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)
- 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.