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Written by Ed Chan

When building a business, your focus as the owner should lie on developing people and building systems. The people and systems will then build your business even without you actively running it.

This is the key to working ON your business and not IN it.

Here are some of the top principles Wize Mentoring utilises, and how to implement them in your own firms to get the best out of the production team.

There are three things that will help you get the best results from your staff:

Implement A Deep and Narrow Team Structure

What does your hiring process currently look like? Mis-hiring and hiring because staff say they are too busy is one of the biggest and most expensive mistakes you can make in your firm.

Team design is critical to building a firm that runs without you. It’s not a matter of hiring an experienced person, put them in a seat, and expect them to do everything. This fails more than it works out.

You need to have a deeper understanding of how team structure affects the operation and growth of your business. A traditional shallow and wide team structure will see you remaining a prisoner to your business as all queries, all work, all demands land squarely back on your shoulders. You're also reliant on finding extraordinary people who are hard to find and expensive to keep (and expensive to lose!)

With a scalable deep and narrow team structure, you build a resource mix that creates a high functioning team and one that is not dependent on you.

Here are the top principles to implement to get your team structure right:

  1. Have the right people in the right seat.
  2. Have a No-bypass policy in your team
  3. Manage the communication traffic and production traffic in your firm.

Ultimately, having a deep and narrow team structure will give you more time and leverage to do other things in your business that will help you grow.

Ask yourselves: Is your team structure currently wide and shallow or deep and narrow?

Optimise Your Production Through Capacity Planning

In our experience, developing and working to a capacity planning is not something that is done enough in practice.

We never allow any of the firms I’m working with to hire anyone until I have completed a Capacity Planner. Because it’s not a case of just hiring more “bodies to throw at the problem”. This never works.

It’s about getting the right mix of skills and by working in a team with their complementary skills, will you get leverage and scale. Namely, 1 plus 1 gives 5.

If you do not get the right mix of skills in your team working together in a complementary fashion, it becomes extremely clunky and inefficient and you will lose lots of productivity.

The Capacity Planner will determine whether you are under or over capacity. You should run at 15% overcapacity and the best place to increase capacity is via offshore staffing for your grinders because it’s extremely cost-effective.

 But if you don’t complete the Capacity Planner, then the majority of what you’ll be doing will remain as guesswork. You should be more scientific than just guessing.

Bring It All Together Through Leadership

When you put the right people in the right seat and identify the finders, minders, and grinders in your firm, you’ll be able to remove yourself from the business and maximise gross profits while you’re at it!

It is important to note however that great leadership is at the core of achieving this.

To become a better leader, you need to have the ability to be self-aware and understand your impact on others.

You need to be focussed on getting the best out of others and the have the ability to make good business decisions i.e., Investing in the balance sheet vs being focussed just on the P&L.

With these strategies and better leadership, you’ll be able to have a stronger culture, better productivity in your teams, and an accountable and result-oriented staff.

Would you like to know the 3 principles Ed Chan used to build the foundation for Chan & Naylor to run without him and how you can do the same with your business? Download this free eBook The Accountants 20 Hour Workweek Playbook -

About Ed Chan

Ed is a renowned speaker, and is the Non-Exec Chairman of Chan & Naylor, operating 10 offices Australia-wide servicing more than 11,000 clients with 160 staff.

Ed co-Founded Wize Mentoring with Jamie Johns and Brenton Ward in 2019. Wize Mentoring, an online portal for Accountants and Bookkeepers, delivering the tools, strategies, and mentoring needed to build a business that can run without the owner.




About the Authors

Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.  

Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.

Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers.

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