Case Study on Role of an accountant

The Client and our role:

“My accountant is not performing!  Could you please help in recruiting one?”  One of our clients!! I am sure, you all must have heard this n number of times!  If you are an accountant, probably he was talking about you!!

Context

We hear this often, not only from clients but also from friends.   I also claim that it is becoming more and more difficult to find a right accountant.   Is it really true? Is it something to do with salary, qualification, job profile, culture or something else?   We see on an average 5 new CVs of accountants on daily basis. Are all of them qualified? If yes, why is it so difficult to get them a job or get right salary?   If they are all good accountants, why are not they performing? Or they are performing and someone is not able gauge their performance?

Problem

The majority of accountants in this country come from Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia.  The accounting is same all over the world but context changes, software changes and requirement changes.   Hence, is there a problem of cultural adjustments?

In today’s environment, a good accountant needs three basic skills:

The majority of accountants in this country come from Indian Subcontinent and South East Asia.  The accounting is same all over the world but context changes, software changes and requirement changes.   Hence, is there a problem of cultural adjustments?

In today’s environment, a good accountant needs three basic skills:

  • Good knowledge of accounting
  • Good knowledge of excel or similar tool
  • Good knowledge of an accounting software

Most of the new accountants are weak in basic accounting.  Whenever you ask them to write books of accounts manually, their limitations are exposed.   When I asked one of the accountants to draw a trial balance manually, he failed; but did it quickly in Tally.   Hence, I asked if he knows any other software, and the answer was negative. When a company using software other than Tally hires him, he will be non-performer on day one as he is not conceptually solid and doesn’t know the software.  Even if he is smart enough to find his way, he wouldn’t be able to gain expert knowledge of the software on his own and unfortunately no one in the organization or the organization itself is not ready to train him. Since there is no proper training on software or implementation of software, most of the accountants don’t even know what software is capable of.

The other big issue is that the accountants get stuck in the same job for a long time.   I find this in slightly bigger organizations or MNCs. For example, they start very early as a receivable accountant and continue there for long time- mainly two reason, better pay and relatively comfortable in the job.   Then suddenly a realization comes, that they should look for a change. It’s too late at that time, as his salary is too high and he doesn’t know anything outside receivables.

Another big issue with all accountants is not knowing what is their market value and how to increase their market value.   The basic thinking is that if I want to change the job, I should get more salary than what I am getting now, but in-reality they are unaware of the market value of that position.   The bigger question is – are you overpaid or underpaid? Most of the accountants don’t know!!

Solution

There are a lot of actions needed from the both sides.

For Accountants

  • Update your knowledge by taking short courses in technology or core subject matter.
  • Spend your time in gaining more knowledge in software you work on.
  • Learn all aspects of accounting
  • If you are new to UAE, please read commercial law as well as VAT laws.   The companies are obsessed with local experience.
  • Don’t ever say, I will learn after joining the company.  Nobody is going to pay to you to learn.

Please note that I am not including personal traits like honesty, integrity, etc. as they are basic essentials in professional life.

For employers

  • Please keep in mind, the accountants are not machines that they will start performing on day one.
  • Ensure that the accountants know what you are looking for including formats, time lines, etc.  In other words, give them job description.
  • The accountant possibly cannot be expert in all software.  If you are using a particular software suited to your business, please train your accountant.
  • Accounting and administration are two different things.  Don’t burden accountants with mundane administrative jobs as those will always be a priority over accounting.

Call to action

We at 24A Plus have prepared a detail program to train accountants.   We have about 16 modules to refresh their knowledge from employment contracts to purchase sales analysis to cash flow and budgeting.  We also give lessons on excel as well as few accounting software.