tax firm team
tax firm team

Best Practices for Putting Together Winning Teams

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If you want to build a team, you must want to grow. When you decide when you’re going to be in growth mode, you need to factor a lot of variables into the equation.

When looking to build a winning team, here’s my advice:

  • Evaluate your firms’ strategic goals and define what your firm’s success looks like.
  • Determine the skills gaps that would need to be filled to meet your success strategy.
  • Leverage social media to market your services and position yourself as an “employer of the future.”
  • When evaluating employees, try to hire those who can fill more than one of your firm’s skills gaps.

Evaluate your firm’s goals. What does a championship year look like for your team? What group of people do you need to claim you had a banner year? For example, in tax and accounting where introverts are abundant, your skills gaps may need some extroverts to sell services or be client facing.

Determine the skills gaps. Based on the evaluation of your team, you will notice some skills gaps your organization has, so once you have determine what those are, you have a decision to make: can your current team train up or change to address the gaps, or do you need to make a strategic hire? Over the years, I’ve learned that good staff members always welcome an investment and commitment from management. As a result, I want to grow what I already have, so I promote internally first and hire externally last.

If your decision leads you to a new hire, think about what you need for the long term. Your vision for your firm is key to staff selection. I made mistakes of hiring for our current needs instead of the future; we had to eventually separate from the immediate hire because once the short-term need was met, the individual’s long-term value did not match our long-term strategy.

Leverage social media. If you have a small firm like ours with one to 10 employees, be prepared: the war for good talent is real. While larger firms offer competitive wages, one of the advantages of the firm of the future model is that it appeals to millennials and baby boomers who are looking for a less traditional model of work. As a result, marketing a work-from-home lifestyle versus a less traditional employment model may allow you to get good talent.

One way to complete for new talent is to position your firm as an “employer of the future.” I learned some time ago that volunteering for various organizations supporting college and high school accounting programs can be very beneficial because it allowed me to be in front of prospective employees and connect with them by continuing the conversation on social media. In fact, maintaining a strong social media presence is especially beneficial because it touches not only prospective clients, but prospective employees as well because they can learn more about your business and decide if your firm is a good fit for them.

Hire to fill multiple needs. When hiring, be practical and make strategic hires that help you win, year after year. Specifically, try to find people who can fill more than one of your skills gaps. Obviously, when you are looking for a specialist, you’re trying to fill need. However, if you can find that specialist who also has skills that could be used in other business areas, you’ll get an additional value add. For example, we recently interviewed for two senior accountants. They were great candidates with controller/financial manager experience, and while both candidates checked the box for virtual controller, only one had a Master’s in Taxation (MST) designation. Keeping in mind we tend to need a helping hand during tax season, we determined that the candidate with the MST checked the box for two of our needs.

Every firm is different, so adapt these suggestions to your own situations and scenarios, then concentrate on what you need to do to build your own winning team.

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