The Wize Guys

Episode 102: The Single Best Way to Find and Recruit Qualified Staff for your Practice

April 18, 2024 Wize Mentoring for Accountants and Bookkeepers Season 1 Episode 102
Episode 102: The Single Best Way to Find and Recruit Qualified Staff for your Practice
The Wize Guys
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The Wize Guys
Episode 102: The Single Best Way to Find and Recruit Qualified Staff for your Practice
Apr 18, 2024 Season 1 Episode 102
Wize Mentoring for Accountants and Bookkeepers

Looking to hire a new Accountant, Bookkeeper, or Administrator? 

Try WizeTalent and get exclusive access to the 44-step system we built to help growing accounting and bookkeeping firms find qualified candidates!  

https://www.wizementoring.com/wizetalent-offer/

________________

Ever get the feeling you're trying to put together a dream team, only to wind up with a crew that's more ragtag than Avengers-worthy?

In this edition of The Wize Guys Podcast, Brenton Ward, Ed Chan, Jamie Johns, Thomas Sphabmixay, and Tim Causbrook dive into the topic of finding and recruiting top-notch staff.

Join us as we delve into the secrets of crafting an unbeatable accounting team. It's not just about filling spots; it's about carefully planning each role, from your number-crunching analysts to your client-facing charmers, to ensure everyone is playing to their strengths.

Wize Talent is here to simplify the hiring process, guiding you through analysis, attraction, assessment, and acceptance of qualified candidates for your practice. Tune in now and discover the revolutionary four-step hiring approach!


________________
PS: Whenever you’re ready… here are the fastest 3 ways we can help you transform your accounting/bookkeeping practice:

1. Join 40,000+ subscribers to our transformation Friday tips – Every Friday, our Wize Mentor and Thought Leader of the Year, Ed Chan will send one actionable insight from his experience of building a $20 million accounting firm that still runs without him – Subscribe here

2. Download one of our famous Wize Accountants Growth Playbooks – Our FREE Playbooks on how to build and scale your firm are more valuable than most PAID business coaching programs! See for yourself – Download here

3. Join the waiting list for a free login to the world's best accounting business intelligence software for scaling your firm. Take a look at the app we use to build our own $10million firm in just 7-hours a week – Get a FREE login here

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Looking to hire a new Accountant, Bookkeeper, or Administrator? 

Try WizeTalent and get exclusive access to the 44-step system we built to help growing accounting and bookkeeping firms find qualified candidates!  

https://www.wizementoring.com/wizetalent-offer/

________________

Ever get the feeling you're trying to put together a dream team, only to wind up with a crew that's more ragtag than Avengers-worthy?

In this edition of The Wize Guys Podcast, Brenton Ward, Ed Chan, Jamie Johns, Thomas Sphabmixay, and Tim Causbrook dive into the topic of finding and recruiting top-notch staff.

Join us as we delve into the secrets of crafting an unbeatable accounting team. It's not just about filling spots; it's about carefully planning each role, from your number-crunching analysts to your client-facing charmers, to ensure everyone is playing to their strengths.

Wize Talent is here to simplify the hiring process, guiding you through analysis, attraction, assessment, and acceptance of qualified candidates for your practice. Tune in now and discover the revolutionary four-step hiring approach!


________________
PS: Whenever you’re ready… here are the fastest 3 ways we can help you transform your accounting/bookkeeping practice:

1. Join 40,000+ subscribers to our transformation Friday tips – Every Friday, our Wize Mentor and Thought Leader of the Year, Ed Chan will send one actionable insight from his experience of building a $20 million accounting firm that still runs without him – Subscribe here

2. Download one of our famous Wize Accountants Growth Playbooks – Our FREE Playbooks on how to build and scale your firm are more valuable than most PAID business coaching programs! See for yourself – Download here

3. Join the waiting list for a free login to the world's best accounting business intelligence software for scaling your firm. Take a look at the app we use to build our own $10million firm in just 7-hours a week – Get a FREE login here

Wize Mentoring:

From Wize Mentoring is The Wize Guys Podcast, a show about accounting and bookkeeping practice owners and the many stories, lessons, and tips from their experience of transitioning from a time-poor practice to a business that runs without them. I hope you enjoy and subscribe. When we reflect on this topic around recruitment and finding the right talent for your practice, it's single-handedly the biggest challenge, the biggest issue that we get feedback on and we face in our own firms the feedback we face we get from you guys. It's, without a doubt, the biggest challenge finding, keeping training, and leading the right people. So, although it may seem like we're a bit of repeating ourselves on this topic around team structure and leadership and finding right the people and finders, miners, grinders if you've really invested in looking at the wise way of things, we can't stop reiterating this message because, again, it's the single-handed biggest challenge that everyone faces.

