With our Ignite 2018 Roadshow in the history books, Nick Sinclair, Chairman of The Outsourced Accountant, held a webinar which discussed the key strategies taken up during the events that can help accountants, bookkeepers, accounting firm owners and partners build thriving businesses. The webinar revolved around how you can futureproof your workforce to ensure that you achieve sustainable growth. Here are snippets of what was discussed:
One of the biggest challenges accounting firms face is getting, growing, and keeping the best people that the industry has to offer – the A-players. But before you can attract the cream of the crop, you need to have the answers to two key questions:
1 – How does your business look from the outside?
Right from the get-go, your initial value proposition is how appealing your business looks. If your website looks dated or your office looks dreary with paint chipping away, the best people will not be inclined to work with you. So, if you want to attract A-players, spruce up your website and do a bit of office renovations. A little goes a long way.
2 – What do you stand for?
Quality team members want to work for business owners that know their ‘why’, have their values set, and are passionate about what they do. When A-players are engaged in something they believe in, they will go that extra mile. So, determine the reason your business exists and then set your business values, culture, and standards to get the best staff knocking at your door.
What is your people strategy?
When you have managed to attract the best people, you need to have a plan to grow your team. Many accounting firms create a growth strategy but fail to align their people strategy with it. There is no use having A-players when you don’t have a plan on how to provide them with the right tools, processes, and training to help them succeed. What we found throughout the roadshow was that most firms either have:
1 – The right people doing the wrong work.
On average, accountants and support staff spend 400 hours per year doing administration-related tasks.
2 -The right people but not the right technology.
Many firms invest on technology that they are not maximising the full potential of or worse, not using at all.
3 – The right people and the right technology but do not have the training and processes to use them properly.
What most firms do not understand is that, to grow their business, you need to grow your people too. In line with this, individual development and learning plans must be in place to enhance their core competencies and develop new skills.
Evolution of An Employee
Global industries are changing. With it, the way people work is changing as well. All aspects from the how, when, where, and even to why people work as has evolved and will continue to do so. As you can see in the infographic above, industries at large are shifting from traditional methods to new-age practices. This is predominantly due to the rapid change brought about by disruptions in technology and work methods. What was once relatively effective ways of doing work and business has now given rise to innovative concepts because of the real need for accounting firms to adapt or be left behind.
The key thing that can be derived from this is that accounting firms should have greater focus on ensuring that people are given highest priority. Your team is a critical factor that can make or break your firm. But it is important to remember that having all the latest and best technology and the most effective accounting business strategies are worthless without the right people to implement them properly.
Keep in mind though that people with high-level skillsets come at a premium. So, here’s where you find that balance in getting the right people with the right skillsets for the right roles and at the right cost.
Keeping The Best Team Members
When you’ve managed to get the right team for you, now you must focus on making sure they stay. Here the key questions you need ask yourself:
1 – What are you doing to keep the best team members?
Taking measures to ensure your best team members stay is of the utmost importance. Try implementing a development and training program so your team can enhance their core competencies and develop new skills. This is a veritable win-win situation. By growing your team’s capabilities, you not only give them a reason to stay but you dramatically improve your workflow and service delivery.
2 – Do you know if your team is happy? What is your communication strategy?
Knowing what motivates your team will allow you to determine how to maximise their productivity. Create communication rhythms to align your team with not only the day-to-day operations but also with your overall vision for your accounting business. Make sure to sit and talk with them to fully understand how you can make their time with your firm a truly inspiring and fulfilling one.
With the accounting industry in a state of constant change, there has never been a more crucial time to have the right team in your stead. These are just some of the key points discussed in the webinar. What you always have to remember is behind every successful business is a team of inspired and highly skilled people. Do what you must to choose your team wisely, understand what makes them tick, and create ideal situations for them to flourish. Do this and you will see your business vision realised in less time than you would imagine.