As an accounting professional, you know that you play an important role in your organization. Your team can help your organization achieve its goals more effectively by working alongside project managers.
Project managers may be part of the marketing, creative services, information technology or any other department. Their job is to organize, guide, and as the name implies, manage a project from start to finish, ensuring that timelines, milestones, and budgets are met.
As you can imagine, accounting can best partner on the budget side of projects, however, accounting teams can help project managers with so much more. Here’s how the two can become unlikely but powerful allies to build organizational efficiency.
The Accounting Team Knows How It’s Done
Accounting teams have a special knack for understanding the workflow within an organization. Chalk it up to knowing where the money flows in and out, but the accounting team can be the organizational experts on who does what, when and how.
That information is essential for project managers struggling to align processes and people with project goals and milestones. The accounting staff understand the risks, controls, and other details that can help projects move smoothly through the organization. They know how work gets done internally and can guide project managers around any potential obstacles.
Project Management Methodology
Accountants who wish to add value to the project management team must, however, learn the language and methodology of successful project management.
Projects are mapped with a specific workflow in mind. There is a beginning,a middle (or milestones to reach), and a stated goal which marks the end.
The overall project map can be called a charter or project plan. Accountanting professionals, used to managing risk, can add value to the creation of a project plan or charter by objectively identifying potential risks from their unique perspective. This can help the project managercorrect any faulty assumptions and keep projects on track.
Accounting Participates from the Start
Another helpful hint: Participate in project plans from the start. Don’t wait until the project is near completion and the project manager needs help finding additional funds in the budget to complete it. You can add the greatest value to a project by working alongside the project team from the start to advise on process and budgets. Instead of coming in at the last minute, your guidance is essential near the project kickoff, in the middle when the project may need changes or additions, as well as with final budgeting.
Tips to Manage Project Risks
Accountants are risk managers. To add your greatest strength to the project management process, use these tips to help manage risks.
- Help the project manager at the beginning of a project.
- Stay involved with the project. Attend meetings of the project team and review any documents, emails or other materials promptly.
- Ask questions like an auditor. Key stakeholders in project meetings can help identify the most important project milestones that deserve focus.
- Be aware of workload dips and spikes, and accommodate the crunch periods with additional help.
- Identify project scope creep, or when the work moves outside of the intended project. Gently guide it back into scope with the help of the project manager.
By asking the right questions and using your talents and strengths in managing financial accounts, you can become a valuable ally and asset to the project management team in your organization.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please contact Welter Consulting at 206-605-3113 for more information.