When you’re overwhelmed by the daily work and responsibilities of running a firm, you find yourself thinking “If I only had more hours in the day”. How do I free up more time in my accountancy firm?
It’s natural to feel that way when you’re head down in the work. But it’s possible you don’t need more hours in the day at all – you just need to find and develop the right people.
Running a firm is a lot of pressure when you don’t have the right people trained to the right level. You want to be able to delegate and free up time, but you don’t feel confident giving the work to those you’ve employed around you.
We’ve found no magic wand to create more hours in the day (yet), but we can help you take steps to:
- Adjust your own mindset and become a better leader
- Develop your existing team into future managers and partners
- Share the load with your team and free up your own time
Though this is largely about the team, it all starts with you.
Creating more time depends on individual wellbeing and a unified mindset. Lead your business head up, not head down.
You know from the conversations you have with your own clients, running any business is a tough balancing act. Getting the balance right is the dream. To have the freedom to choose how much time you spend on the business Vs how much you spend with family, at sports days and school plays, the hobbies you love or on new ventures. To feel secure enough to make a pre-emptive exit or retirement plan.
But when the balance is off, we really do feel the lack of freedom. Work is never-ending and stress feels uncontrollable. We’ve made mindset a huge part of the Armadillo Academy for exactly this reason.
Your mindset and wellbeing is crucially important to the development of your team.
When you’ve largely relied on yourself, it can be tempting to try and do it all on your own to “save time”, but if you don’t share the load nothing will change. Even if you have the best team in place, you need to learn to delegate well so they can take things off your plate.
Working on your mindset means:
- Learning to delegate so you can prioritise your time better
- Understanding your goals for the firm and sharing them with the team
- Focusing on your own wellbeing as a Director, so you can direct the wellbeing of your team
We run regular goal setting sessions and we encourage you to share your vision with your team. As we say in our blog: ‘What does the future look like for your accounting firm?’, if your teams don’t have clarity on the direction you want your practice to head in, and understand and buy into what is needed to drive it there, it can be akin to taking a toddler on a road trip.
We also run sessions to focus on your wellbeing. As Steve B, one of our Academy members said – “it’s all too easy to get anxious”. Serious leaders need to focus on their own wellbeing in order to lead a team. Reducing this anxiety means developing your team and sharing the load. But it all starts with your mindset. Recognising your own role in promoting a stress free environment is vitally important.
Starting with mindset means committing to running your business head up. You’ll better understand your role as a leader and be able to figure out what you need to do to upskill your team.
Finding a unicorn is near impossible (especially when you don’t have the big firm budget) so you need to train and develop your team so they can support your vision
Wouldn’t it be amazing to just put out a job ad and find lots of perfect candidates, with both the technical and interpersonal skills to win clients and nail the work?
Your own experience probably tells you this isn’t a likely possibility.
We work in a profession in which recruitment and promotion are traditionally based on technical excellence. Training is often provided for professional exams but little else. The focus is largely on Gross Recurring Fees (GRF) or chargeable hours. Developing teams often falls solely on leaders who already have a thousand things to do, causing it to be neglected.
There is a better way to train and develop your team, so you can give them more responsibility. We wrote a whole blog on it here: Is there a better way to develop our teams?
In the blog, Matt tells a personal story about his own development in the accounting industry.
“Recoveries were deceptively good. But morale was terrible. Those with the largest portfolios were promoted (despite not giving even the merest hint that they had the interpersonal skills to teach or lead) and they piled the pressure on to those beneath them. Some survived (I wouldn’t say flourished) but many unhappy junior staff left as soon as they could. The expense of their professional training wasted because their personal development and the environment in which they worked were neglected”.
The impact that management has on an organisation’s performance cannot be understated. Yet it is often taken for granted, with people just expected to naturally ‘step-up’ and manage teams.
Rather than wasting more time looking for the perfect unicorn, focus on how you can develop your team into future managers and partners. Here’s some information on how the Armadillo Academy training programmes will help you do that.
Success always comes back to the team around you
There are plenty of hacks and tips to free up pockets of time in the day-to-day running of your firm. But most of those hacks come back to having confidence in the team around you.
You can achieve greater efficiency with systems and processes, but you need to have the right people in place to follow them.
You can outsource areas of the business, but make sure you have the right people in the right seats internally first. It’s worth making sure the individuals on your team are doing their best and most fulfilling work before looking outwards.
Whatever role you’d like to have in the firm to feel most fulfilled, getting there depends on creating a learning environment and developing the people around you.
So why not get started? Check out the Armadillo Academy to see how you can start building a stronger team from within and free up more time in your accountancy firm.