Showing your staff the impact they make

Most accountants, especially young ones, want their work to have a purpose. They want to know that what they do is making a difference within the four walls of their office, and also beyond them.

Seeing the impact of your work is not that simple. It can be easy for the grinders of your firm to feel disconnected from the end result of a job, or to really understand that they’re tasks are a key part of it all. 

The challenge for managers is to demonstrate to staff that everything counts towards the overall job. And the actualization of this goal has a positive effect that extends far beyond a tick on the job list.

If you manage to show this you’ll give your staff greater pride in what they’re doing and they’ll feel a much closer connection their employer. They’ll want the practice to achieve big things, and they’ll want to play a key part in it.  

Show the whole puzzle so they can understand the piece

As a manager, you see the role each staff member plays in the larger scheme of things. You see the clients, the results, and your firm’s bottom line, so you know that even the smallest actions make an integral difference on the bigger picture.

Those without your vantage point don’t see this as clearly. It’s easy for them to lose sight of their own work’s value when they only see a small portion of it. This is especially common in firms where work is passed amongst multiple hands before its completion.

It's your job to show your staff that every task, even something as simple as a tax return or invoicing, has an impact on the overall client relationship. The trick is to provide visibility throughout your team.

If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.

Everyone should be able to see the communication with a client even if they aren't the ones speaking to them. They should see what the rest of the team are contributing toward the same goal and the results that are being achieved. This is where Karbon can assist.

You can only demonstrate the bigger picture when everyone in the team can see it. There is no clearer way to understand where your own work fits in relation to everything else going on. 

Help them get to know your clients

As this survey points out, employees prefer hearing about the impact of their company through client stories, employee stories, and leadership messages. Grinders who rarely speak with clients aren’t often exposed to their stories, so it’s easy for them to only see a name on a file.

Help your staff get to know your clients by inviting them to client meetings and encouraging them to pick up the phone and chat rather than always relying on email.

When you witness a sigh of relief from a business owner because you’ve completed your work well and on time, you can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment that transcends into other areas of your work.
Chad Davis, LiveCA LLP

When there are positive client stories, make sure they are shared amongst your team. Discuss them in staff meetings or set up a client-stories channel on your team's internal communication system. 

Accountants play a big role in shaping the local community and making clients’ lives better. It’s important to be reminded of that every now and then.

Inspire with stories of success

To further demonstrate the impact your staff can, and are having, look beyond your own team. There are countless stories of growth generation, job creation and rescuing from financial hardship that can be attested to the accounting profession. Your team needs to hear these.

Encourage them to read real-life examples of the great things accountants are doing. When your staff see the impact others in the same line of work as them are having, they’ll keep striving to work hard and do bigger and better things. Motivation doesn’t come much stronger than that.

Accountants are using their skills with numbers to do the predictable stuff—make businesses more profitable, improve their cash flow, make them more valuable, save them, help them grow and so on. But the emotional impact also contributes to the difference we can make to people’s lives.
Steve Pipe FCA

These strategies will help your staff, especially junior ones, understand their place within the greater scheme of things. They will gain a better understanding of the firm’s overall performance, and where they fit as an individual amongst clients and the wider community.

When your staff can see this impact they’ll be more invested in their work, they’ll deliver better results for clients, and they’ll be happier, increasing the likelihood them sticking with your firm long term. Everybody wins. 


If you’d like to learn how millennials are changing the face of the accounting industry, what this means for your firm, and how you can capitalize on it, download Accounting for the generational shift for free.

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