According to a joint study by 4A’s and LinkedIn, the advertising industry is growing at a faster rate than related industries, but its turnover is higher, causing a 10 percent staffing gap. To mitigate the disruption caused by back office turnover, businesses have started outsourcing their accounting needs and relying on remote bookkeeping and cloud-based accounting.
This same study cites several reasons for the employment gap; namely, the industry’s famously fast pace, high-pressure situations, client demands, and comparatively entry-level salaries.
This turnover is problematic, particularly if it occurs in your back office. Your bookkeepers and accounting department have a highly specialized skillset that’s difficult to replace. The absence of a fully staffed, reliable back office is disruptive to any business. Your remaining staff has to cover for the recently vacated position, slowing down the systems you have in place. In addition, you now have to invest time and money locating, interviewing, hiring, and onboarding. According to the international consulting firm, Deloitte, the onboarding process alone costs your business $4,000 per hire (or more).
If you haven’t yet made the switch to remote bookkeeping and cloud-based accounting, there are still techniques you can use to prepare for and manage turnover at your agency until you make the switch.
1. Organize Systems and Clearly Communicate the Operational Steps
Outline the job function of each back office position and the duties that each of these positions performs. It’s critical to have a written play-by-play explanation of your back office systems, such as invoicing and payroll. This should also include passwords and full access to all of your software, tools, and files.
2. Utilize Technology to Keep Records Streamlined and Stored in One Place
Use cloud-based accounting software and related applications to maintain a digital footprint of your financial records. Make sure that multiple people in your back office know how to use this technology, not just the one person in this role. It’s also important to make sure everything is stored in a central location and backed up in a completely separate location on a separate server.
3. Hire Appropriate Candidates for Each Role
One of the biggest causes of turnover is inappropriate job placement. Find employees with talents and experience that are well suited to the open position. And, be sure your employees are ready to grow and are capable of professional evolvement as your company scales. This is why many agencies choose to work with an outside firm, like Keeping Your Balance. The ability to be partnered with experienced bookkeepers who specialize in not only your industry but the evolving demands of your growing business, means you don’t have to constantly worry if you have the right person for the job.
4. Define Expectations Clearly
Your back office staff must know exactly what you expect them to do and what their weekly and monthly deadlines are. Unless you’ve hired them to build financial processes for your company (and they have experience doing so), they shouldn’t be tasked with sussing out those processes. Communicate your expectations and deadlines clearly at all times.
If you previously had trouble with expectations and deadlines, then remote bookkeeping may be an ideal solution. Specific deliverables are part of your contract with a hired vendor and it’s oftentimes much easier to ensure you get exactly what you need in that kind of partnership vs. from an internal employee.
5. Have a Backup Plan
If you do hire internally, stay a step ahead of the staffing gap by keeping a talent bank of potential hires or remote bookkeepers. We know it’s not always possible to let go of someone currently in a role, but by doing your research and knowing your options, you can be better prepared to make the switch when and if the time arises.
Learn More About the Benefits of Remote Bookkeeping
If remote bookkeeping is something you’d like to explore further, we’ve got a handful of resources that you can start to explore now to prepare yourself for future needs:
- An Infographic: The Benefits of Remote Bookkeeping
- Another Blog Post: How to Grow Your Agency with Remote Bookkeeping and Back Office Solutions