Wize Mentoring:

So we are going to focus on some of the principles, or the core principles again, on what makes a really good team scalable, what getting the right people in the right seats and your recruitment process to find the right people today and, of course, whoever hiring is a horror. That pretty much sums up the feedback we're getting. So what we want to focus on today, guys, is really a couple of points around this. So, as everyone remembers, we've got three pillars that we like to focus on and theme our months around, and we're in the recruit month, but, Ed, as always, like to kick it off with yourself. As I've just said there, you know this is a never-ending quest and challenge for most practices. From your experience, how do you ensure you have the least amount of headaches and worries when it comes to finding and managing good people in your practice?

Ed Chan:

Yeah, that's a great question, Brenton. You know, for those of you who do WizeG rowth with us, you know where we're coaching one-on you know most of our time is spent on getting the right team, getting the structure right, getting the right people in the right seat, and most of the time is spent there, because if you get that right, you know the rest of your business works pretty well. If you get that wrong, it's just a nightmare. So this part of the whole thing is so important. The answer, though, is not to throw simply to hire bodies and throw it at the problem, at the workload. That's not the way to do it, and I see that often when I go into a firm, and that's what they do. There's a lot of work. Everybody's complaining about the amount of work. They just hire more and more bodies, and I think that's going to fix the problem. In fact. Fact, it actually adds to the problem, and I'd like to just explain it in this way have you ever seen little toddlers play soccer? You know, like they're four- year- olds, and they all get together and there's 11 on each side, and all 22 of them are all chasing the ball, and it's just chaos, and that's a bit like the way accounting firms run their businesses. They just hire people and get them all chasing the ball and then, as they get a bit older, you know they get a coach and a coach works out that there's a, there's a goalie, and there's a winger and there's a full back and there's centers and there's, you know, the forwards, and then they start playing positions. And then it gets a little bit more sophisticated than that. Then they start identifying the skill set of the individual. So if you've got really good reflexes, you'll go into the goalie position. If you're really really fast, you go on the wing and if you're very instinctive, you can play in the centers where you're setting up the forwards to score the goal. So it gets very scientific and a lot more strategic. And then the accounting firm is exactly the same.

Ed Chan:

So in an accounting firm, you've got to manage your traffic flow. There are two types of traffic flow. There's communication, interpersonal, strategic traffic flow, where you're getting in front of your clients, you're talking about strategy, you're doing advisory, that kind of stuff, and not everybody can do that. And then the other kind of traffic flow is your production and getting the production right. Most accountants that graduate from university in the grinding area. So I call it the 80-20, 80% of them are in the grinding and production area, and 20% have communication skills.

Ed Chan:

And that's not to say one is better than the other. They're all just as important as each other. You need all skills, you need grinding, you need the minding and you need the finding. They're all just as important as each other. It's just that they have different roles in the organization and without one it doesn't work. You just take one out of there. It's like a cog in the wheel. You just take one cog out of the wheel and the whole wheel stops. So you just got to get that right.

Ed Chan:

And when we develop our ideal team structure and that's developed over many, many years, 30 to 40 years of trial and error and so forth, and we've got it down to what we call the wise ideal team structure, and it's made up of the senior client manager, who has interpersonal skills and communication skills, and he likes people, or they're people, a people person.

Ed Chan:

And then you've got the grinder, who just likes to do the work. And if you play them in position and not out of position, then you get the synergy. You're getting complementary skills working together. So the outcome becomes much more than the sum of its parts, and so you get one plus one is five and not one plus one is two, and often if you just throw people at the problem, you get one plus one is like 1.5. You get less production because there's so much inefficiencies and clunkiness in the system. So how do you find these people? I guess that's the point of this and we'll break it down and go through what we've done with WizeT alent to locate these people. So Wize, in the way we recruit, is quite different from the recruitment agencies out there and generally, they just hire an accountant that you feel is right for you.

Wize Mentoring:

Ours is a lot more detailed than that. Yeah, Jamie, tell us about your experience, you know, for the benefit of everyone who hasn't heard your story before prior to working with Ed and this is the same story over, for you know the likes of Tim and Thomas, and Leah, who's working with us, and a couple of others as well, working hands-on with us. Tell us about your experience before embarking on, you know, putting a methodical system in place for recruitment, but also for your team structure and what it now looks like compared to what it used to be.

