Cross Training: Part two: The Why
Yesterday we began to elaborate on why you must cross train. Today we continue.
The reality is that most of your staff require coverage. For instance your accounts payable cheque run is due today and your accounts payable person is sick. Which invoices have to be entered before the cheque run. Whether it’s one invoice or all of them do you or someone on your team know how to input them. Another question is which ones are urgent and when should they be paid. This is only one example; and I assure you if you don’t make the time now, you will when the person is absent and you have to scurry to cover for them. Then you have to determine in a panic what needs to be done and suffer the embarrassment and cost (penalties etc.) of those suppliers/government/bank that were not paid on time. In addition; do you know how to cut an urgent cheque that is required at 7:00 at night and you are there alone? If you don’t know; find out now.
It is particularly useful in companies that have effectively functioning departments as this will build team work among departmental workers and subsequently help them to create a team spirit; “they are able to support each other to get the job done”. Thus, when one team member covers for another the operations of the department for that period of time are not hampered.
I have had departments as big as 3 managers; one supervisor and eleven accountants directly reporting to them. With a total team of 16 counting me; there is definitely coverage required; both short term and long term.
In another organization; I had a staff of three; and they took care of all the accounting activities such as: accounts payable, accounts receivable, general accounting, payroll, etc. Even with a team as small as this; team members had 2-3 weeks of vacation each and we had a few sick days per year per person, and one person had to go in for surgery etc.
Well; talk about a well oiled machine. We sat as a team, viewed our job descriptions; isolated those must items that had to be done and with much enthusiasm, learned the duties that had to be done. There was a seamless transition of duties from one person to another that were covered. In fact this team worked so well together that they emphasized the need to get as much done when a person was off; so that they would not have to return to a mound of work. Talk about a great morale booster. Everyone appreciated the special attention when they were absent and eagerly returned the favour when they were the ones covering.
So if you want to do yourself a big favour today. Book your meeting to get together for this much necessary requirement and in the same email ask each member to send you a job description; unless you or H.R. already have one already. You have to reach the point where another person can conveniently step in and perform the dutie(s) without hampering normal company operations.
On Monday we continue with Part three.
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 TheGAAP.net and entrepreneur.
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