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March 19, 2024
Min Read

The First Day, Week, and Two Months: How to Seamlessly Onboard Your New Accounting Team Member

Share your month-end close checklist, accounting policies, and create a welcome pack. Dive into how you can nail onboarding for your new accounting hire.

Parker Gilbert
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Did you hear about the new accountant who took a break to move her car? Well, she got in it and never returned. 

Accounting employees are more demanding than ever and in short supply. The result? Retaining talent is a challenge. While several factors determine how well you retain talent, it undoubtedly begins with a smooth onboarding experience.

Career advice platform Zippia’s research shows that companies with smooth onboarding boost retention and productivity. This makes sense intuitively. After all, onboarding is where your new employee forms an early impression of your company.

Here’s how to smoothly onboard your new accounting team members and avoid them yearning for the parking lot.

Download our new accounting hire onboarding checklist here.

Begin Before Their First Day

Onboarding begins before your new accountant arrives at the office (or on Zoom). Prepare beforehand, and you'll make sure their first day goes smoothly. 

The tasks below help you orchestrate a smooth first day for your new employee—critical when you're scaling your accounting team:

  • Create a welcome pack
  • Create a schedule for the first day and week

Let's dive into these.

Create A Welcome Pack

Your new employee will get lost in a sea of acronyms, names, and processes on their first day. Help them out by creating a welcome pack that puts them at ease.

A few essential items you must include in your welcome pack are:

  • A who's who - A list of important people and titles connected to the new team member's role.
  • A list of systems - The accounting tech stack they'll work on with a description of what each platform does. Make sure you work with your technology department to grant them login IDs.
  • An onboarding buddy - A coworker who can check in weekly over their first few months to help with processes and general company know-how. 
  • A first week schedule - A roadmap of their first week which we’ll dive into below. 

Create a Schedule and Onboarding Checklist for the First Day and Week

From onboarding to team introductions and software training, your new employee can feel dizzy on the first day. Ease them into the company by creating a clear schedule for their first day.

You can extend this planning to a week, with your planned schedule becoming less rigid toward the end of the week. Before preparing a schedule, list the tasks you would like them to complete, such as:

  • The people they should meet
  • The software they should set-up
  • The company-wide training they must begin. You can house this in your Human Resources Information System (HRIS.)
  • The shadowing sessions you’d like them to complete with coworkers with overlapping responsibilities  

Plan the First Week

As much as you would like it, you cannot ramp up a new teammate in one day. Their first week is a great opportunity to integrate them into your workflow as quickly as possible.

Here are a few ways for you to achieve this goal:

  • Host a welcome call
  • Share your month-end close checklist
  • Share your relevant accounting policies
  • Catch up at the end of the first week

Let's look at these in turn.

Host a Welcome Call

The first day is an important one for your new employee. They will form impressions of your suitability as an employer—impressions that will last for a long time.

Welcome them with a call or an in-person meeting to walk them through their tasks and onboarding checklists. Introduce them to their schedule and answer all questions they have.

Introduce your new accounting employee to the rest of your team. Explain their background and qualifications and the role they will play. This is a chance for your new hire to match faces and names from their welcome pack to people.

Keep this meeting concise and encourage your new hire to schedule one-on-one calls with everyone else to get to know them better.

Share Your Month-end Close Checklist

Passing along to your month-end close checklist to new team members should allow them to quickly get up to speed on the components of the close they are responsible for. 

Add videos of involved tasks. Use numbered steps to outline processes. By investing up front in your close checklist, you’ll streamline onboarding for new hires and add visibility to your close. 

Task description for a task item "Post interest transactions manually in investment account"
Context on a month-end close task in Numeric

For example, leverages Numeric to tag videos to close checklist steps, giving new hires additional context.

“Numeric has been extraordinarily valuable with managing team changes," says Mary Caiello, former Senior Accountant at "Team members have been able to pin walkthrough videos of how to actually do each task while adding detailed descriptions in the product, which has been extremely, extremely helpful.”

Onboard easily and close faster with Numeric

Get Started for Free

Share Your Accounting Policies

Sharing relevant accounting policies can also ensure new team members get up to speed quickly. Processes like revenue recognition and doubtful accounts/bad debt allowance obviously have nuances across companies. Before creating onboarding specific documentation, consider simply leveraging existing policy documentation to get new accountants the context they need. 

Jake Liebersohn, Senior Manager Finance and Accounting at Thoropass (formerly Laika,) believes sharing established processes helps immensely in this context. "Onboarding new employees onto the accounting team is much easier now as we have a standardized process, and they can easily look back at what was submitted in the months prior to them joining," he says

Catch up at the End of the Week

New accountants have plenty of information to learn before they get up to speed. While most of the first week is spent in training or HR-related activities, catching up with your new employee and gathering feedback is critical.

Ask them if they faced issues, review their training progress, and confirm how often they want to check in with you. The weekly check in call is a good opportunity to set the tone for the following week.

Ramp-Up During the First Two Months

Your new accounting team member will most likely begin walking during the second week (figuratively speaking,) but they will not be ready to run yet. 

By leaning on your process checklists during the first month, you can get them up to speed faster. Here are some tasks that reduce ramp-up times for new accounting hires:

  • Share financial reporting
  • Run mock scenarios
  • Have them pick a mentor
  • Hold a Close post-mortem

Let's look at these in more detail.

Share Financial Reporting

Your new accountant’s work will likely roll up into several reporting deliverables. Give them this broader context by sharing and providing commentary on any relevant reports. 

In addition, make an introduction early to your FP&A team and their needs to prevent any misunderstandings. Clarify FP&A’s deadlines and what dependencies exist between accounting and FP&A.

Offering this context will help your new accountant create efficiencies in their own work, without constantly leaning on you for clarification. And they’ll ideally understand the impact of their work when zooming out to the bigger picture.

Run Mock Scenarios

Have your new employee run a mock scenario on your accounting software during their first few weeks. Your objective here is to verify whether any gaps in their knowledge exist and address them.

Running mock scenarios and reviewing progress helps your new employee understand your expectations and work toward meeting them.

Have Them Pick a Mentor

One of the best ways of retaining talent is to demonstrate your commitment to enhancing your employees' careers. You'll offer your new accountant a way to create a career vision for themselves by having them pick a mentor.

This mentor—a person in a senior position in your financial department—can guide your new hire regarding internal processes and give them a view of the bigger picture.

Your new accounting team member will appreciate these insights, making them more likely to stick with you as they progress in their career.

Research bears this out:

Pair your new employees with a mentor and show them you care. They'll likely stick around and lead your company forward.

Hold a Close Post-Mortem

Your new accounting team member will likely take part in their first month-end close by the end of their first or second month. 

Hold a post-mortem after their first close to understand whether any gaps exist. The close is a hectic time and they might have additional questions after running through their first iteration. 

The post-mortem is also a chance to get fresh eyes on your process. What best practices have they seen in prior roles that may make sense to implement here? Could their role in the close use some optimization? 

Your new team member can offer you insights from their past experiences, helping you design a more efficient process.

Smooth Onboarding is the Key to Retaining Talent

Accountants are more scarce than ever, and companies are finding employee retention challenging. Instead of creating a culture of paranoia (as some large companies are doing,) stand out in the marketplace by creating a smooth onboarding process.

You'll build trust, create transparent communication paths, and retain top talent over the long term.

And if you're looking for accounting software that consolidates your month-end close process and workflows in one place to help new team members ramp up quickly, check out Numeric.

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