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How to Build Strong Accounting and Bookkeeping Teams

By November 2, 2023No Comments

How to Build Strong Accounting and Bookkeeping Teams

Shadow person on a wood block that says Welcome and another block says Onboard

Whether you’re just starting out, gaining traction, or a seasoned veteran, clear processes are fundamental to the success of any business.

At One 8 Solutions, we adopt this philosophy across the board and adhere to a companywide standard – from marketing and sales to vetting potential clients and managing day-to-day operations. Not only does it maintain the quality of our work, but it prepares us to navigate any unexpected personnel changes with grace.

If you’re looking to build a top-notch team, start with hiring the right talent and organizing onboarding activities in a focused way. Training, coaching, and in-depth review are equally important, every step of the way.

Want to know how we do it? Here’s a page from our hiring playbook.

The One-8 Solution Blueprint for Team Building

The Hiring Roadmap

illustration of a road with 5 different colored pin drops

Modern problems require modern solutions, so leveraging technology helps us gauge the proficiency of our candidates. They’re tested on their familiarity with tools like QuickBooks® Online (QBO) and their knowledge of job costing and payroll. At the same time, third-party platforms are used to evaluate their skills and depth of understanding (and know-how) in bookkeeping and accounting.

No matter how good a prospective employee may seem, one interview is rarely enough. Our hiring consists of an introductory round – to see if there’s a potential fit and to test their communication skills. Does the conversation flow easily? Do they communicate clearly – and not just in accounting speak. Numbers count but so does the person’s ability to engage with team members. Synergy will always be important.

As our team and management evaluate the new hire, they get a chance to dive a bit deeper into their work and ask more experience-related questions – like, how familiar are you with job accounting or project costing works in QuickBooks Online? Have you used automation or workflow streamlining to improve your accounting processes at previous jobs?

Equally important is the closing conversation, where the applicant and team get a shot at asking additional questions. It’s here, or just after, where details about compensation and benefits are shared, so make it an open and safe place for a relaxed conversation. If you’ve gotten this far, you don’t want to scare anyone away!

Onboarding Activities and Systems

illustration of a male climbing stairs of onboarding at a new job

We’ve found success with Process Street to keep track of our onboarding and help us customize checklists to create interactive workflows. Breaking it down into functional areas keeps us organized. Repetitive tasks become routine, which saves time, money, and resources – not to mention frustration.

Every new hire wants to succeed and when they’re given the tools to do that, there’s buy-in on all levels. Some applicants may be somewhat familiar with Office 365, QBO, and the QBO Accountant interface, others may have more expertise.

Knowledge of team tools may vary with platforms like QB Time (Workforce), Zoom, and Calendly – and that’s ok, as long as you’re providing training as part of their onboarding. No one will know everything – and if they do, they may outgrow their current position quickly, so all eyes ahead. How can you best use their talents? Where can they excel?

Even if your candidates are more experienced in team tools, they may require more practice in operational or workflow management applications like Keeper, Financial Cents, Liscio, and Outlook. That goes for the client-focused side too, with apps like Dext, Melio, and others. Stretching a candidate’s comfort zone allows them to grow and stay engaged.

Training and Coaching

cup of coffee next to a stack of books that read Mentoring, Training, Support, Goal, and Coaching

While expertise is valuable, there’s always room to gain new insights – even when the candidate is “seasoned or certified.” At One 8 Solutions, we believe in bite-sized learning, breaking training into seven 1.5-hour sessions. It’s here that we cover the QBO Accountant interface, the ProAdvisor program, Intuit training, and certifications. And as rules and methodologies change, we provide continued training in the finer nuances of QBO and best practices.

It’s almost impossible for a business to scale without the help of an experienced team – one that feels valued and part of a greater mission. To do that, we’ve developed a “Pair and Learn” program that allows team members to serve as mentors and teach newcomers the tricks of the trade. This allows for personal interaction, builds community, and provides employees with a direct go-to if they’re stuck, have questions, or are unfamiliar with a process.

Regular reviews and time for reflection are the last phase of the onboarding and training process. They’re typically scheduled at 30/60/90-day intervals, and then again at the 6-month and yearly markers. This helps the employer in recognizing achievements and areas of growth, and the employee in seeing his or her progress. Having clarity is important for both parties; to know where they stand, where they’re going and growing, and what the roadmap looks like for the coming year.

man holding his hands up over his ears in fear of a shadow hand above him

We all know hiring horror stories. Some are worse than others, so getting it right may take extra time, but in the long run, it’s worth it. Make it a priority to set the tone for harmonious and productive relationships.

Remember when you were first hired? Did someone take you under their wing, train you, and provide honest feedback? You may forget all the details, but if it wasn’t a positive experience, here’s your chance to fix it – or do it better. In time, your team and business will thank you for it.