Cross Training: Part Three: The Why

Last week we began to elaborate on why you must cross train. Today we complete our discussion.

Note that employees trained in cross training of other team members develop into greater resources for the company. It also brings about personal development of the employees themselves making them a better equipped accountant. Everyone wins.


Note also that in some organizations. Cross training is especially appropriate for an organization overall that requires this type of coverage and it doesn’t not have the capability because of the size of its department and or does not have the level of skills within it.


I worked in one organization where I was the accounting manager and the IT manager was going on vacation; although he did have a big enough staff. They did not have management experience (yet) and they also did not have time because of their daily commitments nor could those commitments be modified in the short term. While he did delineate the specific work to be done while he was away. There were specific weekly reports that he was responsible for that his personnel were not skilled at this time to prepare. The IT manager met with me to discuss and I assured him they would be done.


First of all; I did not have the time as I was already working late nights and half day on Saturday, however I could not say no. The report would only take an hour and a half or two to prepare weekly; and it was only for a couple of weeks. The IT manager and I had always worked well and I thought this would be a great way for me to show my gratitude. I had always been shown support in the past by him and I wanted to reciprocate.


Note: Knowledge of all the different positions in Accounting is beneficial for someone seeking to be a Supervisor or Manager; and could in fact help get them promoted. Therefore an incentive of being cross trained is the additional knowledge gained and the greater possibility of promotion; which coincidently would lead to an increase in pay. This then should serve as an incentive for the employee to squeeze more time in a day or stay longer and be more committed. In the end, the individuals, the accounting department and the company all benefit. It is particularly effective especially if the priorities of the department tend to change from time to time and certain individuals have less time to spend on their individual job responsibilities.


Cross training of employees also helps to promote teamwork as the employees from the various positions of accounting will be familiar with the way the entire department’s operation and thus helps reduce misunderstanding and disagreements. It also demonstrates to the workers that the company believes their responsibilities are important and should be completed as required; even if they are not there.


Employees that are cross trained tend to be more self-confident in themselves and are able to come up with more informed answers to problems the company might encounter due to the wealth of knowledge they have been able to amass about the company as a result of this training.


It is advisable to organize this cross training as quickly as possible. Believe me; you do not want to be caught without cross training of those responsibilities that must be completed. Do it now.


One additional point; the job description must include a “must list” when someone takes one day, two days etc. This list grows with the length of absenteeism; there should be training to ensure that these “Must tasks” are familiar with those who would undertake them.

Excerpt from Paul J. Calleri’s up and coming book on Management Excellence. Paul J. Calleri is a CPA, CMA of Paul J. Calleri, Chartered Professional Accounting, founder of and entrepreneur.

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