Delegation is an essential management skill. But if you’re like most finance leaders, you might shy away from delegating accounting tasks. Because for the majority, it’s hard to put into practice. And refusing to delegate can have negative effects on your team and business. There are several reasons why managers evade delegation. It may be that they:
Would rather do the task themselves;
Want to be the go-to person for this responsibility;
Have guilt over adding to someone else’s work plate;
OR They don’t have the utmost confidence in the person assigned to the project.
As Harvard Business Review puts it, “One of the most difficult transitions for leaders to make is the shift from doing to leading.” So, what steps can you take as a leader to develop your ability to delegate better? Consider the following ways you can start delegating accounting tasks more effectively while also fostering a well-functioning team.
Signs You Need to Delegate More
There are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week. And if you’re asking yourself whether you’re delegating enough, that’s usually an indication you’re not. Here are a few red flags that should give you pause.
You’re bogged down with low-impact tasks. You wake up with ‘big picture’ ideas – vision, strategy, growth – but by 5 pm, you still find yourself trying to input data into a spreadsheet. These menial tasks are things you can delegate to other members of your team.
Someone else is better suited for the task. While you may be good at many things, that doesn’t mean you need to do everything. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and it’s vital to delegate based on those factors. Furthermore, you should focus on what you excel at and leave the rest to your team.
You can’t take a day off because work would screech to a halt without you. You never have time for yourself, ever. Not to take a mental health day. Not a vacation. Your employees are highly dependent on you; their instinct is to run to you about every little concern.
You spend all your time putting out fires. Some days it feels like all you do is run interference. You spend your whole day solving immediate problems. To-do lists are pushed to the next day or even the following week. You’re in survival mode and it’s not sustainable.
Your team is underworked. They’re being paid a full-time salary while working a part-time job. And if you’re constantly overworked but your team constantly has free time, it means that you’re not delegating enough.
How to Start Delegating Effectively in Accounting
Delegation is a skill that, like any skill, can be perfected over time. The problem is, many leaders don’t know where to start or they aren’t willing to do it unless it’s an absolute must. Here are a few strategies to put into practice that can help you delegate more effectively:
Let it go. Easier said than done, but if you want your team to thrive, it’s time to hand over the reins to someone else.
Play to your employees’ strengths. As a leader, you should know each individual’s current and potential range of skills.
Include instructions. Don’t throw your employees into the deep end without giving them clear directions on the task itself. Be proactive in the beginning to avoid becoming reactive in the end.
Don’t micromanage. It’s hard watching someone do a task you’ve done countless times before. And staying silent while they slip up is even harder. But micromanaging leads to a decrease in work productivity and self-performance. Not to mention, a survey conducted by GoodHire showed that 82 percent of those surveyed would consider quitting their job because of a bad manager.
Plainly Identify What Accounting Tasks to Delegate
Not everything can be delegated. But in order to be a masterful accounting and finance leader, you must be a top-notch delegator. Gallup found that leaders who are skilled delegators achieve three-year growth rates that are 112 percent higher than those who don’t delegate at all or who do so poorly. So what tasks should you delegate?
Work that is outside your skillet and requires somebody specific:
Time-sensitive projects that have slim deadlines:
End of month close
Low-impact tasks that are business-critical but don’t require your expertise:
Benefits of Delegation in the Accounting Department
We’ve previously discussed signs you need to delegate more, how to delegate effectively and what tasks to delegate. Now let’s talk about the benefits of delegating in the workplace.
Creates a manageable workload. When you aren’t constantly bogged down by mundane tasks, you’ll be free to accomplish all your responsibilities (especially those that matter).
Maximizes productivity. When people are overworked and overwhelmed by the amount on their plate, their performance starts to dip. Deadlines get missed and mistakes are made. However, delegating work allows you to give yourself the capacity to complete higher-level tasks.
Boosts team morale. Delegating is about working as team to get things done more efficiently. When your employees work together like a finely tuned instrument, company culture will soar to new heights.
Opportunity for members of your team to grow professionally. Employees that are assigned new tasks outside their scope of work have a chance to grow and develop their abilities. They learn new skills that make them more valuable to the company.
When you think about offloading tasks, you probably first consider who’s on your team. In many cases, though, delegating a certain task to one of your employees isn’t the right solution. In fact, if it’s not realistic or cost-effective to hire a full-time employee to delegate tasks to or none of your team members have the right skills or experience to perform those tasks, outsourcing is the only option. And here at Personiv, we know a thing or two about offloading tasks. We’ve partnered with businesses – small to large – amplify their business’s bottom line by finding, hiring and retaining top talent at a fraction of what it would cost to hire a full-time employee in-house – and we can help you too.
If you’re ready to start delegating accounting tasks and see what outsourcing can do for you, get in touch with one of our virtual accounting experts.