The Ledger No. 42: Ensuring Quality Work in Your Team

March 23, 2022 Sarah Dameron

manager ensuring quality work in her department

Welcome to The Ledger where we sum up the latest finance and accounting news and trends for you. On this week’s entry, we’re diving into the topic of ensuring quality work in your team. Read on to explore how to maintain audit quality going forward, how businesses can adjust their expectations around work hours, how to keep your performance high at work and how to narrow down why your employees leave.

The Weekly Ledger ensuring quality work

How to Maintain Audit Quality Going Forward - Ensuring Premium Class Work

Was the auditing industry affected by the pandemic? Yes. And according to Kelly Grier, CPA and US chair and managing partner and Americas managing partner for EY, “Audit teams have risen to the challenge and evolved.” But what about next year and onward? Take a look at what a few experts think will drive audit quality in the future:

  • Leading with purpose. Leaders need to promote the values of autonomy, professional apprehension and personal moral uprightness. Moreover, communication and culture within the audit firm are what determines quality auditing.

  • Accelerating digital transformation. Technology is the key to unlocking efficiency. And in the auditing world, efficiency is crucial. Kathy Waller, former CFO of Coca-Cola touches on this subject: “We do have to be sure that we are not going to be setting up unintended consequences with technology, for sure… it’s pretty exciting the way it might go, but I think we do have to be careful.”

  • Investing in people. It’s the buzz phrase of the pandemic. The quality of your work is only as strong as the people who perform the work. And thanks to the Great Resignations, businesses are rethinking how to keep their best employees. So how can audit firms attract top talent? By investing in learning and growth opportunities for their workers.

  • Modernizing quality management systems. Dan Goelzer, founding member of the PCAOB, said it best: “Firms are going to have to stop using sort of a checklist approach to quality control and [use] more of a process where they assess periodically what the actual challenges in their practice are and make sure they have measures in place to address those challenges.”

  • Focusing on independence. Wes Bricker, CPA and PwC’s vice-chair-US Trust Solutions co-leader, shares his insight: “It’s auditor independence that enables investors to have the confidence that someone from the outside has looked at the numbers, has looked at the financial statements, has looked at the disclosures. It’s an essential underpinning to the value of the audit process.”

To learn more about what will guide audit quality in the future, read the full article on journalofaccountancy.com.

The Great Debate: Quality vs. Quantity in the Workplace

Employees want flexible work arrangements, but are employers willing to succumb to their demands? It should come as no surprise that employees are demanding more from their companies than ever before, thanks to the pandemic. And with workers working more than they were during pre-COVID days and companies experiencing a talent shortage, it’s time for both sides to find a solution. Suzanne Rohan Jones, professor in Maryville’s bachelor of psychology program, dives deeper into this issue with Employee Benefit News. Here’s what we can take away from her conversation:

  • Employees have a hard time setting boundaries between work and their home life because they’re worried about job security.

  • Employers are finally realizing that people are looking for greener pastures and that they need to step up their retention strategy.

  • Employers are finally grasping that showing respect for employees is an ideal way to attract top talent and also keep your current talent.

  • There needs to be trust and respect between employee and employer before additional demands can be met.

  • Employees who expect flexibility right off the bat after starting a new job are going to be sorely disappointed. Autonomy should be earned, not expected.

To explore how to maintain a productive business while also affording your team the flexibility of working where they want and when they want, head over to benefitnews.com to check out the full article.

15 Ways to Keep Your Performance High at Work While Ensuring Quality

We’ve all had days at work where we’d rather be doing something else. Or days where your energy levels aren’t quite where they need to be. But powering through isn’t the answer. The key is incorporating a few habits into your daily routine. Here’s a few suggestions (from experts) on how to maintain peak performance despite what’s happening around you:

  • Make time for your personal life. If possible, leave work at work. Invest in your personal life through family, hobbies, exercising, etc.

  • Practice gratitude. Find joy in what you’re doing. 

  • Find balance. Make each aspect of your busy day align with each other.

  • Master time management. Prioritize your tasks. What needs to be completed immediately and what can be pushed back? Furthermore, schedule breaks to give yourself time to recharge.

  • Integrate play and cardio. Find time to do things that are fun and active, such as dance workouts or VR games.

  • Create some ‘me’ time. Block out time – no meetings, no calls and no interruptions. Do what you want to do.

  • Prioritize value over productivity. Reevaluate what you’re doing. Focus on what matters.

  • Do Less. Seems counterintuitive, but you’ll be more productive, less stressed and focused.

  • Expect nothing and appreciate everything. You’re not entitled to anything. Focus on your reality and be grateful for what you have.

  • Create realistic to-do lists. Incorporate a mix of high and low priority items.

  • Release and recover. Practice running through a five-stage cycle of flow – preparation, purposeful struggle, release, flow and recover.

  • Warm-up for the day. Find ways to start your day energized, whether that’s going to the gym, reading a few chapters in a book, etc.

  • Commit to a routine. Routine is quintessential for babies and toddlers and it’s also vital for our mental health. To be at your best, you need to find what makes you tick.

  • Reduce context switching. Become less ‘scheduled’. There’s no reason you need to jam pack your day – less is more.

For more on how to stay in optimal performance mode at work, check out the article on fastcompany.com.

Understanding Why Employees Leave Their Jobs

The Great Resignation is happening all around us. You’ve probably experienced the effects of this phenomenon and are asking yourself, ‘why?’ You did everything by the book – exit interviews and developing creative solutions to this issue. But in that process, you probably overlooked your current employees (who’ve opted to stay). Instead of focusing on why people are leaving, focus on why people are choosing to stay. One way to do this is through the utilization of stay interviews. Asking these four questions can help you address retention challenges:

  • What’s your frame of mind today? Don’t try to squash their affliction. Instead, acknowledge their experience.

  • Who do you feel connected to at work? Gallup found a strong link between having a best friend at work and employee performance. Based on their answer, help them cultivate those connections.

  • What barriers can I remove for you? Instead of praising your employee on a job well done, focus on whether or not they can perform their job well. Remove those obstacles.

  • What new things do you want to learn that will excite you and help you grow? What do your employees want to do? Help them achieve their career aspirations.

To dive deeper into what stops people from leaving your team, read the complete article on hbr.org.

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