Do you need an assistant, a bookkeeper, or a system?

 Technology has made it relatively easy and accessible to complete accounting tasks online using software like Quickbooks or other programs. With easier access to those programs, those accounting-like tasks sometimes get assigned to an office manager or assistant. 

Sometimes it works, but more often it doesn’t. At the end of the year, the CPA may go in and highlight mistakes or other issues that have been made along the way that need to be fixed. The office manager fixes them, but then some of the same mistakes happen again and need to be fixed a year later. 

Office managers are generally doing a lot of different jobs at one time, and it’s a great asset to have if some of those jobs drive value. But ultimately, it’s the business owner who needs to be doing the high-value activities that bring in business. They’re taking warm leads from their network and turning them into revenue. And then the support staff does the maintenance, keeps the wheels turning, and fulfills the low-volume activity.

Sometimes other business owners ask, “If I’m going to pay someone a certain amount, can I just pay that one person to do all the low-volume activities?” The problem with that approach is that there are all different levels of experience. If you’re paying one person to handle all of the low-volume activities, it’s a lot of different hats to wear. And eventually they’re going to realize they can find a different job specializing in one of those things for about the same amount of money, which leads to high turnover in your office. 

So what jobs can you begin to outsource? And at what point does the job of office assistant or office manager have a really clear and defined role rather than a catch-all role? In real estate, the accounting can be complicated. There are lots of moving parts and considerations, and it really needs to be its own separate role. 

If you’re only going to have one person sitting in your office every day, it’s more important to have someone managing relationships than managing your books. You need someone who is good with detail and can keep all the pieces of the office running. They’re taking calls, handling leads, and helping you drive revenue. Somebody else can manage the books.

Ultimately, you need a system that works for your office that keeps your operations running smoothly. As you think about the functions of your office, think about the systems you need to have in place for success and then fill the roles needed within that system. At the end of the day, the assistant should be managing your systems in order to manage the office.

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