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E-Myth – “Why most small businesses don’t work & what to do about it”

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Two Person Accounting Teams For All Clients | Edmonton Accounting Firm


Big businesses don’t have to worry that their whole accounting department has gone on holidays at the same time. But small businesses have to worry about this all the time. Right. And then we think there’s, there’s a better way. Mm.

Yeah, I can see why. Cause it’s mad.

Hi. Welcome to another edition of ask us burl CPA. Today we’re talking about two person teams for all clients. Have Trevor here with me, inspire method and marketing again. Uh, Trevor, we saw some interesting stuff yesterday that’s coming up on the youtube channel and we sure did. You guys got to stay tuned because it’s going to be pretty fun and amazing. Yeah, we’ve got, we’ve got wrapped her time coming up. So the court that we have here today, and you were talking about a two person teams for all clients, um, in a, uh, accounting firms and it’s Jim Collins, author of six business books and he says, great vision without great people, he’s irrelevant. Hmm. Um, and the statistic that we’re, you know, we’re committed to, you know, Edmonton Accounting Firm, eradicating here is 50% of volcano, small businesses go out of business within five years. That’s our goal is try to, you know, increase those odds for Kitty and small business owners.

And you’re at sprawling associates. We’ve been trying to build an accounting firm. They give small businesses the same advantages that big businesses have. So, you know, Trevor, what are the questions that you think, you know, the average small business owner should be asking? Well, Hey, the first question would be how many technicians are assigned to small business projects at other firms? Most firms that you have, you know, one technician. So a project gets a signed out and then it gets assigned out to one what they call counting technician. Okay. And that’s usually how they go about it. So one project, you know, one year end, um, one tax return, it gets assigned out to one technician. Okay. So do these firms normally have a manager, manager or a partner that reviews the, the projects? Yeah, that’s usually the process. So it usually goes from the technician and then it goes to either a manager or a partner after and the manager or a partner is going to review that project.

Um, you know, and you know, hopefully make it a little bit better. Correct. Any errors, you know, maybe implemented a little bit of a different strategy, but usually goes from technician to manager and or partner. Okay. So then do you call your frontline staff accounting technicians? I don’t, I don’t call them accounting technicians. I call them associates. And the reason why I called them associates, I believe they’re, they’re kind of the partners on the, on the project, you know, without them, they’re not just an a technician. Um, you know, I don’t want to give them a bigger sense of ownership over that project. And the older, the sign out in the front door says spurl and associates, they are the associates, you know, without them, Edmonton Accounting Firm, the meeting that you have at Squirl doesn’t actually happen. There would be no way I would ever get all that work out the door.

Um, you know, that I want to give ownership over that project. Um, you know, to, you know, increase their, um, their diligence on it so they know what’s a project that they’re taking ownership I’m on as well. Okay. So how many associates do you assign to each client? Yeah, so we assign the, we always assign every client to two associates. So rather than signing a project to one associate, we assign a client to a team of two. Um, and, and you know, that gives us a little bit of redundancy in place. So, and the, the, you know, the client knows where they’re going type of thing. So. Okay. Now do you try whenever possible to keep the client signed to the same two people? Yeah, that’s the idea. We want to give them some consistency. So you know, big businesses, they have big accounting teams and there’s always that consistency.

One person goes at the person is still there, but you know, small businesses that are going from technician, the technician from firm to firm. And so we assign them to a team of two and that team of two can, you know, get some knowledge about how this business owner is going to progress through their year and over multiple years and how they’re going to progress from the planning process to the year end process to redoing the plan again to, you know, looking at decisions that come up throughout the year. You know, we’re assigning them to that team of two to give them that consistency and that, that Edmonton Accounting Firm, you know, a group think that big business have, we’re trying to recreate that advantage for small businesses. All right, Josh. So how does this help when staff take time off or when there’s staff turnover? Yeah, so I mean, you know, when you have, anytime you hire employees, you’re going to have time off.

People are going to go on vacations. You know, occasionally people get sick and you’re going to have turnover. That’s just part of the nature of the game. But if you have one client and the project is assigned to one technician, now all of a sudden nobody knows what’s going on in the file. If you just sign up to one. So we, we learned that it, you know, if you can assign a client to a team of two, someone is always familiar with that client and their circumstances and what’s going on in their business. And even if we have turnover, we still always have that one person left. You know, someone goes on vacation, that client has a critical issue that need need to be resolved. They know that one of their team members is still there. Edmonton Accounting Firm, they’re, they’re still working, you know, and we, we even schedule our, our, our vacations around that.

So we make sure that, you know, people from the same team are going out of the office at the same time because we want to give that, that continuity and you don’t have it available for the clients. And every client, they get, you know, bigger, small, they get their own team, they get their own dedicated team that they’re assigned to and they know they can pick up the phone, they can call them, they don’t know exactly who their frontline staff is. They don’t have to wait to, you know, try to have, bounce a question off a a partner or managers, you know, consistently tied up in meetings. They get that, Edmonton Accounting Firm, a quick response time. That’s, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense. Um, so now do projects get reviewed by a manager once completed by the associates? They still, we’re still in the conventional model in that way.

So the, the unconventional thing is we assign every client to a team of two and that’s a little bit different as opposed to signing every project to one technician at a time. So we signed the client to a team of two, two associates, um, and they’re taking ownership basically what the client and all of the projects that that client is going to have on an ongoing basis. And then we still have, you know, the managers and myself, they don’t, we’re still reviewing the files after the fact. Um, but you know, we’re reading the files and knowing that this team prepared these files as opposed to this person, uh, you know, worked on this project itself. So we know there’s a, that team, um, is that still the way to increase the quality control? And, and you’ll have a system that’s, you know, not too expensive.

