The Biggest Mistakes Accountants Make - an Overview


Cost for BPP PD Members: £435 + VAT 6 CPD Hours
(£624.00 + VAT for non BPP PD Members Click Here for details of our membership scheme).

From leadership to budgets and forecasts, accountants trip into common pitfalls that make us less effective and distract us from focusing on the truly valuable.

Changing your focus from cost to value-add is essential for CFOs and financially aware CEOs. This is key to meeting the increasing demands on companies who need to better align their strategic initiatives with the resources required to meet them. In simple terms we need to get better at achieving financial goals through learning to focus on the vital.


CFOs, financially aware CEOs, financial controllers and management accountants who aspire to be better business partners within their organisation.
This comprehensive course will provide CFOs and CEOs with valuable management insights plus new perspectives and skills in organisational leadership. It will also benefit finance managers and management accountants by not only giving them actions which they can take in their current roles, but also introducing them to leadership skills which will support their future career growth.


Budgets and forecasting

We establish the strategic aims of setting budgets and forecasts and critique common practices and mistakes regularly made.
We then discuss how to improve the budget and forecast process, not only its efficiency but also, more fundamentally, by ensuring that delivering on its budget will enable the organisation to meet its strategic aims.
We consider:

  • setting budgets from the budget holders viewpoint
  • engagement, roles and responsibilities
  • managing the process as an annual repeatable event, with the same common assumptions.
Big mistakes we uncover include…
  • treating the budget as a process not as a strategy.
Leadership and strategy

It is accepted that accountants can influence the direction of the organisation but can we do it better? What common mistakes do accountants make because of focusing on the finances rather than on performance?
In this section we investigate:

  • miscommunication
  • performance management
Big mistakes we uncover include…
  • setting unachievable targets
  • creating sticks without carrots.
Governance and control

Accountants are often seen as the company's gate keepers but how have we become gate keepers and should we not rather be aspiring to becoming enablers?
We look at the common mistakes made in developing financial processes and controls. These can not only safeguard the finances but also impose rigid organisational controls. In many cases these controls don’t change with the organisation and so inevitably become barriers to performance.
We review standard controls, processes and reporting, challenge the impact of these on the organisation and aim to answer the question ‘can more be done for less?’
Big mistakes we uncover include…

  • setting too many levels of approval for investment
  • creating tight controls on expenses that suffocate sales growth.
Management of data and information

Big data challenges accountants, both in terms of the resources required to support ever increasing levels of information and also in identifying which information we actually need and which common data sets are simply distractions.
In this final and extremely valuable section we examine the explosion in excel spreadsheets, IT use, business intelligence tools, data warehouses and data ‘mines’ and discover how what we can have has distracted us from what we need.
Big mistakes we uncover include…

  • writing specifications based on what we currently do
  • requesting too much because we believe it is our only chance to capture everything.

Learning Outcomes

During this course you will develop the skills to:
  • identify what diverts attention and therefore finance resources and focus on core business requirements
  • develop a strategic approach to planning and monitoring your budget and forecasts
  • change the way you interact with colleagues, and motivate the organisation to improve performance with greater efficiency
  • improve your decision making and choices regarding cost and control, which will add value to the organisation
  • gain insight into how the finance function can better involve itself and participate as a team member rather than a controller.

"A CPD certificate of completion will be provided by BPP Professional Education Limited upon request, following attendance."

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