Rowboat teamwork

We’ve talked about how to hire accountants and accounting staff and how challenging it can be. But the often ignored, yet critical step to success, is how these new team members are on boarded.


In this article, we’ll discuss 5 steps to remember when on boarding a new team member.

Step 1: How they will be measured

First things first, the new team member needs to know how they will be measured. Too often we say “do an exceptional job”, but never outline what that means. This is where target metrics and value communication is important. Ideally these should also be mentioned during your recruiting phase as well, but if not, be sure to mention them to the new team member.

Here are two critical points to remember

  • Does the new team member understand the company values (and example of how they’re used during work?). For example, if a company value is “go above and beyond”, do you have a story to share of someone on the team doing that?
  • Target metrics: What are the core metrics you measure your firm success by? For some accounting firms, that’s profitability. For others, that might be month over month growth. Or turn around time for your workflow. Does your new hire understand these metrics, and the goals they’re expected to reach?

Step 2: Communication Expectations

When setting up a new team member, you must communicate how the team communicates. Is it ok to “pop in” to an office. Is email preferred? Or a chat tool? Or a phone call? Or request a meeting for bigger questions?

Here are common communication expectations they need to be set:

  • When you have a question
  • When you see something broken
  • Contributing to the team

Step 3: Meeting Cadence

Meetings are a core part of your firm or practice, but are these “surprises” for new hires, or did they have an overview of the meeting cadence, as well as what is expected during those meetings?

For example, daily stand ups are supposed to be quick, 1-2 minute updates. Weekly 1-1’s are 30 minute meetings, where they get 10-15 minutes to talk about anything on their mind. Monthly meetings are metric and goal based, to see how the team is doing from targeted vs actual. This high level meeting expectation (and cadence) should be communicated upon the new hire coming on board

Example of meetings to communicate:

  • Daily Huddles / check ins
  • Weekly 1-1’s
  • Monthly Metric and team meeting

Step 4: Education:

While this is a step 5, this is a very common mistake firm owners make as they onboard a staff or team member. There is little to no education. The owner is busy, the team is busy, and the team member is set to “sink or swim”. For the majority of new hires, that means they sink. And them sinking costs your firm significant time and money.

You need to have a process to educate the new hire on your way of doing business. This is as simple as answering the phone, emails, or connecting with a client, to completing monthly books or yearly returns. Clearly we’re biased, but having a written checklist and/or process to complete work is critical, and housing it inside a workflow software for your accounting firm is needed to properly scale your firm.

For education, here’s a common framework that helps with larger, service based items.

Process for on boarding new hire (especially if they’re inexperienced)

  • I do, you watch
  • I do, you help
  • You do, I help
  • You do, I watch

Step 5: Understanding and having Frequently Ask Questions (FAQ) documented

Finally, remember to list a resource where team members can do to access common (but critical) questions they need answered.  These are often overlooked questions that, when not centrally located, comes up as another distraction during your day. You want to free up your time so you can focus on the places where you add value, not admin roles and simply Q&A. As such, grab a google doc or put in your process software a place where your team can answer common questions such as:

  • Payments & Paychecks
  • Common tools we use (and training for them)
  • Benefits, insurance, PTO
  • Company Holiday’s
  • 1 pager for mission, vision, and values
  • 1 pager on how to pitch the firm

Remembering these 5 points can be the difference between a success hire and one that leaves after 90 days (and costing your firm tens of thousands of dollars in lost time and opportunity).

Are you setting up new team members in Jetpack? Be sure to connect with your workflow specialist to access your team training programs! 

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