For the small business owner it is always a question of when to get something or when not to get something for the business. As an Accounting Business we may be more keenly aware on how our business is doing and if we can or cannot afford to move on a piece of equipment or some additional help around the office. When it comes to getting additional help you must be sure that the business is ready for it, so that you can make the new position pay for itself.
Planning is Key
As a business owner, on a limited budget and little or no access to working capital (especially in the first stages of your business) you need to be able to plan out how you would like to grow your business. By setting the goals, milestones, and criteria that is needed that would signify the achieving of the milestones and goals is an essential way you can avoid many of the growing pains you hear from other business owners. With proper planning you can go around the pitfalls, or missteps that plague those who fail to plan and move on someone or something before their business is ready for it. When you plan and work to accomplishing that plan, you can then clearly see the overall situation, and act accordingly. And when it comes to hiring and personnel this is invaluable in keeping your business profitable.
Pain & Necessity vs. Comfort & Luxury
There’s no doubt about it, having another hand around to be able to lighten your work load would be nice. Perhaps the fantasies and wishful thinking of that type of an expansion could get the best of us, who are in business for ourselves, and if we don’t plan out what / who we need when we need them. It can be very easy to get ahead of ourselves. I have seen it with many businesses that because they have landed a new account or “feel” like it’s time to move forward on acquiring personnel and equipment they over extend themselves and have to turn around and make the harder decisions later. The pain and necessity you feel now when you are diligently working to increase your business billable hours, clients and accounts and the hours you are spending to bring in the “bacon” needs to be measured against the comfort you would feel building your business with someone else helping to bear the work load and the luxury of being in that position. You have to gauge this Need vs. Luxury closely according to the plan you created before the need arose. Is it worth going another month, 3 months, 6 months etc. going full boar by yourself to build profits and capital? Or would you be able to better accomplish your goals and milestones for growth when you are freed to bring in the accounts and share in the write up duties?
A Side Note: Inaction on this is also a decision, when you fail to act on the need and do nothing about it you risk peaking out the business, the quality customer service you are providing and burn out becomes a real concern for both you and those clients you have. No matter how you do things, the day will come when you have to ask, “Am I at that point where the decision to bring someone on board needs to be made?” When you are able to follow the plan you set out, then those decisions will become easier to make.
So You’ve Decided to Hire
You have weighed the options, looked at your criteria and found that you’re ready to hire someone to help you. What else do you need to consider? best way of doing this is to take it from the perspective of the person you’ll hire. First of all, what is the job description? What am I expected to do? What do they need to perform the job? Questions like these will help you to transition smoothly the person you hire into the work flow you’ve already established. Consider and plan for the equipment this person will need to perform his/her duties. Will they need a computer? Will they need a printer? What else would they need?
What training are you going to need to perform with the new hire? Is it the case you hire someone just starting out and has a “clean slate” on how to do accounting and bookkeeping or do you hire someone with previous years of experience? (More on this later in the article.)
The support you will need to provide to your new employee. Not speaking about the health insurance, or 401K benefits – for most of us those things may be further down your Growth Road. What I’m talking about is the communication with the new hire on the accounts, the clientele, the procedures, and the issues of quality assurance so that the customers you have now will not feel the bumps of change within your company.
The Bootstrap Hire Process
More likely than not, when you put out the “For Hire” sign you won’t get former CFO’s and CPA’s knocking down your door for an interview. And frankly, you don’t want someone that demands more money than you to do the job. Because you don’t have many of the fringe benefits more established companies may have to offer, you need to get creative in the hiring process.
For instance, determine the level of experience you need for the position. Can you hire someone brand new to the industry and spend the time in training? Is it a question of getting someone experienced but only on a part time basis to start? When you are creative in the hiring process you’ll be able to find those people, the gems in the rough, that will make the positive effect on your accounting business.
Consider the aging population among us. Many who have done this type of work and have “retired” may be looking for a way to be able to gain that extra money they lost during the busts in their retirement plans. Or perhaps they can fill some time from the front porch rocker in assisting with the duties called for in the accounts you have. Truly, what we are doing is not digging ditches or running marathons, the older among us are a wonderful well-spring to tap for our open position.
Consider the student or the intern. Many universities and colleges are requiring their accounting students to do internships. They are an excellent way to be able to get those tasks done that may fall in the category of minutae, while giving them a worthwhile experience and improving the company’s bottom line. Those who are eager to learn can be the best for a business, so you can train them the right way of doing things in small business accounting.
Consider the disabled, military and their families, stay-at-home-moms, and your own teenagers. With the proper training anyone can be a good bookkeeper. And especially when you consider how much you are able to pay and the time it takes to do the books for each account, maybe a stay-at-home-mom who can dedicate 4 hours a day is the right solution for you.
When you are on a budget, creativity gets the extra “gold star on the forehead”. You need to consider the options of the hiring process and your readiness to bring another person on board. When you have, and its truly time to hire, don’t think the box is rectangular by any means, you can find the solution that best suits you, your accounting business, and the goals and growth you have set for it.
To get more principles on the Accounting business and to get you business set up right, click here to find out more of what’s involved in the Professional Bookkeeper’s Program.