How to Effectively On-Board Your New Accountant

We were all the newbies in the office once. Here’s what you can do to help the latest addition to your accounting team go from a fresh-faced newcomer to an expert veteran.

Do you remember when you were the new kid on the block? It’s hard to some of us to recall our first days on the job. After all, unless you’re still in the throes of the first ninety days of a new position, chances are that most of your routines and relationships are fairly well-established by now. In all likelihood, you know the names and faces of all the people in your department; you know how to get the copy machine working again when there’s a paper jam, or where the milk and cream are kept in the lunchroom.

But even if you do remember what it was like to start a new job at a new company, that’s no guarantee that you’ll understand exactly what a new hire needs to ease into their role. Not every manager will know how to minimize the growing pains of joining a new team and/or organization.

But don’t worry: if you find yourself in charge of on-boarding a new accountant, there’s plenty of ways you can lay down the foundation-stones for their success.

The buddy system

The buddy system isn’t just for scuba diving. It’s also a valuable way for you to build your new accountant’s confidence and comfort with the rest of their team.

Have the new hire shadow someone else on your staff. Establishing an informal support system for your new accountant will ensure that they have somewhere they can direct their questions – a “go to” person with whom your new hire can feel comfortable. It may even lead to a longer-term mentoring relationship.

But even if you do remember what it was like to start a new job at a new company, that’s no guarantee that you’ll understand exactly what a new hire needs to ease into their role.

The overview

When your new accountant first steps into their new role, they will likely ask for you to provide an overview of their new job – their responsibilities and routines, their reports and supervisors, and so on.

Walk them through a day in their work life, so that they have an idea of what it should look like. Describe the steps involved in each task for which they are responsible, along with the people with whom they need to interact with on a daily basis. An organizational chart will be of immense help in this regard; it will acquaint them with the chain of command, and assist them in identifying the key decision-makers.

There’s paper, and then there’s people: introduce your new accountant to each member of the team, to increase buy-in and prepare the groundwork for constructive working relationships. By taking a bit of time at the outset to outline their role and responsibilities and connect them with their fellow employees, you can ensure that your new team member will prove a valuable addition in the long run.

Establishing an informal support system for your new accountant will ensure that they have somewhere they can direct their questions.

A summary

At the end of each day, pencil in some time to connect with your new accountant. Even if it’s for only fifteen minutes, this will give them an opportunity to ask you some questions, as well as summarize and report their experiences thus far.

You can reap a lot of dividends from these debriefing sessions. First, an effective manager builds relationships with their staff: the give-and-take of these kinds of meetings will build trust and encourage a collaborative problem-solving approach from your new hire. It will also give you a chance to shape their working style and positively reinforce decisions that advance the company’s interests. Every new accountant wants to nail those first few weeks at the job, and the fifteen minutes you spare them at the end of your day will go a long way towards their success in that regard.

On-boarding your new accountant requires a hands-on approach, but at the end of the day, their success is tied to your own. The time you invest in shaping their skillset and bringing them up to speed will reduce their learning curve and ensure that they hit the ground running, as a productive, value-adding member of your team and your company.

Let us know what you think! At Clarity Recruitment, we’re always interested in hearing from accounting and finance professionals like yourselves, who are ready for new, exciting opportunities that can take their careers to the next level. And be sure to follow us on Twitter (@clarityrecruits) and connect with us on Facebook for more great tips and advice!