Do you find sometimes that the productivity of your accounting department does not meet your expectations? Do you find that your accounting software doesn’t do what you need it to do, or it doesn’t mirror your operational processes the way one might expect? Do you find that new employees in your department take a long time to get up-to-speed and productive? Quite often, the problem is not your people or your software, but rather an insufficient program for training. I use the word “program” very deliberately. Employees need a series of training sessions, conducted over a protracted period of time, in order to improve proficiency and productivity. People might retain 10% of what they learn in a single training session. They need a training program in order to become proficient.
In a recent survey of accounting firms (2018 K2E Canada Accounting & Bookkeeping Operations and Technology Survey), 69.7% of respondents indicated that they did not have a training budget established. In fact, less than 24% of the respondents were provided an annual training budget. This is not to say that training and professional development does not take place. It does, although for most it is unbudgeted, and the annual spend on professional development and education is less that optimal.
Why is training so overlooked? Some speculate that management views training purely as an expense, rather than as an investment in employees’ career development. If you viewed vehicle maintenance such as an oil change as an unnecessary expense, you would learn pretty quickly that your car’s performance will degrade and the engine will cease up. People understand that they need to spend money to maintain their vehicles in order for it to run reliably.
Softrak is only a couple of weeks away from holding its annual Adagio Opportunity Conference. This conference provides product education and operational best practices for people working in finance & accounting offices that have Adagio. In our experience, we occasionally have users of Adagio Accounting ask us why Adagio doesn’t provide a specific function or capability. Nine times out of ten, Adagio does in fact provide that capability. The user is just unaware of how to enable the function, or how the capability is managed in the software. It is a lack of training that limits how the software is used, and how the operational processes are automated. You drive a Cadillac, but you can’t get it out of first gear.
If you are a manager, I hope you will give some thought to how training is provided for your staff. We all want to do our best and have a healthy level of job satisfaction. Having the right tools and training are important to the development of great employees.