The important task of finding (& keeping!!) good staff

We provide advice to Accountants on all areas of their Practice, but if there is one key that has the biggest impact on loving your work, it’s your staff!

Staff can make or break a business. Great staff will not only change your Practice, but can also change your life – giving you more time away from work and less stress about maintaining your business.

For some it’s an ongoing battle to find helpful staff, while others manage to attract great people.

Finding Great staff

For those that haven’t been able to find good staff through recruiters or advertising online (Seek, LinkedIn etc.) here are a few thoughts:

Sourcing within – are there low level staff who have potential? Showing your confidence in them and encouraging them to advance their education and credentials builds trust and loyalty and is a win, win for both parties.

Like attracts Like – A great staff member may know others in similar roles. Ask your current staff if they know of anyone, you can also consider providing them with an incentive for a good recommendation.

Remote Opportunities – With a lot of work being done remotely you may look at hiring someone in another location that has more availability of resources. Similarly, if you have a staff member that asks to leave because they are moving to a new location they may still be able to work remotely or even set up another office in their location.

Acquisition – You may be in a position to acquire another small practice. This can bring in a team of experienced staff and enables you to quickly scale up your resources. A merger can also become a succession plan with another competent principal on board.

Outsourcing – Consider outsourcing, either within Australia or overseas. Basic compliance tasks can easily be completed elsewhere and your team can focus on the more profitable services, like business advice. There are some very sophisticated options for offshore accounting services these days.

Keeping Great Staff

A very important point is that the onus should not just be on the staff to be ‘great’, a great work culture will create great staff.

Whether you have found some great staff members or want to nurture your own team, it’s important to retain them. Reducing staff turnover helps minimise time lost in recruitment and hand-over, helps strengthen your options for succession planning, reduces stress and protects your sanity!

Here are a few key points for better retention:

Trust – while it can be scary, trusting your staff is critical for building loyalty, no one likes to be micromanaged or kept out of the loop.

Clarity – Clear descriptions and expectations go a long way towards good employee relations. This is a really great place to start if you want to create a more staff-friendly work environment. This includes clarity around roles, sharing responsibilities and structure (up and down the line). Less ambiguity means less opportunity for confusions and frustrations for all parties.

Communication – this doesn’t just mean weekly ‘work-in-progress’ meetings or email updates, it is more about deeper communication about the functioning and future of the business. Don’t be blind-sided by a staff member who ‘suddenly’ walks out, check in with staff on a regular basis to see how they are doing, acknowledge their achievements and address frustrations up front.

Investment – remember that your staff are giving their efforts and energy into building your business, investing in them shows they are valuable. Staff can easily feel taken for granted when they are never shown trust, or listened to or offered opportunities to advance.

Genuine Interest – This may be the single keystone to retaining and nurturing good staff. A good relationship with your staff is really a two-way street. Recognising staff successes and challenges as well as discussing their future plans generates regular and genuine communication. Showing trust in their skills is empowering and may give them the confidence to take on more responsibility or further education.

Positive experiences build loyalty. Loyalty means staff will go the extra mile, and take some of the stress off your shoulders.

Improving your staff strategies will strengthen your team, your business capacity and future potential, as well as your ability to step back and focus on where your time is most valuable.

At Abacus, we want you to love your Accounting practice and get the most from your business.

We’d love to discuss your plans for your Practice and help you make them happen. Talk with us today.