We often talk to business owners who manage every function of their business. On the whole, this is done well. Where this approach falls down is when the business owner begins delegating. Without clear processes to follow, spending just a couple of sessions training a staff member in a process simply doesn’t cut it.
I’ve been working with a business that had a huge ‘key person’ risk. With only minor and part-time assistance the business manager does everything: rostering staff, paying staff, dealing with IT issues, bookkeeping, month-end reporting, and ad hoc requests from the owners. As the saying goes, the list goes on. With covid-19 prominent, and the business being in a high risk industry, our first recommendation was to have checklists and processes in place. This is where I jumped in in my role with Accru, having had similar prior experience with other clients, including when a key person suddenly retired.
Without any documented processes, or even workpapers for guidance, checklists and processes, and everything else the business needed were very difficult to pick up. And I was a Chartered Accountant with a team of 15 other Accountants to rely on for support! Nevertherless, the job was done. With a documented checklist and manual, we now rest easy, knowing (as the owner does), that if this key staff member falls ill, or leaves suddenly, someone can step in.
A documentation process includes:
Daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly checklists can be useful tools to ensure all tasks are done. These checklists should include everything from banking to leave accrual journals.
Who does what, where documents are stored, relevant passwords, and access lists are examples of important procedures. And procedures for adding a staff member, managing the exit of a staff member, and changing job descriptions, are just a few further examples of important procedures.
An infographic of the systems you use in your business – be it technology, or equipment, and how these are managed is always useful. The infographic should include software details – what they do, who has administrator access etc.
Think step-by-step instructions. In this case, screenshots galore. I’ve seen great examples of loom videos used to record your screen as you work through processes. Our advice at Accru is to use whatever forum works best for you, and manage this forum in a manner that allows easy access for others.
Covid-19, more than anything else, has shown us that sick leave is unplanned. But look around at the key people you know in business. They’re often the ones who grab the laptop when sick at home. They call in and advise and make arrangements when they should be resting. Business owners love and appreciate the dedication of these staff, but it’s not necessarily fair, or SAFE, to rely on them.
We also find that when it comes to selling your business, documented processes reassure a purchaser – reducing the risk, and making them comfortable to pay a higher price! Do yourself a favour and document your systems and processes today. If you need assistance getting started, please contact your local Accru office.