Jamie Johns:

Yeah, it's a great question. Yeah, look, probably before I started mentoring with Ed, just like everyone else, I worked for quite a few different firms and then started my own firm and really had no rhyme or rhythm in terms of hiring. I just hired accountants and just simply in the early days probably got them to do everything and wasn't really strategic about you know the approach in both hiring and you know like what seat to put them in. So, yeah, I'd have to say it wasn't strategic at all. It was just like, oh, yeah, I had enough work, and the staff that I did have said you know, oh, we're flat out, we're busy and we need to hire someone else. So I'd sort of just go and do it. And you know that I did have said you know, oh, we're flat out, we're busy and we need to hire someone else. So I sort of just go and do it. And you know so I probably made every mistake in the book, to be quite honest, and you know I didn't know what a capacity planner was and you know I just sort of had more enthusiasm than the smarts. So that was a big part of the problem that I've just never been taught how to manage. You know.

Jamie Johns:

So once you hire one person and you put another person on, all of a sudden you're a manager. You're not just an accountant, because we're all born out of production doing the bookkeeping, the tax returns and the financial statements. But the question then becomes well, how do you become a manager? How do you become a leader? How do you keep your firm highly organised and keep scaling it in the process so that you don't go crazy at the same time?

Jamie Johns:

So you know, every week I meet, you know, accountants and bookkeepers all over the world now and you know everyone tends to have the same problem as they've got no time and don't know how to hire the right people. And if we do hire people, how to actually strategically get them to do a role that they're actually good at? So yeah, my experience, Brenton, is just I really wasn't very strategic in the hiring and didn't take advantage of complementary skills, a bit like Ed explained with the sports team. You know, going down this path and working with Ed is a whole new enlightenment in how to hire and how to manage people as well. It's just something that we just don't learn at university and if you've worked with other firms, you know, you often don't get the opportunity to learn how to structure teams and how to manage, and that's why we're here today yeah, yeah, and adding a remote team or even a remote onshore working situation can complicate that.

Wize Mentoring:

If you haven't got the right structure in place, which we'll touch on for you today. And, Jamie, you know you've spent for the better part of having your firm, but, let's say, the last six years working with Ed and restructuring your teams. You've built out a really robust system for recruiting people, which I want to go through today. But Jamie's touched on something there that I want to get your thoughts on before we move on because there's one side of this situation which is the actual implementation, the team structure, the recruitment process, finding the right people to put in the right seats.

Wize Mentoring:

But one of the biggest shifts in getting the people situation right and building scalable teams in your practice is the shift that you have to make yourself as a practice owner, and that's, you know, one of becoming a manager and a leader, which you know when we talk to a lot of practices and there are a lot of, I'm talking like thousands of practices around the world who go I don't want staff, I don't want to deal with people. I've had staff before. They were headaches, but I mean, ultimately, if you're going to build a business that runs without you, someone's got to be in there, yeah, flying the flag for your practice, so can you talk a little bit about that?

Ed Chan:

Yeah, absolutely. When someone says to me that they know they've had trouble with staff and you know I'd rather have no staff and I'll do it myself what they're doing is just treating the symptom and not the problem. If you address the cause and not the effect, then you fix it. And the problem was that they hired the wrong person. And the problem was deeper than that they had the wrong recruitment system. So if they get the right recruitment system, you hire the wrong person. And even further, deeper than that, they didn't have their team structure in place. They didn't know really who they were hiring.

Ed Chan:

In an accounting basis, they were just hiring an accountant and you need to get the blueprint right. So it's a consequence of all those things. But if you get it right from the beginning, if you're going to build a house, you get an architect to design the architecture for you before you get a builder to build it. So you get the architecture right. And then you know decisions that you need to fill and then you go out and be very, very specific about the person that you want to hire that fills those positions. And then you've got to lead them. Because even with the best system and the best people. If you don't lead them, the whole thing falls apart. So it's a combination of all those things put together by addressing the problem.

Ed Chan:

If you address the problem and you find the right people working in the right seat in the right bus and they're really happy, then the whole thing works and it can be managed from the bottom up and not from the top down. If you get all that wrong, you tend to manage it from the top down by control and command. You want, you know you're watching everybody and you're controlling everybody and it just doesn't work. It's just and you need to do that because you've just got the wrong architecture, the wrong blueprint, the wrong people in the wrong team and it's just a dog's breakfast, and to hold the whole thing together you've got to do it by brute force and that's where control and command come in.

