Building a Resource Library for Your Firmby
Creating a process and resource library will allow your firm to continue operations with less disruption, reglardless of what event occurs. Moreover, it will allow for any team members to jump in and offer an extra hand or for new hires to get started on the right foot immediately.
Most accounting businesses had to close their physical offices when the pandemic first hit, causing a fair bit of turmoil. Jumping to a fully-remote operation likely caused a lot of confusion and shuffling around of duties and maybe some missed opportunities. And just when you thought you had a rhythm going, one of your staff members quits or takes a leave of absence. So what do you do?
Every accounting business has a “go-to” person and when that individual leaves for any reason (vacation, sick day or change of job), the flow of work often becomes chaotic. This often occurs when the majority of your firm’s processes are inside one person’s head. For all of the aforementioned reasons, a resource library has become essential.
Creating a Resource Library
Building a resource library can take time, so here are some options for building a database that every member of your organization can benefit from.
1. Don’t start from scratch
Building a resource library from scratch can be a daunting task. If you don’t know where to start, then start by building a document that has links directly to each of the firm’s software and products user manual and support sites.
You will have a handy list of the things you use in the firm so you can begin building a personalized process. And take my word for it that this list will come in handy if you ever need to ask questions or reinstall software for any reason. One tip is to either add license keys and activation codes directly in the document or links to password protected copies of the codes to keep it easily accessible if required for any reason.
2. Just hit ‘record’
Personally, I think video is the absolute easiest platform to use in order to get started with this project. The next time you go to handle a task, just turn on your screen recorder, plug in your mic, and talk out loud as if you were teaching someone exactly what you are doing.
It’s a good idea to disable all screen notifications and close any extra tabs or windows you have open on your computer during this time because you don’t want them showing up in the video. SnagIt, Camtasia, and Loom are great tools to get this done. It may feel awkward at first, but you will eventually get the hang of it.
You can also get the video transcribed and shortcut the creation of a document manual. Don’t forget to grab screenshots/images from the video of the step-by-step process to add to the visual representation of the process.
Let me point out that using this method does not mean you have to show your face on video, even though it may add a nice touch. And using this video will allow to you hit the different learning styles of the members on your team.
3. Lean on your team
Building a resource library does not have to be the responsibility of one person from your firm. If you have superstars in your firm who are better at different processes than others, it may be a good time to empower them to share their step-by-step process.
You can ask them to hit that record button the next time they handle a particular task. This will help the staff person feel as if they don’t have to be the go-to person anymore. It also varies the voices presented in the video library offering some style variation.
Ask team members are more dialed into the nuances of particular software in your firm to become the liaison of learning for that application. I know Liz Mason of High Rock Accounting asks members of her team to become software Spartans and take ownership of building and maintain this portion of the resource library.
The Spartans role is to not only record a use case video but also let the entire team know about any updates or changes that may affect performance. That team member can invest in additional training to become a master of the software with the expectation they will pass that learning on to the team. Using your team in this way frees up resources and helps team members develop skills they may not have otherwise pursued.
4. Make the resource library assessable
Deciding where to house this training resource can eliminate unwanted friction from the start. Because the world is moving to a more virtual one, ensuring your resource library is consumable from a PC, tablet or smartphone is a good idea. I’m a fan of making sure the information is on an app or site that needs password access to ensure your proprietary processes don’t leave the office.
Consider building on a learning platform or using a LMS plugin on your website in order to organize training into bite-sized lessons. If you host your website on WordPress check out the plug in LearnDash. Not looking to use an IT professional to build your library than options include Kajabi or Thinkific.
Want to turn your process manual into actionable checklists? Check out Process.St. and then take some time to decide how you want to deliver access to your library and how you will need to revoke it before deciding which method to choose. Also take into consideration how easy or difficult it will be to update, add, or remove information by single or multi-users.
As with any process in your firm, building a resource library is not a one-and-done task. It takes teamwork to ensure your processes stay up to date and that the document continues to stay in alignment with current firm practices.
But having a resource like this handy will allow you to cross train your staff and on-board new employees faster, getting them up to speed and right to work. Also delegating certain tasks and processes out to your staff will help you build a better, sound resource with diverse perspectives and expert information.
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Making Accounting a Little Less Taxing ® for small business owners is Nayo Carter-Gray’s goal as owner and founder of 1st Step Accounting LLC. A self-proclaimed techie Nayo decided a virtual accounting practice was the best way to experience her love of travel and still help small business owners all across the US reduce the stress of...