Over the next few weeks, we are looking at staff & their impact on you and your practice. In our first part we look at delegation.
Delegation is critical to scaling your practice.
You, as one person, only have a limited number of hours in the day. The ONLY way to grow beyond your personal potential is to bring in other people, and this means delegating!
When Accountants do bring others in, they often fail to capitalise on the full potential of their team by failing to delegate effectively.
The issue of Control
An issue that many Accountants have is control: control of client relationships & control of quality output. The scariest thing for an Accountant is for an employee to walk out the door and take clients with them.
Our last blog spoke about how nurturing a positive workplace culture involves trust, clarity, communication, investment and genuine interest: all of which strengthen relationships with your employees and drastically reduces the risk of such a crisis.
The better the trust, the easier it is to delegate, but it does take one first step to start the process.
Delegation can start with a trickle – like testing the water in the swimming pool. Start with some smaller tasks to build confidence: both yours and that of your staff. As confidence builds you are free to delegate more and more tasks, to the point that you have regular meetings to delegate reviews & client management. You should also get a sense for which people complete which tasks effectively.
The Perfect Match
Some people are great with clients while others are technically very good and are perfect for reviewing the jobs before they go out. Delegation allows people to work to their strengths, speeding up workflow, improving efficiency and increasing capacity.
Alternatively, delegation can provide an opportunity for someone who needs development in a particular area to work on their skill.
Don’t feel that things must be shared exactly, smart employers will work to people’s strengths and get better output for the business as a whole.
Empowering your staff
Delegation is known to give confidence and empower staff. Added responsibility means you have trust in them and boosts confidence that they are doing a good job. In turn it provides them with a positive reason to stay with you.
Delegation can also provide a way to progress or promote staff into new roles over time – seeing this in progress gives motivation and again, positive reasons to stay.
Don’t forget about what it can do for you…
For you, it means flexibility to choose the way you work. Do you want to be less tied to the office? Do you want time to pursue new high-value clients?
Many Accountants say that in an ideal world they are only seeing the top 20% of clients and their staff is reviewing all the work. We know Practices that have made it to this point and the benefits are enormous for business value and work/life balance.
“All of our clients have my number and can contact me anytime they need me. I’ve delegated most of the client responsibility to my managers and they have created a great relationship with our clients. Some clients might contact me from time to time but now I can focus on our key clients & the big picture.” Principal of a $1.1m practice.
For those still worried about staff walking out the door with clients, fostering a positive work environment and developing trust among staff, as discussed in our previous blog, will go a long way towards reducing this risk. However, a great back-up is to have restriction of trade clauses in your employment contracts. This regulation also removes this temptation from staff with ulterior motives. Talk to us if you want to explore this option some more.