In businesses of a certain size, it’s crucial to have someone to act as a buffer between the Chief Financial Officer or Controller and staff accountants. That someone is typically an Accounting Manager, and the position requires a unique mix of qualifications. Accounting Managers need to have in-depth knowledge of everything having to do with financial reporting, managing the work of other accountants and communicating with financial executives. Here’s an idea of what to look for when hiring an Accounting Manager.
Education and experience
Most Accounting Managers have at least an undergraduate degree in Accounting or Business Administration. Some might even possess a graduate degree.
But academic experience isn’t enough for this role. A successful Accounting Manager also needs two to five years of real-world experience. That experience gives them a thorough understanding of financial reporting and general ledger structure. If you are in a very technical field like construction, you might also want someone with knowledge and experience in this field.
The Accounting Manager will not just be performing accounting work. He or she will also hire and help train replacement staff accountants. Therefore, they need to have a good understanding of what they are doing to take the lead.
Specialized certifications such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), or Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) are also good indications that your potential Accounting Manager has gone the extra mile to develop expertise in their area.
Attention to detail
An Accounting Manager must be highly detail-oriented. Each and every day, an Accounting Manager must make sure the company has enough cash flow to stay in business. This includes ensuring that money due is collected and vendors are paid, tracking all income and expenses and making sure checks are deposited. All of these daily transactions lead up to overseeing an accurate and timely monthly, quarterly and year-end close and financial reports.
Also, an Accounting Manager must always consider how accounting policies and procedures can be approved. Many businesses implement accounting policies and then forget about them, but accounting technology and best practices are always evolving. It takes someone with attention to detail, both on the day-to-day and with an eye to the future, to fulfill the requirements of the role.
An excellent communicator
Accounting managers must interact with people in all different levels and departments, so excellent communication skills are a must.
An Accounting Manager:
- Collaborates with other department managers to support overall organizational goals and objectives
- Advises staff on the handling of non-routine transactions
- Responds to inquiries from financial executives and other firm-wide leaders regarding financial results and special requests
- Handles personnel conflicts and performance issues among accounting staff
- Discusses budget issues with managers in other departments
- Works with other departments to communicate accounting policies and procedures and enforce them
- Presents financial results to upper management
As such, the Accounting Manager is continually writing emails, drafting reports, giving presentations and having conversations with employees at all levels of the company. The right candidate will be able to speak effectively and easily with a diverse set of people.
The above skill set is not always easy to find in a single person, but it’s not impossible to find, either. For help in finding an exceptional Accounting Manager, contact an Accounting Principals office near you.