Generally an accounting practice begins with just the accountant who can do the majority of the work alone. However, as the practice begins to grow you may consider hiring support staff that will enable you to complete more billable hours while the employees perform the more menial tasks. Whether you choose to hire one additional employee or several, how do you know when your business is ready? And then, how do you prepare to hire the right applicant? Here’s a worksheet that might help:
Is Your Business Ready?
3 Questions to Ask
1. Can current cash flow sustain a new employee?
Are you making enough money to actually pay an additional employee? Obviously you’re hoping that with some help you could earn even more money. But if your current cash flow doesn’t provide the wiggle room necessary to add someone to your payroll, you may consider increasing your clientele before you increase your staff.
2. Does your current work load require additional help?
The last thing you want to do is hire someone when you don’t have enough work to keep them busy. If you and/or your current staff is collectively managing a workload that could keep another person busy, then you should consider hiring additional help. Also, if your personal life is suffering as a result of overtime, you should consider lightening your own load by hiring someone to share that burden. Otherwise we suggest waiting until your workload justifies the additional help.
3. Is your current need for help long-term or temporary?
As you question your current need for help, you should remember that a full-time, long-term employee will still be on your payroll when your practice hits a yearly slump or encounters a lull in business. Is a temporary employee more practical? It’s easier to make a temporary employee permanent than it is to make a permanent employee temporary.
Preparing to Hire the Right Applicant
Once you determine the need to hire an employee, it’s important that you do some work upfront to ensure that you hire the right applicant. Here are five important tips you should consider as you begin your search:
1. Write a job description
Before you start looking for applicants you need to know which skills you need. Write down all the tasks this employee will perform. Focus on the verbs. Do these skills require experience? If not, what characteristics would the employee need in order to acquire those skills? Be specific. The only way you can hire the right person is if you know exactly what your business requires (tune in next week when we’ll discuss what to look for in your applicants).
2. Get the word out
Inform professionals in your network about your opening; they may know of skilled individuals looking for a good position. Also consider job placement services, especially if you’re looking for applicants with a specific skill set. The want ads and job boards are also a good way to publicize your opening.
3. Develop informative interview questions
Good interview questions will enable you to find the right person to fill your position. Consider questions that will help you learn of past performance while determining problem-solving ability, work preferences and future career goals. All these things can inform your decision. And in order to fairly weigh one candidate against the next, you must ask all applicants the same questions.
Note: Be careful! It is illegal to ask candidates anything discriminatory. Avoid all questions that address the following: race, color, gender, sexual preferences, religion, national origin, birthplace, age, disability, marital/family status.
4. Check references and perform background checks
Why ask for references if you don’t check them? I’ve heard countless stories of references who shared crucial information about a candidate’s true nature in a job environment that either foiled his/her chances or sealed the deal. Either way, references can provide you with more information on which to base your final decision. And background checks can also be informative, telling you which candidates may threaten the livelihood of your business.
5. Listen to your gut
Often a gut instinct will tell you which applicants are a good match and which would be bad for business. Don’t rule those feelings out, but consider them as you make your final decision, as well as the applicants’ skills and experience.
Return next week when we’ll share what you should look for in your applicants.
The Universal Practice Builder Program Can Help Your Business Sustain a Support Staff
Everyone wants their business to grow and make more money. If you’re concerned that your business isn’t yet big enough to justify adding employees to your payroll, you should first attempt to increase both your clientele and your bottom line. The Universal Practice Builder (UPB) Program is guaranteed to help:“If, after following the steps of the Universal Practice Builder for 12 months, you do not have an increase of more than $30,000 in annualized billings, then simply return all materials given and we will refund all monies paid.”
Talk about a risk-free venture!
In addition to the above guarantee, here’s a sampling of what you will gain from enrolling in this phenomenal program:
- The skills to become a Profit Expert for each of your clients
- 12 marketing strategies that you can implement immediately
- A process which can produce 15 to 25 qualified leads per month
- 3 months of coaching via telephone and Internet
- Training on a computerized database tracking program
- A presentation DVD to show potential clients
- Training to use QuickBooks to attract more clients
- Access to a plan proven to help retain clients
If you’re looking to grow your practice so that it can sustain a support staff that will enable you to further increase your cash flow, enroll in the UPB today. It guarantees a bright and lucrative future for your business!