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Setting Goals for Accounting Teams

Many accounting managers struggle with the annual goal setting process; it can be hard to quantify the work of the folks who do the counting!  It’s ironic, but pretty common outside of sales teams.  It’s not easy to come up with S-M-A-R-T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound) goals for employees who work in these roles. Their routines can vary significantly and tend to be driven by outside factors.  Here are some ideas to consider when setting goals:

Give employees a project to work on

Most of us have down time here and there that we could utilize to work on a project. Create a project for each team member that contributes to their own development, helps them connect with others and/or causes them to look at their job in a new way.  Cost Accountants, for example, could create a presentation to share with the broader accounting team members describing what they do.  A Senior Staff Accountant could conduct a skills training. Maybe you believe that your AR team could be more efficient but you are not sure.  Why not give them a goal to identify areas they can improve? You may be surprised at how many have good ideas that could save the team some time.

Give employees a skill to develop

Everyone needs new skills, and not just accounting skills!  The obvious skills to assign are advanced Excel functions, learning a new application or cross training roles.  But how about skills like professional communication? Maybe public speaking? Leadership?  These can easily be measurable. You can also have team members create a presentation for the group, give a skills training class or run meetings and have the rest of the team give feedback.

Set a goal to generate teamwork ideas

Management gurus consistently speak of team building, but how do you actually create it?  Why not have a team brainstorming session to create their own initiatives?  Give your leaders the responsibility of putting on regular team building events. Team building does not have to be athletic courses or expensive seminars.  You can do simple things like have team members give a presentation on the challenges they face in their roles and then provide constructive feedback. You could also organize a fun event designed to bring the team closer.  This will help them maintain better relationships, understanding and general respect for each other.