Now, I think the first thing to be said is that not every business needs to scale to be successful outside of the owner and it’s your decision about how big you want your business to be.
My vision for Balance Tax Accountants was to help small business owners. Since I’ve started, what I’ve found is that the number of people who came to us asking for help, I could not give a level of customer service that I was happy with without involving more people into the business. This is the reason why I personally decided to hire and grow Balance Tax Accountants beyond myself.
Now, after you’ve actually made the decision to introduce or to hire another person into your business, it’s really important that you make sure that they are the right person. The right person for the right role. What I did when I was hiring a junior tax accountant, for example, in the job ad I did not once mention you must have five years experience in this or you must have a degree in that. In my job application, I talked about the values of Balance Tax Accountants, what makes us different from your average accounting firm, I talked about how we support local, we pride ourselves in doing a great job, that we have work-life balance; we go home and we eat dinner with our families every night.
I also talked about how in the accounting industry it’s really difficult to find people with personality – who are friendly and approachable. How I needed somebody who actually enjoyed working with other people and talking to clients. Finally, the last value I talked about was that we treat other people the way we want to be treated. In the accounting industry in order to get ahead, it can be very cutthroat. The pressure to build as many hours as you possibly can and well, yes, we need to make money. This is a business. At the same time, it’s more about teamwork, getting the job done well, making sure our clients are happy, and treating other people inside and outside of the business the way we want to be treated.
What I found when the applications for this role started coming in, it was really easy for me to choose which applicants made it to the next round. An advertisement from an accounting firm asking for a junior tax account, people would not apply unless they felt like they were qualified for it. And so, even though I didn’t necessarily mention we want X amount of experience, the people who did apply had several years of experience and they had qualifications and they had degrees and they had the relevant knowledge and skill set.
I feel that when you’re a small business and you’re introducing other team members or employees into your business, it’s really important not to forget about hiring based on shared values. Because of the longevity of that person staying with your business, growing with your business, being on board. Obviously, there are good times and there are bad times. There are sometimes tough times in small businesses and you’re gonna need your team members to be flexible and committed to more than just the paycheck. Hiring someone just based on skills and experience isn’t necessarily going to get you someone who is loyal to you and your business.