Employee Engagement and Training of Accounting Teams during COVID-19

Insights from Leah Gray, CFO & Steering Committee Member, CFOLC Seattle Chapter

Leah Gray, CPA, CFO & Action Oriented Leader

“Fortunately, many Accounting Professionals have enjoyed working and accessing their systems remotely for over fifteen years. Almost all accounting systems can be accessed remotely. Recently many of the desktop versions have moved to the Cloud.”   
~ Leah Gray, CPA, CFO & Action Oriented Leader

With the COVID-19 virus, every company has been impacted. For Accounting and Finance teams, the workload will increase as the short-term and long-term impact is assessed. For CFOs, Finance Directors and Controllers during this crisis, the monthly close and financial reporting needs will continue.

Fortunately, many Accounting Professionals have enjoyed working and accessing their systems remotely for over fifteen years. Almost all accounting systems can be accessed remotely. Recently many of the desktop versions have moved to the Cloud.

As a Finance Executive, I have had the privilege of working with amazing leadership and accounting teams for the last fifteen years. Here are my top five recommendations for the next six months.

Meet with each of your team members and listen. Every person is processing the events of today and the COVID-19 pandemic in a different manner. Each person has a different personal and professional situation. Being sensitive and assisting each team member to set out their personal and professional goals for the next six months is a very positive step. Also, ask if there are different expectations that are expected of you as their leader. China has shown that there is an end to quarantine so being able to be focused and productive together during this time is very important. Setting realistic expectations and soliciting feedback is important for the leader, employee, the team and the company.

Provide each team member with resources that are needed from a health and mental health perspectiveMany health benefit packages come with a mental health confidential service. Employees who have never needed this benefit may need this now. Finding the information and allowing this to be readily available is a good step.

Put together short term and long term plans for your employee. Include personal and professional goals. Regardless of where the employee is in their career journey whether they have ten years or thirty years left of their career. Setting clear goals with a timeline will focus energy in the best and most important areas. It is an excellent time to reset and create a clear professional path with personal objectives in mind. In addition, set out goals for yourself as a leader on how you will empower the employee to achieve their personal objectives. This process can be fun and engaging.

Do more in person and online training programs collaboratively. There are great online training programs like Illumeo, Western CPE, and many other interactive and video programs that are not too expensive and provide excellent training opportunities for staff. In addition, creating an internal training course on how the department will improve and the workflow changes needed, is an excellent communication tool. Now is the time to incorporate an outside training regime even if it is only one hour per week. Many training courses set out a framework for improvement. These courses can help team members think ahead and into the future and focus on the next steps.

Reset expectations and review the job descriptions.  With the recent changes or impact to the business, there may be some adjustments needed. Connect the professional goals to the job description and set the employee on a spectrum of improvement.

For Finance Executives, the CFO Leadership council has been a great online resource during this time. The confidential discussions and ability to collaborate around the world with CFOs and Finance Executives at public and private companies is invaluable.

If you have any questions about the training programs or CFO Leadership Council, Leah welcomes the opportunity to connect via LinkedIn. Together we are stronger. Stay safe and healthy.

About  Leah Gray, CPA
Action Oriented Financial Team Member and Leader. As a CFO, my strengths are closing financing and accessing capital, financial planning and analysis, and evaluating operational performance with KPI and SAAS metrics. My objective is to increase enterprise value through motivating the team to increase revenue and profitability. My role as the CFO is to lead the organization with my peers to provide high quality, timely financial information to support organizational decisions.

“For Finance Executives, the CFO Leadership council has been a great online resource during this time. The confidential discussions and ability to collaborate around the world with CFOs and Finance Executives at public and private companies is invaluable.”

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About The CFO Leadership Council
The CFO Leadership Council offers both live & online programs that feature expert panels and interactive sessions that drive meaningful conversation and leadership development among our membership. Our collection of leadership development resources similar to this article contain pragmatic insights and advice sourced directly from our members and industry experts.  Recordings of CFOLC webcasts are made available to our current CFOLC Premium & Virtual members. CPEs are now offered for our webcasts to current CFOLC members only.  To learn about our membership and connecting with our growing CFOLC community, visit www.cfolc.com.

Want to Continue the Conversation?
We’d love to hear from you. Post a comment about your experiences or provide feedback below to continue the discussion about how creative leadership in the current climate.  Or contact Kristin Todd, Vice President of Marketing, kristin@cfolc.com.

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