All managers need to count the beans…


How many times have you heard a colleague refer to the accounts team as the bean counters? Or, maybe you have done it? Maybe that just reflects the fact that many of us (including me) don’t fully understand the work that they do or just how vital it is if a business is to function effectively…and profitably.


Sure, as a department they can get a bit stressed at month-end, quarter-end or year-end and we know that someone has to reconcile the VAT and manage the payroll. But honestly, they do so much more and you’d miss them if they weren’t there – almost instantly.


Finance teams are a mix of different types of people – financial accountants, management accountants and financial controllers to name just a few but in essence your accounts colleagues make sure that:


  • Money comes in…they send out invoices and chase up payments
  • Send money out…they pay suppliers and all of the company’s bills
  • Pay you…they pay all employees and make sure the HMRC receive their dues
  • Prepare reports…so that Directors and managers understand what’s going on
  • Maintain compliance…to make sure that your business is street-legal


Like any specialist department the way that the Accounts team delivers on these responsibilities can be complex and requires some highly qualified and talented people. But as a non-financial manager we need to work with them – it makes their job easier and it will make you a much more effective manager too. A manager who understands the P & L, the balance sheet and cash flow is already a lap a head of the manager who thinks that only the bean counters need to worry about such things. Every manager needs to understand financial reports and be able to have detailed conversations about the ‘numbers’.


But relax, you don’t need an A-level in maths. It is about being able to understand and interpret financial data for the good of your business. Every year Maguire Training put hundreds of delegates through their Finance for Non-Financial Managers programme which equips them to:


  • Measure and report financial positions
  • Assess financial performance
  • Understand cash flow
  • Read financial statements
  • Understand costs and budgeting


More advanced Maguire financial programmes will also help you to:


  • Examine capital investment decisions
  • Seek sources of business finance
  • Manage your working capital


Unwrapping the mystery of accounting is a great way to increase your effectiveness as a manager. Here are some links to help start the process:


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