Motivating accountants and other finance professionals has never been as important as it is now as the whole world needs more motivated accountants and financial management experts to tackle the fierce financial challenge that is looming in the business world. Professional bodies are busy asking serious questions regarding accounting ethics, governance and business ethics. The chairman of a notable finance professional body was recently quoted as asking in frustration “where have we gone wrong in motivating players in the finance industry to do what is ethical?” this kind of question coming from an authority is an indication that there is problem somewhere.
It is clear that the importance of accounting in a society cannot be neglected, the issue however is that the custodians of the noble profession are no longer motivated to uphold the high standard required as a foundation upon which all other qualities of accountants are built on. It is even more difficult to motivate accounting professionals nowadays as corruption (both in government and corporate world) has become the mantra of most successful business sectors of our fragile world economy.
Another reason for the difficulty faced by managers in motivating accountants is the fact that accountants spend more time these days studying motivation in management accounting controls at various levels before qualifying as certified accountants. As true as this may be, there are still ways that we can motivate the accountants in our organization and make them give us their best.
8 WAYS TO SPARK AND MOTIVATE YOUR ACCOUNTANT INTO DOING THE RIGHT THING
SETTING UP AND RUNNING GOOD INTERNAL CONTROLS
Accountants being conversant with internal controls and how it works will tend to be motivated into doing the right thing if they are sure of the robustness of the system of controls on ground. An accountant who knows that there is a system that will trigger alarm when access to an unauthorised file is gained will endeavour not to access that file for instance. Also an accountant will not want to be involved in a shady insider deal if he or she knows that the system cannot be beaten. Some people actually argue that this is not a form of motivation but think of it, if you know that you are being watched, wouldn’t you put in your best?
INVESTING IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES
This is closely related to having good internal control in place. By investing in quality information technologies, activities will be monitored in real-time. This way, procrastination that eventually becomes a habit will be avoided. I once helped one of my client increase sales substantially using what we called TV approach to motivation. Customer care will be taken to the next level if the members of staff know that they are being watched while they perform their duties.
TRAINING YOUR ACCOUNTANTS
Training makes us become more efficient in whatever we do. When you are for instance properly trained on how to use the latest gadget in doing your job and understanding of new development in accounting like XBRL, you will be eager and motivated to do your work with all seriousness. The importance of training in motivating accountants cannot be overemphasised; it creates a sense of belonging within the organization. People feel appreciated when the company they work for invest in them. Organizing a seminar on marketing accounting services for example will make the accountant feel as though the company really care about their personal life beyond work and office hours.
ADOPTING ACCOUNTANTS INTO FULLY INTO THE MANAGEMENT CADRE
Allowing accountants to participate in the strategic management process of an organization is a key factor that motivates them into putting in their best. They will know that they can no longer be excused if the company should fail as part of the strategic decision making now falls on their shoulders. An accountant whose role in investment appraisal process does not stop at putting figures together for top managers to figure out what they actually imply will go the extra mile in making sure that the figures that are actually generated makes economic sense in all ramifications. By making the advisory role of the accountants part of the due processes of decision making, their motivation level will be high enough to manage any kind of investment and also to actively seek good investment opportunities.
JUDICIOUS USE OF REWARDS SYSTEM
Rewards system is an old motivation technique that has been dismissed by many. But, it still works wonders when rightly applied. Expectancy valence acts as a catalyst that motivates employees including accountants into working hard knowing that there is a reward waiting for them. The major problem associated with using reward system to motivate employees is that it might lead to what managerial accounting experts call sub optimal decision making situation. Optimal decision in the context of management accounting function is a situation where all players in an organization work towards achieving a common goal in an organization.
If the above steps stated in this article are implemented even at the barest minimum, I can almost assure you that accountants will not only be motivated into doing the right things but will radiate their motivation into other facets of business. The fear and tension of the entire global financial system collapsing will be greatly reduced if the motivation of professional accountants and other finance professionals are seriously looked into.