What education and experience is well suited for a role assisting both accounting and operations?
We have two employees set for retirement before the close of this year. One assists with accounting, and the other in operations such as procurement, scheduling, and data entry. Workload analysis suggests that one person could be hired and mold both sets of duties into one staff level position. Is it possible to do so efficiently, and also what type of person is best suited for the position?
The procurement function is related to accounting but you generally don't want someone involved in ordering items also involved in updating the accounting information (division of duties).
I'm not sure how large your company is but someone from a small company where many hats were worn would probably be a perfect fit. If not, you would be able to provide additional training to get them where they need to be.
You also should find someone that can grow in responsibility for the position even if it starts out as an accounting technician or operations assistant type position.
Given that most accounting activities are automated these days I would think that a good accountant could handle both of these activities. You might even want to call that person the Controller.
You may be able to find one person who can help with accounting, and handle procurement and scheduling. However, this is a skilled position, and thus the salary rate would be higher than you want to pay for data entry. So I would hire a separate person for data entry.
Also, it's risky to have one person handle both accounting and procurement, because you're setting yourself up for embezzlement and theft. Somebody has to check the honesty, and accuracy, of the procurement person.
ADDED: Some have recommended bringing in a new grad or apprentice. I would never recommend this to any of my clients. This is a critical position, and you need experience, but also tough-mindedness. This person needs to be able to negotiate with and stand up to vendors, customers, people within the company wanting to buy things, and even the boss.
I think you can have a single person doing both - but you probably need to bring in a person from HR or another function for check signing and separation of duties for fraud control.
I'd look for someone that understands your system out of the box and is highly motivated - but please make sure that you separate duties with a single accounting clerk.
1. CIMA Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
2. IOM Institute of Operations Management
3. CIPS Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply
This may not be useful to you as your scenario sounds as if you require an accounting technician.
I would suggest asking the local community college for an intern about to graduate this June who has studied accounting and business management. Have he/she shadow the current employees long before they leave. Yes, pay the poor intern. If it is not working, send the intern on their way sooner rather than later so they can shop the job mkt before graduation. Review your original request for changes and interview for another intern.
Look for Administrative Assistant experience or basic Excel skills. No special education is needed. You could always start with a staffing agency and offer the possibility of temp to hire.
I would suggest you take-on an apprentice. I would take on an apprentices Business Administrator at level 2 (intermediate), then progress them to a level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship. If and only if they can undertake this work to your satisfaction, I would then progress them Accountancy apprenticeship (level 3) or High Apprenticeship (level 4/6 - you may have to pay for the higher apprenticeship). Depending on the age of the person you recruit, you should get almost all of their training and development paid for through government funding of one sort or another. If you are told that it is not possible to do two level 3 apprenticeship (age dependent) then the advice they have given you is wrong, as it is possible to do a 2nd level 3 apprenticeship, if the business needs change and or it means they can keep their job, or something very similar.
General Business would be fine. The better question is, what are the personal characteristics that matter most. The job functions stated require detailed orientation, some analysis and some interpersonals (depending on how procurement and scheduling are interfaced.) I'd be looking for someone who has shown some proficiency in these areas and who is already learning more on these topics i.e. someone who has joined APICS for example.
Since you have some time before the close of this year, my suggestion (based on personal experience) is to get one person with SME in either area and a great attitude, while being a quick read.
If they do have some kind of process excellence experience (Lean Six Sigma -LSS- at the Yellow or Green Belt level), you have an advantage as they are usually process oriented and perform seamlessly wherever you put them (assuming they have been trained right).
Now back to the point in hiring, is to get the two SMEs to be involved in the interview, screen and select the candidate in this situation. They can then turn around and coach the incoming candidate to seamlessly integrate before the expected retirees later at this year's closure.
Good luck and if you need any assistance in screening or looking for LSS candidates, please let me know.
