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7 Common Hiring Mistakes CPAs Make!

If you’re sitting there thinking of all the unfinished work you’ve got going on, or you dread coming back from vacation because you know there’s a mountain of work that awaits you — then this blog post is for you! 

A survey of CPA practice owners across the country very quickly reveals that the biggest barrier to practice growth is no longer getting new clients — it is staffing

Are you, like many practice owners these days, finding that getting the work is not the problem? Your workload is increasing and it’s exciting, but the enthusiasm for being in such high demand is waning because all of the work is piling up on your plate. 

It’s not much fun to grow your practice if all it means is that you no longer have any time to enjoy life and you wind up a slave to your clients! You need to be able to offload these projects to competent staff, so you can keep a positive mental attitude and maintain your desire to grow. Otherwise, when our plates are too full, we have neither the bandwidth nor the appetite for much more growth! 

Is finding that right next hire holding you back from growth? Maybe you’ve tried to hire and given up? 

Here are some of the most common mistakes/pitfalls we see occur all too often when it come to hiring. 

Your workload is increasing and it's exciting, but the enthusiasm for being in such high demand is waning because all of the work is piling up on your plate.

Mistake No. 1 — Failing to Adapt

The pandemic caused much inconvenience but one major positive fallout from it for CPAs, is the talent pool available is now a lot larger! 

We’ve been able to make very high-level hires for CPA firms, many of which would just not have been possible pre-pandemic. Staff’s needs have changed and their current employers are not always willing or able to accommodate those needs. So, if you’ve known you needed to hire to get to the next level — this is definitely the time to work out all of the logistics needed to be able to hire remotely. 

Mistake No. 2 — Unwilling to Make the Investment

If hiring is the main challenge to getting to your next level of growth, switch your budget from other areas e.g. marketing, to hiring. Wherever the area of most challenge is to a business is, of course, where the owner needs to invest more. Not only in terms of financial investment, but also in time, energy, etc. 

Just because hiring is not super easy — be willing to give it the investment it requires in order to be successful. Run your ads longer than you might want to rather than trying to save money on them. Plus, if ads are not sufficient to find that hire, use headhunting tactics, which, with social media, are now available to more than just recruiters. 

Being open to non-traditional methods of hiring and non-traditional hires pays dividends to get the help you need! 

Mistake No. 3 — Too Slow

Speed is of the essence when it comes to hiring. We are all busy and none more so, than when we are short-staffed. So, it is easy to come upon a resume that looks promising and then get buried in other work. 

In a tight hiring market, time is a luxury we just do not have! 

Also, I have seen too many practice owners lose out because they wanted to “think about it.” It is important that we work on our ability to think less and act faster when it comes to hiring! Talk to us or someone who can you trust who can help you through the decision-making process quickly. 

Mistake No. 4 — Settling for someone who is far from your ideal hire

Most business owners, not just CPAs, do not look forward to hiring — they either procrastinate on it, or when they do it, they are willing to abort the process as quickly as possible, and settle for someone who is not a great fit. 

HR is not a natural talent for most business owners. They are much better at client service and rainmaking than they are at screening applicants and assessing their skillsets for the position. In addition, in a busy practice, they simply don’t have the time to devote to the high labor-intensive hiring process. 

Mistake No. 5 — Thinking your network will produce a great hire

While it is awesome if you know someone who can fill the position, this doesn’t always work. When it does work, great — you’ve just hit the jackpot!! But most of the time, it is tempting to hire someone just because you know them, or because they are family, even though they are not ideally suited, as it allows you to avoid the pesky hiring process. 

But, I have seen CPAs opt for someone they know because it is easier and they doubt their own ability to bring in a new person that they can trust. While there are always exceptions, people in general, really are good. The risks are not as high as we might think — especially when you have the right hiring and filtering techniques in place. 

Mistake No. 6 — Practice owners avoid asking tough interview questions

For many, an interview is conducted as far too much of a social interaction — with the owner trying to impress, which is fine to a degree, but not to the extent of neglecting to get answers to key questions. 

For example, here is one question I can give you that is proving very important to ask these days: “What if, when you hand in your notice, your current employer offers you a better deal to stay? How would you react to that?”

Mistake No. 7 — Failure to have a sales pitch

While this might seem to contradict mistake no. 6 — this applies when, after all of your tough questions, you decide the interviewee would be a great fit! 

Now, the challenge is — you’re likely not the only person to see this, so you’re going to have some competition. What is your sales pitch to this applicant? What is going to make the applicant remember you and feel confident that you are the best pick out of all the job offers they may receive? 

It is best to work out your sales pitch before entering the hiring process or you may find that all of that hard work to get the interview is wasted because the applicant takes someone else’s offer. 

In some cases, CPAs are not only hiring, they are looking to add a potential successor as part of their succession plan. If this is you, then it is an even more important time to revamp your hiring processes and/or engage outside expertise to ensure a very successful outcome. 

There is nothing more satisfying than helping a practice owner finally assemble a team that fully supports them, so that they can move on to the next phase of practice growth. 

Do you need help with hiring? Schedule a free consultation today. 

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