Accounting outsourcing is a great way to keep your overhead down, but if you’re looking to expand your firm you’re obviously going to have to hire at least one or two in-house team members. The big question is – is your firm a place that can attract (and keep) star talent on the rosters?
The work environment
Imagine yourself a neophyte accountant, fresh out of school. Or perhaps you could picture yourself as an up-and-coming star in a particular financial specialty. If you were one of these people, is your firm the kind of place you’d happily work at for the entire run of your career?
It’s true that accounting outsourcing can save you tons of money and time when it comes to hiring, but sooner or later if your firm grows you’ll want someone in house to, at the very least, act as your overseas liaison.
That means you are going to be spending that time and money at least once looking for that perfect hire. So let’s say it pays off and you find the perfect team member – can you keep them happy?
Even if you don’t care about your employees’ happiness (and you should) there’s another consideration – your firm’s culture is reflected in the way you do business with your clients. Clients will pick up on a bad in-house vibe when they deal with you or with one of your team members, and that will lose you business.
With that in mind here are 4 possible mistakes you’re making in regards to your firm’s culture.
1. You don’t have open ears.
Your people are going to have a list of interests all their own. Some may be passionate about certain charitable causes. Others might have been keeping up on a new seminar that they think could really add something to your firm. Maybe someone has been keeping an eye on all the chatter about accounting outsourcing and thinks it could really give your firm a shot of adrenaline to take it to the next level.
Whatever the case, if you’re of the mind that the only ideas that matter are your own, you’re going to miss out on some exciting opportunities for your firm. It’s not that your own interests aren’t important, it’s just that you can’t possibly be interested in everything all the time.
2. You’re not providing stability.
In order for your team to do what they want to do most – give you the best quality work they possibly can – they need to know what “best” means. If you’re inconsistent in your definition of quality, or have no definition at all, then they’re going to resent having to flail their way through their assignments without knowing if they’re going to get a pat on the back or a shellacking.
Workflow, collation for your accounting outsourcing team, dealing with clients – whatever the job, make sure your people know what will make you happiest. Document workflows. Have regular lean-and-mean meetings where your team can count on you giving them the skinny on what big goals you’re working on next, how they can best contribute, and then open the floor for a designated number of minutes to get input in return from them.
3. You don’t give or get feedback.
We mentioned in point #2 that your people need guidance in order to do the best they can when collating client info for your accounting outsourcing team (or whatever their particular task may be). The best way for them to know they’re on the right track is to have documented workflows.
These workflows (at least at the beginning) will need tweaking. So when you see something within the workflow not being done properly, get in there and fix it with your staff. They’re going to be happier making you happy.
At the same time you need feedback as well. This goes for everything from setting up the initial workflows for gathering the client info for your accounting outsourcing gang to making speeches to writing end-of-year salutations to your clients, and so on.
Not only will you finish with a better end result, but you’ll be allowing your team members to invest more in the firm itself. They’re going to be able to share in your pride when something comes up aces for your clients, and that can go a long way in helping you to retain your star talent.
4. You’re creating a culture of isolation.
Keeping along the lines of the above points, you’re hurting your firm if you keep different team members isolated from each other (possible confidentiality concerns aside).
If you’ve set your yearly goal to be the acquisition of 50 new clients (and you do have set yearly goals, right?) get everybody in on the action. Somebody in your HR team might have an awesome idea that you can use to try to attract new clients. Somebody in marketing might be able to contribute a point to your workflow that will streamline the collation process for your accounting outsourcing team that will result in a faster turnaround time, which will in turn result in happier clients.