Have you asked either respective, upcoming retiree if they would consider staying on with the company? Sometimes when retirement matters are concluded in a company the employee typically has plans to take some time off to relax and travel and look at their options as a retiree. There are some comments below I agree with regarding options of workload and duties with the assistance of accounting, operations and procurement. Those are not two duties those are actually three. And since it appears that the jobs are still there to be filled, it is usually recommended to hire within a company first before extending that offer outside of it. So, if you believe that either employee or both could stay on, then that really should be discussed with the employees before they retire from your company. Also, since they do understand the company, and if they decide to move forward with not staying and being in semi-retirement mode, you could consider hiring each of them as consultants to your company to oversee training or to even do the work on a "part-time" work. It would come down to downsizing the job opportunity in your company yet, having the trusted people who can do the work, perhaps in oversight or simply doing the work they are good at doing, yet on a different level. Consider re-evaluating the operations and procurement as two new levels within your company while outsourcing the accounting. As stated below; so much of that work these days are outsourced and automated that, that part of your company may be best suited for that consideration. Getting back to the operations and procurement, at any level of change in any business, when these types of changes are happening, it is always good to sit back and re-evaluate the options your business has to make it run more efficiently and safe and in the best interests of your business (and frankly the people doing the work). You want to lessen opportunities of fraud and malfeasance through your management, while ensuring that the people are accountable to each other with upper management reporting once a week or whatever works for you. I believe in any organization once things are streamlined, can be downsized and changed to fit the needs of it when retirement or changes in employment status are at the forefront of these kinds of decision making. I also believe that working with existing employees in any facet who have been with the company for any period of time, offers up options because these people have value. They know the company and if you can rework them into a program in another fashion then by all means take advantage of that opportunity. You will be rewarded in that decision and the respective retiree may want a month off to travel to get some R & R under their belt. Deservedly so, and come back refreshed to know that, it's an option for them in a new light as well. I also believe it is more cost effective to keep on others in this fashion as it saves money and time in training. Yes they may be consultants for your company and paid differently - but, what can be a better way to keep a great reputation when you hire back through this method someone who gets you, and gets your business? These are just some things to consider. Keep in mind, they may say they want to retire anyway after you pose the question to them; but you at least weighed your options and have an idea where to go once you have their answers and can take all of it into consideration for your next level of change. There may be others in your company who can take on this new opportunity in your company safely and effectively.
Hi Zach. Since you are the Accounting and Finance Manager, overseeing all the accounting aspects of your Company, then it would seem possible to hire one person to cover both sets of duties. For the experience side, you will probably find candidates who have held similar positions with SME's. The type of person best suited for this position is someone who enjoys the variety a job like this would offer but also has the training in computer systems to be able to handle the software for both jobs. From the education point of view, anyone who has a college level business degree/diploma would work. I was a CEO of a Company that had such an individual and we were able to use her for a variety of tasks because she was so adaptable. It worked out very well for us.
Great education in advanced accounting, finance, commercial law, economics and strong degree in all these. Depth knowledge of double accounting entry system, general ledger, subsidiary books, general entries, it's effects on FS and P@L account. Full understanding of assets and liabilities, working capital, gross margins, net income, proper costing method, it's revision on a yearly basis along with write off of receivables and inventory, it's provisions with effects on f@s and P@L. Allocation of assets and liabilities along with short term loans and allocation and full understanding of equity, tangible vs non tangible assets and super grasp on the financial statements etc etc are some of the most important areas but not limited to all that. Unlimited knowledge in this area. Pradeep Berry
When we hire someone in this space we have traditionally looked for someone with a solid accounting background and operational experience. Education-wise we look for perhaps a CMA credential or strong performance in management accounting. I would raise the concern of making sure you have your roles clearly defined and non-overlapping, and don't have one employee responsible for the entire cycle. There needs to be an internal control in place. Based on your question it looks like you have already looked at this piece.
Much depends upon the size of the company and the prejudices of the employer. Many companies demand a CPA to fill the accounting void. I do not agree. As an interim executive, I have filled both voids many times. The experience should be able to add expertise to your management team. Your expectations should be greater than just filling the functional void. Take advantage of this opportunity.
Having said all of that, can we talk? I am well qualified, available and interested in the role you describe. Please contact me directly.
Zach, I would look for a mid-level administrative generalist who has basic accounting skills, reasonably good typing (accuracy over speed), has experience with Microsoft Office products, and good general office skills, e.g., can operate all the usual office equipment and has good inter-personal skills. So, yes, you could make this a one staff level position.
Regarding the type of person: I would choose someone who is detail-oriented, can follow directions, has good follow-thru, and will be a good fit in your environment. Besides a high school diploma, I'd look for someone with at least two years of college and a minimum of five years' work experience, particularly with most (if not all) the tasks you'll require them to handle.
One last piece of advice: Make sure the two retirees are documenting their roles including forms they use, online resources, contact names, deadlines, who they turn to within the company with questions, etc. Having all of that information documented will prove to be an invaluable training tool/resource for their successor.
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