Full Service Accounting vs. Cafeteria Accounting

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“Project Accountants vs. Staff Accountants”

How frustrating is it standing in line in a cafeteria, waiting for your turn to get your chicken fingers and fries…you wait, and wait, and wait…then when it is your turn, you are excited!  You get your chicken fingers and fries!  And then you have to wait in line again to get your lime Jello…ugh.  This is a great example of  “cafeteria” style staff accountants in a project based company.

Project Managers deal with the cafeteria style accounting departments on a daily basis…they need information about AP, AR, Payroll, project reports, etc. (and the list goes on)…but they have to wait to get the information from multiple sources if the company has pigeonholed staff accountants.  Sally does AP, Rick does AR, and Mary does payroll…at their own “stations”, where the Project Manager needs to take their tray and pick up the pieces of their project meal.

But who does the project reports?  Oh yeah, that is the Project Manager’s job…not just taking the information that is all there and using it to make decisions, but gathering it, compiling it, and then analyzing it…usually when it is too late.  The Project Managers become fire fighters rather than fire marshals…working hard to fix what has happened, not planning for what is up and coming.

Project accountants are the Full Service providers of the information…being responsible for all areas of the project, from AP Entry, to AR Billing, to reviewing payroll time entries/processed, budget analysis, and producing timely operational reports for project managers, in the absence of BI (Business Intelligence) dashboards/reporting.  When the Project Manager has questions about the project financials, they can simply go to one person and get all the information at one time.

Just imagine having your chicken fingers, fries, gravy, lime Jello and your drink, all at one station…wow, now that is Full Service Accounting.

BDO Solutions is a national firm with local practices throughout Canada, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Reseller of the Year in Canada for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

By Troy Kaal with BDO Solutions. Leading Canadian Microsoft Dynamics ERP & CRM Partner.

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