Winning qualities to look for when hiring your financial team.

Last month we took a look at Leslie and the decisions she had to make regarding the financial business team she inherited from her father. She was advised to fire both her “martyr” bookkeeping mother and a condescending accountant holding her back from financial success and from her vision to build an empire. Can you relate to Leslie's situation? I'm not surprised. It is a common challenge!

We also defined the four important financial team members every business should have to be successful - the bookkeeper, controller, accountant and financial planner - and who these people could be in your company.

This month we will delve into where to look to find these financial experts that will have you on the way to KFP - known financial position.

Below are some ideas for finding your best bookkeeper (or your best bookkeeper/controller, etc.). Of course, you will follow good human resources procedures for recruiting and hiring. This is an informal checklist of the things I look for:

    Winning Characteristics Of A Bookkeeper/Controller:
    She loves crossword puzzles.

    He unconsciously straightens the items on your desk.

    She is impeccably neat. A messy bookkeeper is an oxymoron.

    He is young at heart. I try not to be prejudiced, but I favor kids. Kids are people who are younger than me.

    She is a Virgo or a Libra (if you buy into astrology indicators).

    He has good relationships with family, friends, significant others. Several ex-wives and the attendant emotional baggage are not good indicators.

    She is a nonsmoker. Always have a nonsmoking office.

    He takes it personally when the bank reconciliation is out of balance. It will work at him like a flea on a dog until he gets it figured out.

    She loves Microsoft Excel.

    He is a good cook. There are lots of similarities between cooking and accounting: The importance of measuring; attention to order and process; quick response to mistakes.

    She is kind, enthusiastic and has a nice voice. After all, this person is going to have to put on the CSR hat at least once in a while.

    When you ask, “Could you ...,” he replies, “Yes, I can.”

    She focuses on a task. She can enter a stack of payables without getting up even once.

    He drives people crazy with his attention to detail. He will drive you crazy at times, too. You may need to say, “I get it that it would be more accurate to take the sales accounts to the fourth decimal place. I am fine with whole numbers. It will be ok.” Better to have to “round off” the edges than work with someone who is sloppy.



Where To Look

Here are some hiding places of your next financial team:

  • Recruit new moms. The untapped resource of valuable professional skills lies with women who choose to work part-time or from home because they have young children. These moms value flexibility even more than money. Remember, all these financial positions are part-time. Also, new moms are great multitaskers. What they can get done in an hour is astonishing.

  • Develop the skills of someone who works for you. For the bookkeeper and controller duties, you do not need a degreed accountant. Is there someone on your team who has some of the characteristics listed above? Talk to him or her about expanding his or her role at your company by taking on accounting duties. You can learn accounting and financial management skills together.

  • Be nondiscriminatory in your recruiting and hiring. Look for folks that others may overlook. Physical disabilities are not a problem in these positions. I recently met a passionate bookkeeper for a big outdoor goods retailer. This woman was born with only two fingers. She loves her job and I bet she is great at it!

  • Ask your accountant and/or financial planner to recruit for you. They know people who know people. Put the word out.

    I went through this process myself when I realized that we weren't making any money and no one was going to figure out how to fix that for me. It was my responsibility. I found a great financial team and I learned enough about finance and accounting to understand how good my team is! (A “shout out” here to Gail, my sister and the World's Best Bookkeeper and Controller. Also, “shout outs” to the wonderful financial pros I have been blessed to work with -Marilyn, Joan, Elinor, Craig, Rose, Chuck, Cathy, Kim, Lisa, Jan, Jessica, Tamara, Edwina, Marianne, Simon, Gary - and I meet more all the time. Love to you!)

    Finding the right financial team to help you build your empire may appear to be a daunting task. Take heart and take my advice: Do not put up with a weak financial team. Fire them! Learn to do the duties yourself if you must. Don't be held hostage. Know there are people out there who love bookkeeping and accounting, and be determined to find them. After all, you are building an empire. What a great game to play! They will be honored to join your team.

    Do you recognize yourself in this article? I thought you might. Give me a call at 417/753-1111 if you want to talk about how to create a winning financial team - and for what to say when you fire your mom.