The word ‘downsizing’ is often accompanied by a cloud of negative connotations, but it is rarely the result of poor employee performance or leadership mismanagement. Instead, downsizing usually results from other factors like an economic slowdown, overcrowded market, plant closure, or manufacturing outsourcing. Downsizing is simply part of running a business, just like managing rapid growth, which means that leadership must plan, manage, and execute it correctly.
At the most basic level, managing downsizing requires four steps: developing selection criteria, determining how much notice to give, providing outplacement support to employees that have been let go (where applicable), and protecting employee productivity and morale among retained workers. These activities are typically considered part of HR’s purview, but downsizing has implications that trickle down into other areas of the business. There are numerous bookkeeping implications during downsizing as well.
During a recession, too many organizations try to cut costs indiscriminately. The savviest organizations, however, lean on the data to determine when to trim and when to ramp up spending to capitalize on new opportunities. A Harvard Business Review study from the 2009 recession showed that companies that strategically increased spending sooner actually weathered the downturn better. Shrewd business owners who knew when to cut and when to spend recovered lost revenue more quickly and positioned their businesses better for long-term success.
Companies that do not currently employ an accountant may be hesitant to hire one during this downturn due to the expense associated with doing so. However, some circumstances call for an experienced accountant, and a recession is one of them.
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