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Experienced senior or manager for remote working

How do you recruit experienced practice staff?

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We're a small practice with the usual mix of small business clients

We have struggled to recruit experienced staff in the past. Main criteria are experience, reliability, professionalism, knowledge and ability.

How do you recruit? Has COVID changed this?

We're working from home most of the time and this will probably continue, with just one or two admin in the office when lock down is over. So what days and hours the new staff member works don't really matter.

What about recruiting long distance? It doesn't really matter where the new person is located, as long as they have UK experience. Everything we do is in the cloud, and the admin team scan any inbound paperwork. 

We use Accountancy Manager, OneDrive for files, Excel for ETBs, Taxfiler for accounts and tax, IRIS OpenSpace, and extract balances from QuickBooks, etc. Bought Taxcalc but haven't moved over yet. We run a few payrolls on Moneysoft. We also use some PDF software.

Client queries mostly by email. The new person wouldn't necessarily have to make any phone calls. They'll probably work on their own most of the time.

What has worked for you? We want someone capable of taking a typical case all the way through from client questionnaires and records to draft accounts and tax returns.

Does anyone use sub-contractors? We've always employed in the past. Any recommendations? What should we pay?

Thanks for your help, and I wish all of you a safe and smooth busy season.

Replies (4)

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By Paul Crowley
22nd Nov 2020 15:53

I have given up looking for experienced staff.
Paid fees for staff that left after 6 months

Now prefer to teach my own, much more expensive in my time, but at least new staff now accept everything done my way, not the way the 2 other firms did it

Thanks (2)
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By Andy556
22nd Nov 2020 22:59

Agree with Paul. If you have time to train them that would be best.

If not it's just pot luck. You might get someone good, you might get someone bad. A recruitment agent added in the mix will just mean you pay high fees to get someone but it's still down to luck, they only have a CV to work off just like you will.

I'm only a small practice so I haven't employed anyone experienced for myself but did at my old job. I tend to use subcontractors as and when needed which comes in handy during busy periods

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
23rd Nov 2020 11:02

If the number of hours worked is not important where you could target is older accountants who have retired but want to keep their brain ticking with some part time activity.

I have already gone part way down that path packing in my PT practice and keeping a 3 day a week job plus a 100 hour a year job meantime, once the three day one goes (2.5-5 years) and my life is down to the 100 hour a year job plus a couple of hours a week as a non exec, knocking out some accounts etc , especially if not fixed hours, could be quite therapeutic.

Drop me a PM in April 2023

Thanks (1)
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By Ken Howard
23rd Nov 2020 16:14

I have much better outcome when doing our own training. We've hired experienced staff, we've used experienced subcontractors, but rarely found anyone we could really rely on.

It seems there's usually a reason why experienced staff are in the market looking for work, and that reason is often that they're not as good as they think or they have other issues, such as reliability, etc.

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