Read Time: 5-Minutes | Author: P.J. Yates
What Are SMART Goals?
Smart goals are ones that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. This is an approach to goal setting one of the most widely used and effective approaches—that can help you achieve success. When everyone on your team understands what the objectives are and how they will be helped by achieving these goals then clarity and communication improve as well.
Many accounting managers find it difficult to set an annual goal. It can be challenging to measure the work done by those who counting—which is ironic but happens often outside of sales teams. The routines for accountants can differ greatly and are usually determined by external factors.
Without setting goals, it would be exceedingly difficult to have a prosperous year. They also aid you and your colleagues in knowing what requires attention and being able to achieve it, as well as establishing understanding throughout the F&A organization.
The best way to write SMART goals for accountants is by making them specific. This will not only make the goal seem more attainable, but you’ll be more likely to achieve it thanks to newfound clarity surrounding what needs to accomplish.
When starting, it’s better to set a grander goal, and then incrementally achieve smaller goals that lead up to the main objective. When discussing the importance of these specific goals with individuals or teams, be sure to emphasize how achieving them will positively contribute in both the short-term and long-term for F&A organizations as a whole.
To get even more specific, determine the exact outcome you want.
Make Your Goals Measurable & Attainable
Finally, translate your objectives into specific numbers so you can hold yourself accountable and measure progress. Oftentimes, this is the hardest part of creating achievable goals for accountants. If a goal at first doesn’t seem like it has a number attached to it, try wording it differently so that measuring becomes possible.
Not only is it important to ensure that the goal is something you can achieve, but it’s also essential to set a reasonable time frame and identify any potential roadblocks. insurmountable goals will do nothing except cause stress and agony.
Removing those barriers should be the first step.
Make Your Goals Relevant & Time-Bound
Every goal should matter not just to the individual pursuing it, but also to the organization as a whole. By understanding why this goal is important, we can increase clarity and motivation for achieving it.
To achieve any goal, it’s important to set a reasonable deadline and then check in regularly to see if you’re still on course. Things come up sometimes that can interfere with making the deadline, which is why it’s okay to be adaptable in adjusting the timeline if needed.
Therefore, taking the first steps towards your goal means identifying and removing possible roadblocks.
Strategies for Effective Goal Setting
These three strategies will help make your accounting and finance teams more successful in the future.
Take a Project-Based Approach
We all have at least some free time now and then, so why not encourage your team to use that as an opportunity to improve professionally? each person comes up with a project idea that will help them learn new things, work better with others, and see their role in a different light.
For example, a Senior Staff Accountant could heighten the skills of their colleagues by conducting a training. Alternatively, if you’re unsure whether your AR team could be more efficient, give them a goal to identify areas they can improve. You might be surprised at how many time-saving great ideas arise from this exercise.
Create Opportunities to Strategically Develop New Skills
With the ever-growing changes in technology, it is now more important than ever to stay ahead of the curve by developing new finance skills.
If you want to be an excellent accountant, start developing your communication skills, data analysis abilities, business knowledge, and creativity today. These will allow you to provide leadership with predictive insights, make decisions based on data, and give expert advice.
When accounting and finance professionals are given opportunities to problem-solve more creatively, learn new technology, and build relationships with other departments, it can make a massive difference for them on an individual and team level.
Carefully Craft Your Culture
If you want your company to succeed, implementing a strong culture is essential. A good corporate culture leads to many benefits such as increased work quality and productivity, higher engagement and retention rates, and lowered stress and healthcare costs.
But if this improvement hasn’t been a focus at your company yet, don’t worry! It’s never too late to start making changes.
Brainstorming as a team is an excellent way to get started. Your employees will feel more invested and valued if you include them in discussions about company culture, and they’re also the ones who are most likely to be able to identify areas that need improvement and suggest effective solutions.
Planning regular team building events can help leaders bring their teams closer together. These events can be something as fun as an outing or simply a lunch at the office to show appreciation. The goal should always be to maintain relationships, which generate understanding and respect for one another.
Put Your People First
When done correctly, creating smart goals for your accountants can help generate a shared vision that makes your teams feel motivated and connected. When the strategies within that vision meaningfully contribute to the entire organization, you can count on increased buy-in from everyone involved.
Putting your people first and setting them up for success is key. If you focus on the future of finance and equip your teams for the new digital landscape, your F&A organization will thrive.
Creating smart goals and sustaining a great culture can help F&A teams retain top talent, which is a challenge in today’s business environment. Schedule a meeting and start planning with your team today.