When we onboard new clients we get to meet an entirely new group of people that are involved in a complex set of relationships. Understanding these relationships is important so we integrate into a company and be a true partner. There is a natural tendency for us accountants to shy away from anything that doesn’t include spreadsheets, a computer screen, or some type of financial analysis; it’s where we are comfortable. We tend to think the end product is the goal. We get wrapped up in checking things off that checklist we are constantly in charge of. In reality, making our clients lives better is the ultimate goal. This means different things to different people. Yes, understanding the numbers and being able to help our clients understand them and manage their business better are part of the goal, but in order for us to do that effectively, we need to work well with the people at the companies we serve. It’s important for us to get along with everyone, to promote teamwork, and for a practical reason, to make it easier to get the information we need to do a good job and, ultimately help the client.
Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy. Some people are threatened by our presence, which makes them less likely to want to help. In addition, we don’t always understand the relationships so we can’t always grasp why some don’t get along with each other or why. The best way to handle these situations is to be Switzerland. Be professional and kind, treating everyone with respect and try to never take any sides. It will engender trust when people understand you treat everyone well.
It also goes a long way if we are helpful and are able to provide support for other people. Jumping in and helping on site staff when they are stressed or trying to make a deadline goes a long way towards building a relationship. Going to a company picnic or company sponsored event is another way to get to know people in the company. Spending a little time getting to know people really shows team members you care, which in turn, builds and supports a team environment. In a team environment, the company is capable of its biggest successes!
To summarize, we can accomplish a lot more if we can constantly promote teamwork!Written by: Nancy Brzezniak TGG Accounting