Ed Chan:

But if you do it right, get those things in place, as I said, get the right people in the right seat, and when someone's in the right seat and they're in their flow, they're really happy. You don't have to manage them. They're looking forward to coming to work, they can't wait to get to work and they can't wait to get down and do the work. So you've got to get those pieces right. And if you don't get those pieces right, the symptom is you've got this supposedly bad person and I'll never hire another staff again because they give me so many problems, but address the cause.

Wize Mentoring:

Yeah, and as a smaller practice as well, when you've got fewer people we often experience this, where you do have an issue with putting someone in the wrong seat it can certainly disrupt things at a greater scale because you've got fewer people to manage within the practice. So getting the right people in the right seat in amongst the blueprint of the team structure is just the perfect way to position the practice moving forward because you just have less of those headaches. Absolutely so, ed. I want you to talk a little bit about this because your views are quite contrary to some of the commentary in the opinion you know generally about how to run a practice, which I love because when you actually start talking about it it makes so much sense.

Wize Mentoring:

But one of the things you do talk about, which is contrary to many popular opinions, is when looking for good talent for your practice, you talk about qualifications versus productivity. Can you walk us through this?

Ed Chan:

Yeah, absolutely. When we help people recruit and we've got a recruitment offering product, when they put an ad in they always go for qualifications CPA or CEA and so forth. For me qualifications are important and I don't want to downplay that. But for me, it's more about productivity. I've seen people that have got degrees three, four degrees but they're really slow in the work. And in our industry, it's not just any old accountant you've got to hire, because some accountants should not work in our industry and they should work in the public service or they should work in commerce because you can take your time to do things over there. But in our industry, you've got to be quick. And if you hired somebody who took three hours to do a task as opposed to somebody else who took only an hour to do the task, you might pay them the same. But the one that takes three hours to do it is extremely expensive because they're just so slow and their productivity is so low. And the other thing with qualifications is it doesn't guarantee productivity and when they're fully qualified they're very sort of sought after, if you like, because of their qualifications, because everybody out there is after qualifications and you can just see the ads. You know they need to be CPA and this and that, and because they're so sought after. Often when things don't go so well in business they'll just move. It's so easy to move. But when they've got less qualifications it's harder for them to move because they're not suited to the advertisements that are out there.

Ed Chan:

For me, if I had a choice, it's all about productivity and obviously if someone was qualified, then that's great. But more important to me is whether can you do the work and how fast can you do it. And on the accountant side, in the grinding side, when we recruit, we put them through a test that not only tells us they can do the task that they say they can do, because often someone will say to you yeah, I can do that, but we actually get them to do the task. So we know that. You know their definition of can do it is not different to our definition of can do something. And then we measure how slow or fast they are. So we time them and that's the key to the way we recruit, whereas most of the other recruitment agencies don't do that. They just look at people's qualifications, look at their personality, and look at their experience and they don't identify productivity.

Ed Chan:

I know I think differently from most firms. People always say that to me and it's always opposite to what everybody else is thinking. I know that. But it's about outcomes and the decisions you make each day starts with your thinking, because those decisions you make lead to actions, and actions lead to outcomes, and outcomes determine where you end up in life. So you've got to start with your thinking. Part of these programs is to help you think the correct way so you can make the right decisions of these programs is to help you think the correct way so you can make the right decisions.

Wize Mentoring:

Jamie, you were talking to me earlier about this, actually, because when we're talking about the qualifications versus productivity, you're hands-on helping firms at the moment. You know recruit for certain roles and you've had pushback when you've told you know practice owners to remove the need for certain qualifications on job ads and then, having seen the result of you know, an influx of decent candidates comes through as a result. Any comments on that?

Jamie Johns:

Yeah, I think it's just where we get the advice from Brenton. So you know over the years when you start your own firm and with most of us, whether you know you've got your own bookkeeping company or accounting company. And you know you've got your own bookkeeping company or accounting company and you know you've either got a cert for you've got some sort of qualifications or you've got a university degree or you're. You know you're either one of the members of the professional body. So it's almost instinctive that when you're hiring on your position description you put CPA or CA, you know, required or preferable. I think it's just instinctive that we do that, given our own education process, and four years or whatever at uni is a long time. So when we go to we just instinctively put that on there and you can get lost in the translation between having the right qualifications versus having the right experience.

