International Accounting Day is observed on November 10 each year, in honor of Italian mathematician Luca Bartolomeo de Pacioli who is widely considered the father of modern accounting and who published a bookkeeping manual this month in 1494.
Centuries later, accounting can tend to be one of those set-it-and-forget-it parts of a business. So this and every International Accounting Day is a great reminder to spruce up your accounting practices and look for opportunities to improve efficiency, streamline processes, and control costs.
Here are four practical tips to help you celebrate International Accounting Day and improve your organization’s financial wellness. When an organization is financially sound, they are more likely and able to invest in their employees -- career development, benefits, etc. -- which improves the overall employee experience.
Tip #1: Take inventory
The best place to start is right where you are. Review agreements with your current vendors to ensure you are getting the best rate, the latest innovations and technology, and the best customer support when you need it. For example, if you’ve always had a phone line with T-Mobile, check what other telephone providers are offering and what deals and discounts they may have. If you like your current vendor, it never hurts to renegotiate their price once you know what their competition offers.
To help you get the best value in future vendor partnerships, it can be worthwhile to create a standard checklist or even an RFP (request for proposal) template that helps people in your organization gather the right information to properly compare options.
Tip #2: Automate processes
Automation has come a long way in recent years and if your accounting procedures are still full of tedious manual processes, it’s time to embrace more modern technology. Use RPA (Robotic Process Automation) so the processes you need to do often are automated for you, saving valuable time and energy. For example, RPA can automatically run certain reports on a schedule, so they are performed in the background or overnight and the results are ready and waiting for you to review and analyze. Pair RPA with a programmable coffee maker and your team might actually look forward to working in the morning.
Tip #3: Review and adjust budgets as needed
Now is a great time to review the historic trends of your company’s budgets—overall and by department—to help you forecast the future. Keep in mind the variables that impact spending, too, such as increased costs for acquiring top talent, changing costs of medical insurance and other benefits, and any supply chain conditions that might affect your costs. None of us can control or even predict what will happen in the future, but we can still look at past patterns to help us decide how to move forward.
Tip #4: Invest in employee engagement
One budget category that may need more attention is employee engagement. The biggest pitfall employers face right now is underestimating this need or making assumptions about how their employees feel. If you don’t have an employee engagement program, now is absolutely the time to implement one. And if you already have a program, look for ways to expand and improve it.
The benefits of high employee engagement are clear. Gallup found that employees who are not engaged—or worse, actively disengaged—cost $7.8 trillion in lost productivity around the world or 11% of global GDP. Investing in employee engagement helps employers control that cost while also increasing profitability, boosting customer satisfaction, and even fostering a more inclusive work culture.
Employee recognition is one of the most effective ways to boost engagement and reduce employee turnover. And because high engagement is linked with high retention, this move can help you control turnover costs, too. Gallup calculates that organizations with 10,000 or more employees can save up to $16.1M in turnover costs each year when employee recognition is baked into the culture. These figures more than justify the ROI of the moderate costs associated with rewards and recognition programs.
Ultimately, investing in rewards and recognition to retain employees is less costly than hiring to backfill vacant positions—and this approach also frees up staff to concentrate on building your organizational culture. Using a purpose-driven employee recognition platform like Inspirus® Connects can create the foundation your organization needs to achieve higher levels of employee engagement so you can boost productivity and profitability while controlling turnover and other high costs of a disengaged workforce.
Building Financial Health throughout the Year
We recommend using these tips to make the most of an annual audit of your accounting policies and practices. You may choose to perform them more often—twice a year or even quarterly—to ensure you’re not missing any opportunities to control costs and increase the value of your spend.
Accounting touches every aspect of a company, so it’s crucial to review how accounting is done as well as how it can be improved along the way. Many business leaders also underestimate the importance of showing appreciation for your finance team, which keeps your organization alive by managing the lifeblood of any business—the bottom line. Be proactive in supporting your accounting team so they can continue to take care of your company’s financial health all year round.