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1. One recurring problem I have experienced in my profession is the lack of back-office support for the front-office. Most companies I have worked for in my career have been excellent at attracting talent in the sales force, but seem to miss the mark when evaluating the level of support required on the back end. For example, I worked for a company that had completed several acquisitions of smaller organizations, and immediately chose to keep the sales teams but eliminate the support roles that had overlap in the existing organization. On paper, there was a formula to determine the level of support needed for the size of the incoming portfolios, but that formula did not take into consideration many of the daily activities required to adequately service those clients. As a client-facing officer of the company, much of the servicing responsibilities would fall on me because the support staff would become quickly overwhelmed. While it was manageable most of the time, it often took me away from the relationship management and business development activities which were the primary focus in my role.

I’ve been fortunate to have established myself as a valuable member of the team whose opinion holds weight, so I have made efforts to bring this problem to light in my current organization. However, I still struggle to articulate a justification for the cost of an enhanced support staff. A potential solution I have considered, is translating the amount of additional new business that can be gained by freeing up the sales teams with adding back-office staff. I’ve also thought about how to incorporate the idea into the company’s business model and strategic objectives. It has been a priority of mine to understand the company’s financials in order to realize how staffing affects the bottom line.

2. In my work as an accountant in the administration and finance department of the Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, it drives me crazy that we are so behind with “going green” and that we are still using the “old-fashioned” paper billing. It impacts my work big time, slows me down and makes it difficult to find account information that I need in order to do my job. I often have to search through piles of hard-copy documents that are not stored in the computer. My boss doesn’t want better technology because he’s old-school and wants to stay in his comfort zone, even though staff in my department keeps bringing it up about “going green.” Even the state comptroller’s office is encouraging our office to go green.

My proposal would be for us to go paperless as much as possible in the office. For example, we currently use paper-based methods for all invoicing, accounts payable and receivable, and correspondence. We could convert to an electronic-based system using secure, encrypted emails. This also has been a popular request from our customers, who want to pay using online methods rather than mailing in checks. This would be a great way for us to offer them options.

Since we are working from home as a result of the current pandemic, it would also be better if we could use paperless accounting methods. This would be cost-effective, and nobody would have to physically go into the office to retrieve invoices, checks, and so on. My boss now realizes he has to face the fact that it is time for him to accept this proposal. He asked me to be the lead for this project, which I’m very excited about.

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