Jamie Johns:

Or you know it's pretty easy things to focus on, because when I'm helping people you know do their job advertisement. We want to go really wide in the recruiting process. So if you just sort of have on there you know CPA, qualification or whatever qualification required, you're really limiting the scope of the net, if you like, of who you're going to hire, Brenton. It just reflects its experience and the practicality of seeing who is actually productive. You know, for example, this morning I was on a you know, a mentoring call and, going through team design, you know one of the people that we had actually had like a Ph. D. in management or an MBA in tax and I thought, wow, you know, this person must be super awesome. And actually, the firm owner said, oh no, I'm thinking about getting rid of him. So I wasn't at all laughing about the thing about getting rid of him, but the fact that you can just focus too much on qualification. Yeah, if you just focus on qualifications, you're missing the whole point. You want to focus on productivity and getting results.

Wize Mentoring:

I think it as well, certainly in the current environment. The feedback we're getting from Australia is that it's very hard to find really good talent in Australia for certain roles at the moment, and that's been voiced as well in other countries. So you know, and you also, smaller practices are constantly competing with the bigger end of town, and also now you know larger tech companies and industries taking account and becoming more attractive as well. So having that sort of out- of- the- box thinking certainly allows you to broaden your talent pool that you're working from for when you're recruiting Tim. I just wanted to quickly call on you. You've been hiring, you know, anywhere from senior client manager all the way down to your grinding team over the last 18 months.

Brenton Ward:

Any commentary on you know this approach of what Ed and Jamie have been discussing today yeah sure, I've hired five offshores this year and three onshore production managers, and in the past, we'd go two or three years without hiring anyone and I kind of I looked back on it after we kind of had this rapid- fire hiring season rather, and I thought the past we'd go two or three years without hiring anyone and I kind of I looked back on it after we kind of had this rapid- fire hiring season rather, and I thought the only reason we were able to hire so many people so quickly was that we had the capacity planning, we had the team set up and it just made the hiring just so, so, so easy to do. So I would recommend really getting a sense of, as Adam Javis said, don't throw bodies at the problem. What do you actually need? Look at the resource mix, look at your capacity plan, and that can tell you whether or not you need people.

Brenton Ward:

You can't do enough planning in that stage, in that early stage, and it is I've felt at my own business. It is better to have a seat empty than a seat filled by the wrong person. It just is. It doesn't seem intuitive when you're there, but there might be more work to do without a person gone, but it's more pleasurable and the team just clicks. And because we're building these interdependent teams and the firms are interdependent, you really need everyone to be clicking, otherwise, the high achievers have resentment, or if the admin, for instance, is not doing too well, it goes back onto the accountants. And so the more that you're building these interdependent teams, just the more important is that you get the hire right to get off the get-go. Keep team morale high and keep building these interdependent teams.

Wize Mentoring:

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Thomas, you've also been doing quite a bit of hiring over the last 12 months. Would you concur with Tim? And any comments on Ed and Jamie's thoughts?

Thomas Sphabmixay:

Yeah, 100% with Tim. We were in a situation sometime earlier this year where we had a senior production manager who basically froze our production and it was really dire. Work basically did not move. So you know, having a team structure in place makes it really easy to know who you need to get back into that role in that seat. It's not just getting anybody to come in and fill up that role.

Thomas Sphabmixay:

It's okay if I lose a senior production manager, I'm going to get a senior production manager or I'm going to restructure the team so that this client manager might have to fill that role for a bit while I get a senior accountant offshore underneath them, and then we'll work our way back up to having those two roles separated again. So it makes the whole process a lot more strategic. It's just factual. You're working from the capacity planner, the ideal team structure, and that's become very clear. It shouldn't be too difficult of a thing to get. You know, teams are designed to scale, so it's this structure. It makes it very simple to go about that. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.

Wize Mentoring:

And Kristy said certainly test your systems and processes in place when you have a key seat sitting. Bacon, absolutely, so you realize Kristy's pointed out. There you start to see now all the foundational pieces of the puzzle for why it's overlay each other and how they connect because the team structure bolts into your traffic flow system, which bolts into your systems and processes. Ed, I think it's important to go back to the roles that we are looking to fill on a daily basis. So for everyone's benefit, I know everyone on this line has been investing time in the vault and understanding the team structure but for everyone's benefit, can we recap on the sort of the finder, minder, grinders, and what we should be looking for with the lens on of recruitment?

Ed Chan:

Oh, absolutely. This is so important because it's in the spirit of bringing complementary skills to the team. So you know, like, if I use that soccer team analogy if you've got the wrong person as a goalie and you need someone who's got really good reflexes to stop goals, but they don't have any reflexes and they just stand there whilst the ball gets kicked past them, then they're in the wrong seat and of course, they let everybody down, and it doesn't matter how hard the forwards are working. If the goalie is just letting goals in on the other end, it's just counterproductive. So in this team structure here, the senior client manager is only as good as his or her second in charge, and the second in charge of the two ICs, if you like is the senior production manager.

