Work effectively in the accounting and bookkeeping industry
Independence and teamwork: workplace scenario
It has been a couple of months since your software suggestion was implemented. You receive an email from James (the head of sales) with Sandy (the managing director) and Mary (the accounts manager) copied in. The email says:
“Well done on your work with this new software. I know Mary is thrilled with how much easier our compulsory reporting has been!
I noticed that one feature of the software was the sales trend reporting.
As you’d know from induction and from the policies and procedures manual, Little Pear Juice Co. is currently selling store franchises. Our current information pack has some detail on sales trends, but it would really pop if we could get some of those impressive charts and details the software can generate.
To do this, we’ll need to enter about a year’s worth of past sales data. It’s a bit of a jumble, because as you know, we didn’t have bookkeeping software before this. We’ve got Excel spreadsheets, Google Sheets, even some stuff on paper!
You’d be the best person to organise this, but you won’t be working alone. Sandy and Mary have allocated Karen Judd from admin and Charlie Jones from accounts to help you with this project.
Can you take on this challenge?”
1. James and Sandy have given you a big job to do; entering a year of old sales data into the new software. To start planning out your work, you’ll need to break it down in to smaller tasks.
Make a list of the individual tasks you need to do with Karen and Charlie.
HINT: the first task will have to do with finding out where all the data is right now…
2. Some of the tasks you’ve identified are individual tasks. Some are team jobs.
You want to make sure you (and your new teammates) are well set up to do get this job done.
List the conditions you’ll need to work by yourself. Then list what you’ll need to work together as a team.
Think things like a dedicated work space, no interruptions, access to digital/physical files…
3. You’ll need to make a plan to manage your resources (human resources and equipment) and time as you go through this job.
You and Karen work full time, but Charlie only works five hours a day (while his kids are at school). Charlie is faster at data entry, and Karen is great at organising paperwork. You need to keep at least half of your time free for your regular bookkeeping tasks. You and your team have access to the computer equipment and the files any time you need them.
With this in mind, it’s time to turn your task list (question 1) in to a rough plan. Start by putting your task list in priority order. Then, next to each task, write how long you think it’ll take. After that, write the name of the person who you’ll allocate the task to.
Move paper records in to work room – everyone – one hour
Put paper records in date order – Karen – two hours
4. You’ve put your plan in to place, and you’re half way through the old sales records. Because of the way you’ve organised your work, you’ve already been able to get some results and reports back to James and Sandy. They’re thrilled with the extra detail, and how quickly you’ve got some preliminary results back to them.
You want to share the good news with Karen and Charlie, and give them feedback about their individual work.
Write down what you’d say to them.
HINT: Revise pages 139-142 of your textbook or Chapter 4.3 of the Digital edition.
5. Karen and Charlie are happy to get the feedback. But they’re also both keen to get back to their regular work. They want to get this job done even faster. Between the three of you, you decide to have a quick discussion about how you might be able to do this.
Describe your approach to conducting this discussion in a supportive and positive manner.
HINT: revise page 147 of your textbook or Chapter 4.4 of the Digital edition under the heading - “Tips for Effective Discussions”.
6. During the discussion, the team raises the fact that over the last couple of days of working on this job, you haven’t all been in the room at the same time. That’s because Charlie works part-time, and you need to pause to take care of your other bookkeeping tasks every now and then. Although you’re working through the old records in order according to your plan, the work is slower than you expected (the hours in your plan).
You’ve identified the problem; now you need to identify the cause.
What do you think could be causing the slowness?
7. Think about your answer to question 6. How would you solve this problem? Think creatively, and remember your team members’ strengths and needs.
8. You’ve updated James, Sandy and Mary on your progress, including your solution for working faster. Sandy comes to you and mentions a work scheduling app she’s been using (like the one on page 137 of your textbook or Chapter 4.2 of the Digital edition “Work Scheduling App”.). She thinks would work well for keeping the team organised and on track with your solution (question 7). You think it’s a good idea, but you’d need to adapt to the new workflow (and the technology!) ASAP to make it worthwhile.
Describe your attitude and approach to using the app, in your small team, for this job.
INT: revise page 149 of your textbook or Chapter 4.5 of the Digital edition.
Professional development: workplace scenario
1. What were the professional development needs/requirements and goals you identified in your first meeting with the managers?
2. Since your first meeting, you’ve worked on your regular bookkeeping tasks, as well as two projects: introducing the bookkeeping software, and entering the old sales data. Based on those activities, is there anything else you might benefit from learning about?
Identify and describe at least one (1) skill you could learn that would help you work more effectively.
3. Your first meeting was with Sandy, Mary and James. There was one important person who wasn’t present – Nicola Johnson, the HR manager. Nicola will be responsible for managing your official training and development needs, so you want to clarify your requirements (questions 1 and 2 of this activity).
Prepare the contents of an email to Nicola. Make sure you include questions to help you clarify or confirm:
- the facts about licensing/registration requirements
- the approach you should take to maintaining and enhancing your own skills
- how you can ask for funding/time to undertake the professional development opportunities
4. While you’re waiting for Nicola to respond to your email, you decide to investigate some professional development opportunities that would meet your needs and goals.
Do your own research, and make a list of at least five (5) opportunities that would suit the needs and goals you’ve identified.
HINT: revise page 167 of your textbook or Chapter 5.3 of the Digital edition.
OPPORTUNITY INFORMATION URL COST TIME/HOURS WHY IT’S SUITABLE
5. Nicola responds to your email. She confirms that the main professional development issue you’ve got to worry about is improving your skills so you can do your job more effectively. In her email, she mentions that:
“According to the Policy and Procedure manual, the HR assistant (Joe) is the person who organises training. Joe compiles the requests and suggestions, and presents them to us at our regular HR meeting so we can decide how to allocate funding and resources. Just give Joe all the important details about the PD you want to do, and you should be fine.”
Write Joe an email, explaining the costs and benefits of the five opportunities you’ve identified.
6. Joe writes back and tells you:
“Thanks for your email! HR generally only approve one PD activity per person, per month. I can put your email on your file so there’s a record of your plans, but I can only put forward one request at the meeting. Which one do you want to go with?”
To meet your goals, you want to get started on something ASAP. Based on your research, and the timeframe you’ve got, which is the highest priority opportunity?
Write an email back to Joe, explaining which opportunity you want to apply for, and why you’ve chosen it.
7. Outside of formal learning and development opportunities, what else can you do on your own time, for free, to improve your professional knowledge?
List and briefly describe three (3) activities you can do by yourself. Do not include any you have mentioned in previous answers