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Dealertrack DMS’s Michael Panozzo on how to best empower your accounting department

While auto dealerships are constantly looking for new ways to become more profitable, they rarely focus on the potential—and all too often underutilized contributions of their accounting teams. Traditionally, management has either been too busy to be bothered or reluctant to make changes to a department they trust is working effectively.

Today’s guest says that missing training opportunities or recognizing objections to accounting progress can lead to easily avoidable problems. He says that profitability and profit retention go hand-in-hand with an empowered and efficient accounting department. To tell us more, we welcome Michael Panozzo, Senior Manager of Performance Management, Dealertrack DMS.

Change is scary says, Panozzo. We all consider the change to result in the desired outcome. It’s difficult to embrace the process of change. He says empowering our people and helping them realize their true potential, is the key to moving them forward and improving the dealership process. It also improves their job satisfaction overall.

Panozzo says the reason why management or leadership may not begin this process is because they are busy. The second factor is, they get the job done. He says, so it’s difficult to make the decision to change. Finally, they push back on new technology. Panozzo asks the question, what are we doing as leaders in the dealership to bring in tools that will make their work more fulfilling? If leadership takes these factors into account and finds ways to solve them, we take a giant leap to improve operations.

Related: Why management training can make or break your car dealership – David Lewis

emailVirtually like any other business, the past 18 months have put a lot of stress on dealerships. In response, many dealerships have added tools and processes that have improved communication across departments. Panozzo says now is the time to focus on the team that provides critical information and insights to the decision-making.

The accounting office is their navigation center for our dealership says, Panozzo. It allows them to see where they’re going in the future. It also helps them understand where they’re at currently or where they have been in the past. He says when they have a better understanding of their roles and how they play an integral part in a dealership’s success on so many levels, it becomes empowering.

Panozzo says the first thing he looks at is inclusion. Include accounting offices in initiatives, contests and other dealer events. He says their staff has valuable insight along with great experience and expertise. He says to also emphasize ongoing training for the accounting department. This is an outstanding opportunity for us to include our accounting offices in the initiatives that we have going forward and set the goals and objects in 2022, says Panozzo.


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