Ed Chan:

If the senior production manager the green avatar that you can see is not very good, then the workload just ends up on the senior client manager's desk.

Ed Chan:

And often when you go and talk to a senior client manager because their role is to increase their portfolio of clients and increase their fees, and the only way that you can do that is to spend more time in front of your clients. Now you talk to them, you do strategy work with them.

Ed Chan:

You do tax planning work with them, you call them up and you have a meeting and tell them the results of their accounts, not just send it out to them in a post. In order to do those things, you need to work below you to get them done. But if the senior production manager below them is hopeless and they end up having to check everything themselves and then they're caught up in just doing grinding work, which in this case is checking and reviewing, then they can't do their job properly. Tim can share with you an experience where he had the wrong senior production manager in place, which is the green avatar, we kept thinking that the senior client manager was hopeless, but in fact it was the senior production manager and as soon as we replaced that person, the whole thing flowed, and I'll just throw it across to Tim to share that experience with us.

Brenton Ward:

Yeah, sure, we've got a senior client manager and every month she'd fail to hit her targets for about six months and her two ICs, it says, wanted to be a client manager. They didn't want to do any production or they didn't want to manage any production, and so the people underneath weren't being used. And whenever we asked, what's going on, they said I don't have enough time and she was working back late the two, I see. As soon as she said I didn't have enough time, something clicked in my head and I realized that she was. She had a grinder mentality and she was in the wrong seat. So you can see there, the client manager. There she was. We put her in the production manager seat, but she really wanted to be in the client manager seat and she was actually fulfilling the grinding role underneath there.

Brenton Ward:

And what happened was when we got rid of her and put some, well, she actually left of her own accord. She didn't want to manage people. We put someone else in there and that person said I don't have enough resources and we started hiring more people offshore for her. I realized the crucial difference between the manager was not saying I don't have enough time because they're thinking of grinding and doing it all themselves but say I don't have enough resources and that they're thinking about a whole team leveraging basically their knowledge across a whole team to get it done.

Brenton Ward:

And once we put that production manager in place, her team was doing the fees that they'd scheduled each month and it's upwards of a hundred K a month and it was that one person that made all the difference. It wasn't a body count thing Initially. We only had one grinder offshore underneath her onshore. Rather, we actually subbed out the 2ic that wasn't doing it. Putting the right manager in the 2ic seat did not increase the head count and they were flowing through more work and that was kind of Ed's whole thing of two plus two equals five. It's just not about head count. Before I met Ed I would have just kept throwing more and more people at the team and they would have all it just wouldn't have had any significant output increase.

Wize Mentoring:

So that was a huge lesson for me. Yeah thanks, Tim. Oh good. So, Jamie, you know you're actively obviously again hiring for yourself and other firms between these three roles of finders, minders, and grinders, where we've got client managers, senior production managers, and accountants. Any commentary on this? You know the different recruitment approach for each of those three roles yeah, thanks, Brenton.

Jamie Johns:

Particularly with the client manager roles, it's really a focus on those people being, you know, the classic people person type skills. So you know they've got to have good emotional intelligence, they've got to have good interpersonal skills. That's the number one thing, particularly with the client managers. You couldn't stress that enough. I mean, across the board and all the hires, we always look at attitude. You know attitude. I think we often forget we might find someone who's fantastic, skill- wise or qualification- wise, but you just can't train attitude. So when we're so close to hiring it ourselves, we forget to see the attitude. The attitude displayed literally every time there's a contact point in the hiring process the ability to fill out forms, the ability to respond quickly. It's just every contact point you have just shows what the attitude is like. And if you've got attitude, that's, you know, one of the main things to work with across all the different areas, all the different aisles going on.

Jamie Johns:

And look, talking about the senior production manager. You know those types of people, they're not so much a people person but they're very technical. So you need someone in that green avatar to be a very technical person. The ability to review work, the ability to. You know, fix areas and not just say you know, oh, it's quicker if I fix it myself. You know, that's like the number one thing. You should have someone in that role who has the ability and the right attitude where you can say to them well, can you review the team's work? And you know, send back review points. Don't just fix it yourself, because send back review points so that the whole team learns in the process and not just say, you know, it's quicker if I do it myself.

