Have you ever had to turn down a client because you simply didn’t have the time or resources to prepare more returns? Have you been less attentive to your customers because you’re trying to grow your business? If your workload is overflowing and your work quality is suffering, it’s probably time to hire some help.
As a first step, you must define the role you are trying to fill and the type of skills you’re looking for in an applicant. Here are some things to consider as you begin the search.
What kind of help do you need?
You already know it takes a lot more than tax expertise to run a successful business. The key is to hire an employee who can help you serve more clients, so your business can grow. With this in mind, figure out precisely what you need your employee to do. Do you need someone to help you prepare more returns, or do you need assistance with day-to-day business operations? If you’re looking for the latter, consider hiring for these job titles:
- Data transcriber – reviews, examines and manages documents
- Administrative assistant – answers phones, performs customer outreach
- Bookkeeper – manages your billings and financial liabilities
When you’re ready to start drafting a job announcement, focus on the most critical tasks the employee will need to do and the most vital outcomes required from the position. Look at existing job descriptions for inspiration and to help you determine the experience and skills needed for that position.
How much can you afford?
When you first hire someone, you should expect it to affect your bottom line. But, if you carefully selected someone who could help your business grow, the result will ultimately be an increase in profitability.
A new employee costs more than just the agreed-upon salary or hourly pay. You’ll also have to consider extra expenses like Social Security, Medicare, unemployment insurance, and benefits. You should approach salary discussions with a neutral stance. Know the maximum you’re willing to pay, but also set a minimum. This helps ensure that you’re being competitive in the job market.
Should you hire an employee or a contractor?
As you know, tax preparation is typically a seasonal business, so you may not need or be able to hire a full-time, year-round employee. In some ways, contracting is simpler than hiring temporary staff because you won’t have to turn around and lay off workers as the busy season comes to an end. When the terms of the contract are over, then, you may choose to extend or end their services, based on your needs.
Note: contractors typically work independently, meaning they can say when and how they accomplish their work; as the client, you set the standards for output. If this arrangement can work for you, expand your search to include contractors.
Is this applicant the right one for the job?
As part of your hiring process, ask – and check – your applicant’s references to find out more about work ethic, values, and whether they’d be able to help you meet your goals. You may find it’s better to hire a motivated employee who you can train, than someone with experience who is difficult to work with.
With this in mind, pay attention to these soft skills during an interview:
- Do they make eye contact? Are they giving you their full attention?
- Are they courteous?
- Do they appear impatient?
- Are they on time for the interview?
- Do they answer your questions and provide references when asked?
- Do they meet or speak to the requirements in the job description?
Remember, your employee may be expected to interact with your clients, and those first impressions are important. An applicant could have plenty of credentials, but there is more to a great employee than what’s on the resume.
All TaxSlayer Pro software packages offer unlimited preparers – meaning you can share your software with as many employees as you need at no additional cost. Compare our options and see how to get a free trial TaxSlayer Pro.
This article was last edited on November 8, 2021.