RKL: Follow These Steps to Mitigate the Loss of a Key Accounting Professional

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Amid the so-called Great Resignation, many employers are experiencing the disruption and shock of losing employees. A two-week notice can be especially challenging when it comes from a team member in your accounting or finance department. Before searching for a replacement, make sure to prioritize these internal housekeeping items and procedures. We created this guide to help employers ensure a smooth transition for an unexpected staff departure.

Before the employee’s last day:

  • Collect login information for all systems and websites (including payroll/accounting systems, online banking, tax portals)
  • Test all of the login credentials
  • Transfer system access and login information as soon as possible after the last day
  • Evaluate nature and extent of contact with key relationships (vendors, customers, bankers, brokers, etc.)
  • Proactively reach out with an interim or new, permanent point of contact

What to triage and prioritize:

  • Identify and document processes that involve the departing employee
  • Prioritize critical processes that must continue despite departure (i.e., accounts payable, payroll, customer billing)
  • Establish a timeline for milestone tasks
  • Reassign responsibilities to help minimize the risks of errors, late payments or missed billings
  • Next, focus on financial reporting tasks (i.e., month-end close, account reconciliation, financial statement preparation)

After departure:

  • Monitor former employee email account for 90 days (should be assigned to supervisory team member)
  • Scan the employee’s hard drive
  • Move all files to a central location for subsequent review
  • Cross-train accounting and finance staff and document processes to minimize future disruptions

Following these steps not only helps employers survive the loss of a key accounting professional; it can also reveal the effectiveness of current accounting processes. It may be time to consider alternatives to in-house accounting staff. Outsourcing all or even just part of the accounting process can reduce the cost and disruption of employee departures with access to highly skilled professionals and best-in-class financial management solutions. Ready to learn more about possible benefits to your organization? Contact RKL’s Financial Management Solutions team.


Amanda Miller, CPA, is a Consultant with the Financial Management Solutions Practice of RKL, which has an office in the Exton Corporate Center. She provides outsourced accounting and financial reporting support for companies in a variety of industries and helps them strengthen and improve processes.