Jamie Johns:

So you know the senior production manager's role, along with the assistant client manager and the senior client manager and the senior client manager, they're sort of really the stable terminals that you want on the team and particularly as you've got a fee base that goes from 600,000 and then up to a million, they're sort of really the two barriers and on that journey if you can fulfill those two roles, you're well on your way to building a solid team.

Jamie Johns:

The senior client managers they're the hardest to find. I think Ed always says that people with good interpersonal skills, you're sort of just born with that DNA in that sense and you're either like people or you don't. There's about 20% of the population, I guess, because it can be very hard to teach interpersonal skills, whereas it's a lot easier to find people who are like the accountants and the bookkeepers and that just get through the work, do that production work. So once you design this team and you find each person in that seat from a very strategic level, then you can get that traffic flowing right. And we always talk about what we call the communication and the production traffic.

Ed Chan:

Just wanted to add to what Jamie said that in that senior client manager role, where they're facing the client and they're doing you know they've got the relationship with the client you want to hire an intrapreneurial person, not an entrepreneurial person. Tim was looking for a senior client manager and Tim's dad's from the old school and he chose this guy that was very, very entrepreneurial. The problem with an entrepreneurial person is that eventually they'll leave and take those clients with them and then you'll have a problem long-term. The intrapreneurial person is more inclusive. They want to work in a team. They don't want to go out there and work for themselves. So you've just got to be very careful that you don't hire that entrepreneurial person. And I remember Tim and I were debating Tim's dad about the person that he chose because we thought that, yes, on the surface he looked, really he was perfect. He was just the perfect person, but he was just too entrepreneurial. We had to convince dad that we needed another person that was more suitable. I'll let Tim talk about that.

Brenton Ward:

Yeah, thanks, mate, just really quickly on that. The person that my dad wanted, who's the CEO and founder? They really had good personal skills and they were able to sell themselves and we caught them out in a couple of not lies but they exaggerated what they knew about something and we actually went with the person. The second person we interviewed and it was probably the worst job interview I've ever been in my life. She was almost crying. She kept stuttering, muttering. My dad said to have a glass of water and calm down. It's okay, you know, it was so bad. I learned something pretty important then Most accounts cannot sell themselves. I had to bring it out of her. I was like have you managed? She said yeah, yeah, yeah. I said offshore, onshore. She said offshore, how many five do you know? And I was like, oh my gosh, like you know, this is it. She left and my dad said there was no way we'd hire her.

Brenton Ward:

You know she can't talk to clients or she just wasn't impressive. I don't want to say she's the best production hire I've ever had because I've got, yeah, someone's spouse also in that role, but she did an amazing, amazing job. And I put her with the pickiest accountant I've ever met, ever met, and she cannot say a bad word about her, which floored me. Ed and Jamie say to be objective.

Brenton Ward:

My gut feeling was that she could do the job, but if I didn't have this image in my mind of what I needed in that role, I definitely would have passed on her.

Brenton Ward:

Like, if you know, if I'd interviewed her six months before I met Ed and Jamie, 100 without a doubt would have passed on her. And I love this because when you're being objective about it, I'm sure a lot of other firms would pass on her. And I love this because when you're being objective about it, I'm sure a lot of other firms would pass on her as well. And what you can do is, as Ed says, he's looking for something that other people aren't looking for but that gives you an actual advantage when you're out there in the market. And it's a very, very tough hiring market right now, really tough hiring In the last six months. Offshore and onshore. It's just gotten tougher and tougher, probably because of the closures, the border closures but anything that gives you that edge over your competitors in hiring is just a huge benefit to you and your firm in my opinion, or has been for me.

Wize Mentoring:

Jamie, I want to touch on this process really quickly. Can you just take us over the four steps of the hiring process you've developed? I mean, I know over the last two months you've helped firms hire. I think we've hired about 25 people in practices over the last two months. So, using this process, can you talk us through it?

Jamie Johns:

Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely, and it's a great segue, for what Tim said is in terms of the process. It's all about the process. You know, if you've got a goal, the goal is one thing, that's the what. But you must have a process or a system of how to get to the goal, and that's part of WizeT alent, of what we do. It's interesting to hear what Tim says.

Jamie Johns:

I've been on interviews where the person just hasn't talked. You know, we've done an interview like this and there was one interview with an offshore accountant. They were almost rude you could have seen it as rude and the firm I was working with said oh no, that's a. You know I can't work. That's a bad hole out and they just wanted to like the person. I said you don't have to like them, that's just their personality. You're not hiring on personality, not in this particular role as an accountant Anyhow. So we went, you know we followed the process which you've got there on the screen, and in the end, you know it turned out the person was just nervous in the interview and they turned out to be a fantastic hire because they were just such an output person. So I just come back to being that objective. You don't have to like the person that you're interviewing, that's number one and just follow a process. So you know, analyze.

