Friday, January 11, 2013

Communication in the workplace: Why it matters

There are two obstacles that still contaminate the workplace: communication barriers and the lack of cross-function training. The two combined can make it that much difficult to finish tasks and meet crucial deadlines. Especially in the accounting field.

Most accountants live up to their introvert reputations and prefer to work alone, although that's not always the case. In an environment where information sharing is vital to monitoring accounts and preparing financial statements, there is a tendency for some members to selfishly hoard that knowledge. Not intentionally, of course, but that does not alleviate the obstacles.

Anyone who has worked at a large company has experienced the frustration of trying to manage accounts that are divided among several accountants. Now add to that the difficulty of trying to wrestle backup support to validate transactions. The process becomes a greater burden when co-owners of accounts are unidentified because you spend a majority of your time hunting down these silent partners and researching desperately needed documentation.

Now imagine the unexpected happening: a colleague is hospitalized, has to leave town, or worse, hands in a resignation letter. You discover rather untimely that the workload has been piling and someone has to complete it. Only problem is, the playbooks were never updated and access to the databases are limited to the owner of the accounts. It is an accountant's worst nightmare, especially when those deadlines are mere days away. 

It is surprising to see just how late in the game many managers are in facilitating cooperation and collaboration across their various departments. Training multiple employees on similar accounts and encouraging communication will not only improve the quality of output, but also increase accuracy and improve efficiency.

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