Did you know that, on average, accountants, accounting firm owners and partners spend 1 to 2 hours per day doing non-revenue-generating tasks?
That is 400 hours of possible billable hours per year! Let that sink in for a moment.
Your firm is actually losing revenue because of the cumulative effect of you doing numerous miniscule tasks each day. That’s reading and replying to emails, taking and making calls, managing calendars, attending to paperwork, and other administrative tasks that you shouldn’t actually be doing.
There is an obvious solution which is oftentimes unnoticed – hire an Executive Assistant (EA)!
Jack Daly, sales and management coach to CEOs worldwide with 30+ years of field-proven experience that started with CPA firm, Arthur Andersen, says:
“If you don’t have an EA, then you are one!”
So how do you know that you need an EA? Here are the five telltale signs:
1 – You are not enjoying what you are doing.
If you wake up each day dreading to get to your firm, there’s clearly something wrong. Remember those days when doing what you do brings a smile to your face? If what was once a gratifying experience has become literal torment, then you need to do something about it. You need to hire a dedicated EA to do the “dirty work” as it may – the stuff you don’t enjoy doing.
The truth of the matter is accounting and/or running an accounting firm is a very demanding job and everyone has a breaking point. Many accounting firms end up closing down because of burnout. By hiring an EA to be your bona-fide right hand will, in a sense, help alleviate the stress that comes with the job. Then, perhaps your work can once again be the fulfilling experience it once was.
2 – You are buried in emails.
See that number on your inbox? The one that says how many unopened emails you have left? If you can’t seem to get that number down or totally get rid of it, then you know you need an EA. You need someone to actually fix your inbox. A good EA will read and reply for you but a great EA will actually organise and optimise your inbox.
To be effective at your job, you should only work on filtered emails. These are stuff that absolutely need you to be the one to go over them and reply. If your EA did the job right, you should only be going through around 15 filtered emails a day. It is then and only then that emails will no longer be the bane of your existence.
3 – You spend more time being reactive, not proactive.
Rob Nixon, accounting business mentor, coach, and facilitator to hundreds of firms across the globe says:
“It’s time to act more like a proactive business than a reactive practice. You’ve got a business to run and a client base to lead.”
Doing things just to get them done isn’t the way to grow your accounting business. You have to have to stop working IN your business and start working ON it. But where do you find time? Hire an EA to do the work that you shouldn’t be doing. That’s how you clear up your clock to focus on running your business the way it should be run.
4 – You are always rushing, unprepared, and late for key appointments.
If each day feels like you’re always going from zero to a hundred miles an hour in no time flat, you’re doomed! Nothing will get done with as much attention to detail as you or anyone you’re working with would want. Always being in a hurry doesn’t actually get things done faster. More times than not, you end up making mistakes and, in your effort to recover, you’re actually in catch-up mode the rest of the way.
When it’s with your team, it is perhaps a little bit more forgivable. But, when it comes to your clients, you’ve got to be on your A-game. You can’t be late to or, even worse, miss meetings. You can’t not answer their important calls or emails. This is where a great EA can come in and actually get you and your calendar up to speed. Nick Sinclair, Chairman of The Outsourced Accountant, has his calendar managed by his EA up to 18 months ahead. Can you imagine that?
5 – You are not spending enough time with clients.
For your accounting business to hit the profit margins you want, you need time to go out and talk to clients. We’ve established that hiring an EA will give you the time you need to do the things you want.
So go and get existing clients to buy all the services that you have on offer. If the rest of your services portfolio do not fit their needs, find out what do and develop the services to match those needs. Adding more value to the run-of-the-mill compliance and tax services will ensure that they stay in your stead.
Of course, happy clients will do the marketing for you. Word of mouth is a powerful thing for your business. Not only will satisfied clients keep buying services from you and pay you on time, they will actually bring potential clients to your doorstep. Your existing clients will now be your veritable lead generation engines.
Now is the time to ask yourself: Am I experiencing these signs? If you are, it’s high time you hire a dedicated Executive Assistant. The positive impact that an EA creates for your business and, most importantly, for yourself is massive. The ball is now in your court. Are you willing to continue the daily struggle or are you ready to grow your business and achieve true work-life balance? You decide.
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