Jamie Johns:

The first sort of steps in this analysis is do we actually need someone? So go back to your capacity plan. Do you have enough team members or have you got too many? So you know, that's sort of the first thing is, if you need capacity, well, which person do you actually need on the ideal team? Is it a client manager? Is it a senior production manager or is it a bookkeeper or an accountant? Like, actually determine who you need. Then make sure, if you're going to hire, that you take your team on the journey. You know, I've seen firm owners where they just go and hire someone. They don't even tell the team about what they're doing. So, importantly, communicate with your team and go together on that journey. Don, importantly, communicate with your team and go together on that journey. Don't just hire someone and say, look, you know, guys, tomorrow I've got someone starting and so you know you've really got to determine who you need.

Jamie Johns:

So, capacity, the resource mix, who do you actually need? Then you've got to go through the process of testing the candidates and, as Ed said, give them an array of tests. You know, give them a thousand tasks to do, and if they do the task successfully and look at the time, that they respond in, all the time they take to do the test and and what score they get on the test and they compare that with two or three candidates, you're well on your way of being objective. So it's really Brenton and sort of one of those things in the screen we don't have time to sort of go too deep into. But the biggest thing I say is you must have a process, and the process that we've developed at WizeTalent is, you know all my 20- odd years class of experience and eds as well as everything that we see every day in this recruiting area, which is really hard area to nail, and you know one of the biggest problems we've got, but it's followed the process that we have right down to assessing them and then onboarding them as well. You know what's the process to onboard them and bring them into the firm, I think.

Jamie Johns:

Just finally, Brenton, the only comment I'll make is it's sort of like it's really a marketing and advertising role.

Jamie Johns:

You've got to really cast a wide net and that's through the job description, a lot of the firms, firms that we work with, we ask them to do a video of themselves and people really shy away from that because it's outside their comfort zone. But people in this day and age, want you to be authentic, they want to see you and they want to know why they should work for your firm over someone else. So it's an old saying a picture tells a thousand words. And then also manage the expectations up front what salary? Thousand words. And then also manage the expectations up front what salary, what are the working hours? Where are we working? You know what's the logistics. So get the big rock sorted out. You know, I've seen processes where they've gone through all the interviews and got down to it. They didn't agree on the salary and just wasted everyone's time. So, yeah, very important to follow that process for any comments on that Ed. Yeah, really important that you don't judge a book by its cover.

Ed Chan:

It's so, so such a big mistake. And both Tim said that and Jamie said that the people that don't look right are not necessarily the wrong people. And the only way you can identify those right people is through the process. Put them through the process and then that makes it easier. I mean, it's only human nature to hire someone that you like and someone that you know assimilates with your personality and so forth. But it's all about productivity and I mean, if you like the person, that's a bonus.

Ed Chan:

But the first thing is about productivity. Can they do the job, job? And how productive are they? They shouldn't take three hours to do something when everybody else is taking one hour to do it. So that's the first priority, then the second one it all sort of falls in around that, but the process will identify that productive person for the right role. So the person who's a senior client manager has a different recruitment process to the senior production manager. They're just different positions on the field and they do different things. So the process that you take them through is different because their roles are different. So I can't stress enough, reaffirm what Jamie's saying is go through the process, don't take shortcuts, and once you find that person, be really quick in taking them on, because good people go very, very quickly. I've seen firms do all the hard work identifying the person and spend too little time and start to hesitate and then they offer them the job and it's too late. The candidates accept another job application. So be quick, they don't hang around, and Jamie Tim Thomas.

Wize Mentoring:

Thank you, guys, for your insights today. Thank you so much for joining us, thanks for investing the time, and have a fantastic afternoon, evening, or night, wherever you are. Thanks, guys. Thanks for tuning in. If you like this episode, please remember to subscribe and leave us a five-star review. For more practical, wise tips on how to build a business that runs without you, head over to wizementoring. com/ podcast to download a free copy of The Accountant's 20-Hour Workweek Playbook. We've included a link in the show notes below. See you on the next episode!

Intro
How to find and manage good people
The common mistakes in hiring talent
How can you transition from being a business owner to becoming a leader?
Qualifications vs. Productivity
Wize's concept of finders, minders & grinders
The importance of hiring based on attitude
The difference between intrapreneurial from entrepreneurial person
Best practices for recruitment