As an accounting professional, collaborating on projects is as important as working independently. Working together helps you fill more needs and provide higher levels of internal and external service. Here are a few collaboration ideas that build better communication and trust.
Implement a daily huddle meeting. If there are more than 12 members on a team, break them up into smaller groups. Hold the meetings regardless of whether a teammate is absent, including the leader. Set aside 10 to 15 minutes for this stand-up meeting. The designated leader is responsible for creating a speaking order, keeping the meeting on topic and moving forward. Each team member highlights where they are in their work, when they may finish it, and what they plan on doing next. Teammates also discuss obstacles they are facing so that others can help overcome them. If a problem needs more in-depth discussion, the leader sets a time to talk about the matter later. Holding the meeting at the same time daily means teammates can plan what they want to talk about and help the discussion run smoothly. Managers stay current on what each member is working on. Teammates remain in the loop and help resolve issues.
Collaboration Tip #2: Technology
Use the latest technology. Work in the cloud to provide real-time updates with the most current data. Use cloud-based add-ons and mobile apps to help manage more parts of the business and projects as well as potentially go paperless, creating greater efficiencies. Save time by using screen-sharing software and video conferencing tools to meet with team members and clients. Implement a secure online file exchange and document storage. Use social media to network with other accountants. Connect with peers and colleagues on LinkedIn and actively participate in discussions.
Collaboration Tip #3: Communication
Focus on open communication. Aim for consistency, brevity and transparency when exchanging information. For internal communications, sit down with your team to discuss and standardize your current processes. Create a customizable benchmark document that keeps everyone updated on current practices. Ensure each task, project and/or client has a single, clearly defined owner who is aware of their role. Make sure each team member understands and uses the processes every time so members know what needs to be done and how. Make the information available to appropriate teammates. For external communications, explain to new clients how you communicate and what turnaround times to expect to ensure the client fits in well with your workflow. Remain consistent with standardized practices and teaching by example so that everyone learns how to maximize their working relationships. Limit email threads to one topic so you can share your responses with appropriate individuals and ensure answers are searchable. If you need more than a few paragraphs to answer a question, call rather than email.