Management Skills for Accountants

As you get promoted from being a technically excellent accountant, you then need to start managing a team of technically excellent professionals. The skills that were so valuable for your career up ’til now start to become less important. Instead of doing the technical accounting work you are managing others who do it – and they may do it better than you ever could!

Developing the soft skills of management are essential for accountants who step up from their accounting role into a management role.

What is management?

One of the simplest definitions of management is “getting things done through people”. Instead of getting on with the job, you now need to achieve the same tasks but by managing others who do it.

Management includes planning, setting objectives and controlling what others do. However it also involves working with people, understanding them, motivating them, assessing their performance, hearing their grievances and dealing with the myriad of issues that people bring to work both individually and as a group.

The clue to management is in the title – actively managing things. What is it that you have to do to ensure that the work gets done on time and to the required standard? Who needs to do what and when? Who is responsible for different tasks and how do you go about getting things done to the right standard? How do you give feedback when things are going well and not so well? What do you do when things go wrong?

Delegate effectively

One of the most important skills to learn is how to delegate effectively.  To give someone else the responsibility for doing a task, whilst recognising that you retain the accountability for it to be performed to the right standard.

How do you deal with that tension effectively?

How do you ensure that things get done without micro-managing?

Learning the art of effective delegation is key for any management role – and finance is a special situation as things can be monitored and quantified much more easily than in many other disciplines.

However the consequences of poor delegation and insufficient oversight can also be more damaging than in other disciplines – and even catastrophic for the whole organisation.

Motivating people

Getting things done is one thing, but it has to be done through others and understanding what motivates your team is critical.

Motivating people really is a soft skill! It involves picking up on what motivates the team as a whole – and each individual within it – and then building up a relationship to tap into that motivation.

Develop your own management style

Whilst there are some core management skills and some tried and tested approaches, your training and background give you a particular set of skills, strengths and values.

From this you can develop your own authentic management style, one that feels right to you and is seen as genuine by others.