Remote Team
Remote Team Vertical

How to set up a flexible, remote work team for success

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Executive Summary

  • Have a page on your website that shows you are consistently looking for the right person to join your team.
  • Ask potential hires to go through personality testing, such as the DiSC profile or Kolbe test.
  • If you are struggling with staffing, ask each team member to pick one thing they want to accomplish this year, and monitor that monthly goal until it is accomplished.

It was 2015, and one of my best tax pros was moving out of state. I panicked; what was I going to do? I did not want to lose her help, but had to find a way to have this enrolled agent work remotely! The solution? A paperless process allowed me to provide all documentation needed so she could work as though she was in my office.

After a few months of things going better than expected, I realized I could hire anyone located anywhere. I could find people who were passionate and hungry with a great attitude. From that point forward, I didn’t require talent to sit in a chair in my local office. Today, I have 11 team members, all working remotely!

Even before the pandemic, I could see the benefits of hiring virtual staff: you will have a larger pool of workers to pull from, overhead is lower, and less time wasted with “watercooler” talk.

What did I do?  Here are a few tips you might want to consider:

  1. Have a page on your website that shows you are consistently looking for the right person to join your team. Create a career page; our page is located at
  2. Focus on your core values and mission statement. Know who you are, who you serve, and how you serve. Be clear on what is important. Find people who share the same values.
  3. While you should hire for skills—can they do the job? Be aware of attitude. Attitude is everything. You can teach skills, but you cannot teach attitude.
  4. Incentivize referrals by giving $500 or even $1,000 for anyone who is hired and stays a minimum of 90 days. Ask your team who they know. They will bring in amazing people because they don’t want to work with anyone that is lazy.
  5. Do not have a dry and boring job ad posting. Make it fun and interesting to attract the right candidate.
  6. Take your time in hiring. Don’t rush the process or skip steps.
  7. Have thoughtful interview questions. Don’t ask, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Instead, get to know the person.

If you are looking for a hiring checklist, here is mine.

Over the years, I have been giving candidates an assessment that will show how they work and communicate. For example, everyone on my team has completed the DiSC profile, and in 2022, my leaders completed the Kolbe test. I find Kolbe more detailed on what I can expect from their work. Recently, I found Patrick Lencioni wrote “The 6 Types of Working Genius,” a book on work styles.

I know I am not alone when I say that hiring now, whether for a local office or remotely, is brutal to find experienced accountants. 2022 was difficult for me. How was it for you?

Over the past few months, I’ve asked other accountants how they are feeling about the upcoming tax season. It was what I expected … some are dreading it and others are optimistic. What I found interesting is that those who were dreading the season were understaffed. Those who were optimistic had their team in place.

If you are struggling with staffing, what can you do?

  • The first thing is to treat your current team well by being the best place to work! 
  • Make sure your staff is paid at market rate. When was the last time you gave them a raise?
  • Incentivize your team with bonuses based on production. Pay more when they do more.
  • Be intentional with the culture of your firm. Meet with them weekly 1:1 and in groups.
  • Ask each team member to pick one thing they want to accomplish in the upcoming year. Monitor that goal monthly until it is accomplished. Rinse and repeat!

I highly recommend reading/listening to books. My favorite book on finding the right candidate is the book called, “The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues,” also by Patrick Lencioni.

When I spoke with another accountant who was considering hiring remotely, she asked me, “How do you know they are working?” I told her that I don’t measure them clocking in at 8 a.m. and leaving at 5 p.m. What I care more about are the RESULTS they provide.

Everything we do is measured. We measure when financial statements are sent to clients and how long it takes. We measure how long it takes to get a tax return out the door and the margins. If they meet the expectations of the boundaries we give, then I’m happy.

Could you be satisfied with having a remote team, too? 

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