitate success in others – that will lead to success as a leader.
Mistake #4: Fast Changes
First-time accounting managers often want to make their mark. Their mistake, however, is to introduce bold and sweeping changes too quickly. Even if you’ve worked for the company for years, a role as a manager may mean access to information you didn’t have before. Meet with senior leadership. Take the time to understand the overarching vision of the organization. Evaluate current processes and brainstorm with your team about possible fixes. Understand the workflow of your department and its relationship to clients, vendors and other departments. Reflect on your team. Are they positioned for success? Meet with each of them and find out their pain points. What type of work feeds their career fire? You may find that members of your team could be used more effectively. Not only will you get valuable information by doing meeting with them, you’ll engage your team in the process, gaining buy-in and trust. Gather as much data and feedback as you can before you take action.
For more information on how to be a great first-time accounting manager, get this resource.
As a new finance or accounting manager it’s important to make the right initial moves. Take some time to understand your department, team and organizational goals. Score quick wins in a way that builds relationships and positions you as a business partner. Delegate effectively after meeting with your team and establishing boundaries. Do these things to establish yourself as a person who is a leader that engenders trust and encourages their people to produce their best work.
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