When to Let Go Of An Underperforming Accountant

Every manager has dealt with an employee in their firm who doesn’t live up to expectations. You might hope every day that they give their notice and move on to another opportunity instead of restoring to a termination. But sometimes, you have to take action. There are better strategies than hoping the problem goes away. Here’s how you might be able to improve the situation or let them go.


Before you can take any other action, you must talk to the underperforming employee about the work they’re doing and what steps they can take to improve. What can happen, and often does, is that supervisors give hints about what’s expected, but if an underperforming employee doesn’t catch on, they might not be responsible for not getting the hints. Instead, communicate clearly and often about specific issues and provide a solution.

Work with Supervisors

It’s also essential that you continually reinforce training with your supervisors. When everyone is on the same page, its easier to spot issues at the core and adjust accordingly without losing major time or energy. Providing continual reinforcement of skills, values, and resources makes it difficult for an underperforming employee to say there was no solution.

Provide Mentorship

Sometimes, your underperforming employees need an additional boost. Rather than micromanaging them, consider mentoring them. Coaching and encouragement to give them an extra boost of confidence and provide them the avenue to realize their potential might be able to dig them out of the rut and improve their overall performance.

Incentivize Performance

Of course, everyone has a different set of motivators. For some, motivation comes in the form of incentives. Are there things such as bonuses or working toward additional PTO that would help them work harder and smarter in the moment. However, if none of these incentives work to encourage better productivity, it may be time to make another decision.

Document Everything

Throughout the process, ensure that you’re documenting everything. Document where this individual has fallen short of their productivity levels. Document the times you spoke to them about it and what you’ve done to correct the situation. If no solution has been found, it may be best to make the more difficult decision of letting that person go and starting over to hire someone who is a better fit for your accounting office.

Do you need to replace an accountant on your team?

Talk to NRI Accounting Staffing Agencies in DC; we have pre-screened accountants that are ready to work today.


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