What is in this article?:
- Accounting for Non-Accountants
- Biggest Concerns of Non-Accountants
If the accounting profession is to address the concerns of non-accountants, it needs to teach the subject in a way that focuses on those professionals and their concerns.
Biggest Concerns of Non-Accountants
So, what questions do non-accountants have? Most high-level executives that I have discussed this issue with typically name the following areas as their biggest concerns:
• The organization’s efficiency;
• Control of costs;
• Liquidity and ability to service debts in a timely way;
• Effectiveness of initial investments or additional funds to encourage growth;
• A fascination and fear of ratios and their purpose.
The needs may change slightly depending on the industry, but this list covers the gamut of concerns.
Taking a Dashboard Approach
If the accounting profession is to address the concerns of non-accountants, it needs to teach the subject in a way that focuses on those professionals and their concerns. One of the ways is to create a standard dashboard of key reports and an approach to teaching executives how to read and analyze them. The focus should be on in-depth reviews of the four basic financial statements and their elements.
Once the non-accountants start becoming familiar with the different reports, they can begin to focus on key elements within each report and how the statements interconnect and affect each other. For example, if efficiency and liquidity are key concerns, prepare the dashboard reports to address those issues and review how to interpret reports with a focus on those concerns. If these reports are on-point and non-accountants perceive an inherent value in them, they are certain to become more eager to learn targeted accounting knowledge that helps them to interpret these valuable, strategic documents.
Regardless of your approach, the first and most important step is to lower the fear of the unknown for non-accountants, giving them the confidence and skill to interpret basic accounting documents and make decisions that bring significant value to the organization.
Manuel V. Sicre has more than 36 years of experience in the banking, lending and healthcare industry. He has worked as a financial consultant and is an adjunct accounting lecturer at the University of Miami.