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At some point in time, managers are faced with the need to delegate authority or delegate decision-making powers to subordinates within an organization. Delegation refers to the process of entrusting lower-level employees with the responsibility to perform a set of tasks. Delegation is an antonym for micromanagement whereby the manager has complete authority and monitors employees in their chain of command, exercising scrutiny. No decision-making authority is ever passed down to subordinates in any way in this type of management. For instance, in business accounting, bookkeeping is an intricate process that requires an eye for detail to ensure that no information is left uncatered for and there is the minimum to zero chance of error. The tedious nature of the task calls for the need to delegate decision-making as the manager alone cannot look into each process manually.  In addition to wastage of time, this task is subject to changing regulations in the accounting framework. Hence, employees that are closer to the action tend to be more informed regarding any and all changes to the accounting/bookkeeping policies and framework and can incorporate these wherever and whenever required.

Delegation requires passing down decision-making powers. This must be done effectively, considering the amount of responsibility that comes with it. In order to delegate decision-making in a more effective and seamless manner, a checklist has been given below:

1. Choose Wisely

Based on the nature of the task being delegated, ensure that the person chosen for the task is the right one. This will require assessment of their various skills and capabilities for the task at hand. When selecting a person from a group, make sure the one with the best skills is handpicked and given additional responsibilities. Spend sufficient time analyzing and evaluating different employees and choose your decision-making team wisely.

2. Communicate Goals and Expectations

The next step is to clearly communicate work goals and its various requirements to the selected individual. It is essential to ensure that the budget, context, time duration and other necessary information is communicated to the employee for him/her to carry out the decision-making process in the most efficient manner. In addition to this, when you delegate decision-making to subordinates, it is understood that your expectations for them is also laid out. These expectations are to be fulfilled by the employee and they must direct their goals towards meeting these set expectations.

3. Confirm Understanding

In order to smoothly delegate decision-making, once the relevant and necessary information has been passed onto the employee, make sure to inquire from the person whether they understand completely or not. Without such assurance, the employee could end up using the authority in an incorrect manner. To avoid a situation such as this, it is crucial that a set of questions regarding the assigned task or process must be asked from the employee to check their understanding of everything that was conveyed to them. If there are any further clarifications or explanations needed, these must be delivered at this stage of the process to avoid potential mistakes at a later stage.

4. Ensure Accountability

Whenever managers delegate decision-making to their subordinates, an essential step that they tend to miss out on is the assurance of accountability that falls onto the subordinate. This can be accomplished by keeping the communication lines open on both sides. This ensures that the employee reports to the manager regarding essential deadlines and status of the assigned tasks. Delegation requires the selected individual to take full responsibility for the assigned decision-making power. A lack of accountability may work for employees that fall under the micromanagement umbrella, but, for those delegated with authority, this becomes detrimental and could impact their performance.

5. Continue to Monitor

Lastly, in order to delegate decision-making in a seamless manner, constant monitoring is symbolic of effective delegation and the carrying out of the delegated tasks. This monitoring is different from micromanagement as it calls for assessing the work metrics once the work is finished or whenever necessary. The employee should not be constantly bothered during the mission, but an informal discussion to get an update on the status of the work proves helpful.


With these 5 easy steps, managers can smoothly delegate decision-making powers to subordinates without having to regret their decision of doing so later. A little caution is always better at the initial stage of any and all processes.

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About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual accounting, providing services to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks file and critical financial documents in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of  US based accounting professionals are certified QuickBooksTMProAdvisor’s providing bookkeeping and controller services including training, full or partial-service bookkeeping, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, vendor and receivables management, process and controls advisement, and customized reporting. Offering flat rate pricing, Complete Controller is the most cost effective expert accounting solution for business, family office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.




delegation - Complete Controller

I am the CEO of a small business, and learning the art of delegation has proven to be the most critical lesson to my company’s growth, workplace satisfaction, and work product standardization.

What was the best advice you’ve gotten about delegating work? I was mentored by an executive at the Coca Cola corporation who taught me that, to grow my business into a national brand, I must create a reliable and consistent experience for the end-user. Why are customers loyal to Coke? They are loyal because they like it. Naturally, they expect it to be the same every time they buy it. They would be disappointed if it weren’t. I had to handle my brand the same way. But how was I to grow my small bookkeeping business with three bookkeepers and 30 clients into a national brand that delivered a reliable product and service? By delegating the work to the team and making it easy to duplicate. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

What made it so valuable? When I fully adopted her way of thinking, it made my refusal of non-conforming clients easy. Instead of trying to change our processes to meet their needs, I was able to tell them that I did not believe we would be able to meet their needs. Thereby eliminating any clients that were looking to run the show themselves, deviate from our established standards for quality, or make demands that caused us to be inefficient. That left me with a client base that valued our service and was pleased to work with us. It also helped me to define for our sales team what we do and what product our clients can expect when they engage us. This training on the sales side helped us to avoid unfit clients in the future. Now we were ready to grow….but how was I going to teach all those Bookkeepers how I wanted the work done? I couldn’t do it one at a time, so I created precise instruction sets that were combined to become our operating manuals for the positions within our organization. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

How would you rate your ability to delegate? Why? My ability to delegate is excellent. I think a major hurdle to delegation is the idea that ‘I can do it better and faster, so I may as well get it done.’ Of course, you can, but that is a self-defeating and task-oriented mentality. What happens when that same situation arises again – as surely it will repeat itself if your department or company is growing – and this time you don’t have the bandwidth to get it done? Now you have become the problem – not the solution. I always suggest my managers do everything at least once, so they can understand the concepts and steps involved in any given task. Once they know it, they need to create an instruction set and delegate the task. When we delegate, we either record it in a manual or instruction set or record the training in video format, which can be shared with anyone who needs to do that task in the future. Yes, this takes a lot more time than doing it yourself but is much better for the team and the company.

What do you wish you could improve about your delegation skills? I need to be careful to express the ‘why’ as well as the ‘how’ when I delegate a task. I find that if I explain the purpose behind the task, team members will carry the torch and be more studious about quality and timeliness. They take ownership of it, and often they will improve upon the instructions to make the task more efficient or find overlap benefits in other areas. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers

What do you have trouble with? What have the consequences been? Since ours is a small business, I have the propensity to wear all the hats. I want to know what’s going on in every area and I want to learn about each facet before I decide who is best for the job. The cure for this is to remember that I have qualified, intelligent, dedicated staff members on the team, and they want what’s best for the company as well. When I resist the urge to be involved and instead delegate the learning curve and team selection decision to someone else, the flow begins again, and we can move forward on more fronts than ever before.

How do you choose the right person to whom to delegate a task? One of the keys to delegation is the creation of Quality Control checks that allow you to decide if the work is completed properly and on time. Good, strong QC checks will help you avoid a culture of micro-management. I will typically choose the person who can do the task most efficiently, and then I will select another person to whom they have to be accountable. The accountability partner receives data from the task performer, and the sign that something is amiss is the absence of communication or data. In this passive role, that person can oversee a multitude of tasks and offer support when and where needed to get something back on track.

Once you build the processes and QC stops for each position, delegation is not a problem, and the future growth of a department or business is reliant on adding new clients and new team members.

Check out America's Best Bookkeepers About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud-hosted desktop where their entire team and tax accountant may access the QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools in an efficient and secure environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity. Check out America's Best Bookkeepers