A conscientious and professional administrative staff is crucial to the success of an accounting firm of any size. If you are self-employed and your only employee is an administrative assistant, this is especially true.
Your administrative assistant is likely to perform a variety of tasks related to your tax services firm, from billing clients to assembling tax returns to interacting with clients. In light of the many hats an administrative assistant at a small accounting firm must wear, it is essential that you hire the right person for the job.
If you don’t have a lot of experience hiring people, it can be difficult to know how to go about finding a qualified administrative assistant. The following tips should make it a little easier for you to pinpoint the perfect candidate:
- Write a flawless job description. Although it is tempting to rush through the job description, doing so will make finding the right person for the job that much harder. Make sure you carefully describe each task this person will be required to perform.
- Rely on word-of-mouth. Ask around to see if colleagues or others whose opinion you trust know of any good candidates. You also can use one of the many online jobsites or a staffing agency.
- Do your homework. Once you have found a suitable candidate or candidates, screen them carefully. Ask for references and make sure you call those references. You also might want to give candidates a quiz (easily found on the internet) to test their basic bookkeeping or tax preparation skills as well as their proficiency in Word, Excel or other computer programs.
- Make the interview count. Even the most skilled candidate can be a poor fit for a particular position or firm. Before hiring a candidate, make sure that he or she really clicks with you. You want anyone you hire to have a positive attitude and also need to know that he or she is flexible (especially during the tax season when long hours are the norm) and easy to get along with.
Once you find the right person for the job, it is important that you keep your administrative assistant happy so he or she wants to stay. You can do this by offering a competitive salary, benefits and by being the kind of boss you would want. After all, the happier your administrative assistant is, the less likely it will be that you will need to embark on another employee search anytime soon!