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New Accounting Manager Goals, Objectives, First Steps

I have been tasked with identifying changes I can help implement in a start up company as an Accounting Manager. What would be some key points to highlight/address first?


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Why not start with internal controls that would be system agnostic.

Example; segregation of duties, responsibilities of the signatories, etc.

David Smith
Title: Manager
Company: Private
(Manager, Private) |

A person's opinion is no better than their information. Plus, each organization is a unique little snowflake of occasional failure.

So, your evolving opinion about what needs doing needs more information, especially from those you work with.

I'd first concentrate on getting info from those above and below you in that new position about what they think is going on. Opportunities, obstacles, strengths, weaknesses, repeat problems, all that sort of stuff. It doesn't mean they're right. It just means you need to know.

It's unlikely that they have absolutely no idea what needs improvement or are completely wrong about it. If that's the case, you're in "F" Troop and your job is now twice as hard.

Pay special attention to repeat problems. That kind of thing gets noticed and needs to go away.

Then, rank those possible problem areas and pick off the easiest/most beneficial first.

If it's so start-up that there is no actual state of play, then just go for getting basic systems in place.

That's my take on it. Good luck!

Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

This may be a cliche' but this is the mindset that you should have.......

Address your biggest pain points first. You have to initially get things "working". Maybe not as efficient at first but continuously making it work better. However, you should also have the bigger picture at the back of your mind. Prioritize with the intention of building/scaling something bigger. You have to gather all the right pieces (and maybe placing them in their right places) first before you can build the puzzle and slowly see the picture.

Remember that you will NOT get it right the first time (just don't be spectacularly wrong) ....and that is perfectly okay. As long as you have the mindset of continuous improvement.

Steve Sheridan
Title: Associate
Company: Dean Lewis Associates
(Associate, Dean Lewis Associates) |

I would start with seeing how long it takes to get transactions posted. Work on getting all receipts posted that day, and payables asap. Management will have a better idea of the current picture when the numbers are current.
From there I'd tackle bank reconciliations. Try to put a system in place that allows the company to balance as much as possible. As the company grows I know you'll appreciate a system that can easily balance the accounts. This will really help with cash flow considerations.
Make sure the staff understands accruals and capitalization rules for the company, and then month-end closing procedures. If I think of something else I'll let you know.


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