If you don’t want your highest level accountants doing the heavy lifting type of thing, the most expensive people doing the heavy lifting. You know what, you want to make sure that the, the less expensive staff are doing a, the time intensives tasks and that keeps the, you know, the price points at, Edmonton Accounting Firm, you know, that are affordable for the average small business owner because we want to give them the best possible service, but we want to give them the best possible services they can actually afford. Uh, not a service that’s, you know, unattainable. Because then we get into the same scenario where only big business that can happen. And her whole goal is to give the average small business the same advantages that these big businesses have. You know, big businesses don’t have to worry that their whole accounting department has gone on holidays at the same time.

But small businesses have to worry about this all the time. Right. And then we think there’s, there’s a better way. All right. So how does having two associates assigned, um, prior to review increased quality? Yeah, so I’ve learned this over time that as smart as I, I, I like to think I am, I’m not, and the group is always smarter than any one person. There’s no way that any one person can have the same knowledge as to, uh, so you get assigned to a team of two. And so when that one person who was working on a year end or a financial plan or a business plan for a, for a client, there have someone to bounce ideas off of. They have someone as a, I don’t know, Edmonton Accounting Firm, you know, how to handle this. Have you ever run into this? And it is really clear who is going to help with that.

So even before the project actually gets to, you know, manager or myself, we’ve had more eyeballs on the project, you know, we have a better work product, right? We’ve, we’ve thrown more expertise and more experience at the project, you know, before it even gets to the manager review level. Because you know, have one associate doesn’t know the answer, like I’ll likely the other one does know the answer and they might know something that even the manager who’s going to review it know. Um, so, you know, we have, we’re just getting, you know, a, a bigger section of the expertise on every project. Right. All right Josh. So how are your workstation set up to facilitate how the clients are assigned? Yeah, so you can see behind us these workstations, we have these all over the office. They’re not just sitting here, we’re redoing the videos.

These are, these are the actual workstations where all of our work gets done. And you’ll, we have five of these group workstations in the office and we’ll have one team member sit on the far left and we’ll have another team members sit on the right. And each team member has three monitors at their disposal. So they’re controlling them. All directors in a vertical array. One team member here, one team member here, and we have the empty workstation in the middle. So we went with the three monitors just because the nature of accounting work. Um, you know, we kind of talked about that once before where you, you have a source document, you’re making an entry on another screening of a, Edmonton Accounting Firm, a report on another screen. So you always have source, document, entry screen and reports screen and that’s usually how you’re working regardless of what accounting program you’re working in.

That’s just the workflow of an accountant’s like, um, so they have the three monitors at their disposal in vertical array. Um, but the way these are designed, and these are actual Fourcade computer monitors, so you can actually read the information on the screens when you’re sitting at an angle is too, if you’re sitting on the left side, you can actually see the information on the right side. So that allows the team members to actually collaborate. They can bounce ideas off each other, super efficient, you know, and with other workstations, you’re trying to appear over someone’s shoulder, they’re just trying to tell you the information verbally or they, they write a memo and then the memo gets read later on it. And it’s just super inefficient in that that collaboration just takes an ordinate amount of time. You know, we’re able to collaborate, you know, extremely efficiently and then going one step beyond, we have the empty workstation, the middle of that myself, the other CPA and other manager, we can jump in there and you know, we can do the review process as well too.

And sometimes we can even do a, a live review where we go through directly with them to reduce the amount of time. And we’re not looking for a fact that they know, you know, readily imagine as it’s just a, uh, a giant board of information that we can put up there between three people. We can put things up on the screen at any one time and figured out a very complex problem, um, and kind of utilize those, those, those three minds, Edmonton Accounting Firm, all at once. So the workstations are really set up to maximize the value of that, that collaborative value on every client and every project. All right, Josh. So why do you have, uh, the associate’s participate in the meetings? That that’s a unique way. You don’t want a lot of accounting firms. You’ll be years before you ever see the inside of a client meeting.

And I just think that it doesn’t, you know, Edmonton Accounting Firm, provide you enough learning. You know, so even like all have associate’s participate in meetings in one month on the job, I’ll start having them participate in meetings and I actually just think they learn. So even though they’re not at that, you know, high level first when they first started out, they start to understand what’s important in a meeting. Um, and a lot of times it’s not about being right and wrong. Sometimes you just have to have the information organized in such a way that you can explain it to a non accountant and all that. That’s a little bit difficult one too. You know, sometimes you’ll get a new account in the last and to Redo something and they wonder why you Redo it cause you’re getting into the exact same answer. It’s not always the goal of getting to the right answer is getting through the right answer and being able to show your work in such a way that a non accountant can understand why you’re doing that and why they should adopt a strategy, why that matters to them.

Um, they also started to get it, uh, you know, uh, an interpretation of what matters to the clients, what’s important to the clients. But what’s not important to the clients. You know, one of the, what makes a, a high level CPAS, they start focusing on the things that matter. It’s, it’s, you know, again, it’s not always about being right and wrong. It’s about focusing on the things that are actually material. Uh, there’s not material. Who Cares? Then if the client doesn’t care about something that’s the material, who cares? But we better be bang on and the things that mattered to them and not just be right on the things that mattered to them quantitatively, but happened analysis that’s going to help them with the issues that matter as well. So if you can integrate the associates into that client meeting process, they start to understand, you know, what it takes to actually add value to the client as opposed to just finishing a tax return. Right. And that’s why we, you know, we involve the associates in the meetings. So I think that’s what we have here today on a, on this topic you don’t want. Thanks so much for, for joining us. Again. As always, please hit the like and subscribe buttons so we can continue to deliver you tips on how to beat the odds at business. And you’ll, we’ll look forward to any comments that you have below and we’ll certainly respond and, uh, you know, use your feedback to develop the content for future videos. Thanks very much.