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The Practitioner: Invest in shares … of staff

AFTER THREE MONTHS of the running my own practice the profit and loss account is looking healthy – so healthy, in fact, that I am considering adding another member of staff to the team. Cashflow hasn’t been too bad either: creditors are being paid on time, savings are being put to one side for VAT, and debtors are all under 60 days. But I need to just be sure that the next few months will be as good as the previous three before making the investment.

Half of me wants to wait until the new year and see how things are after the rush in January, but will we be able to cope with the January rush without another member?

I’ve signed an agreement with a local accountant – someone I’ve worked with in the past – to provide ad-hoc man-hours for us as and when the need arises. His day rate is too expensive to have him on a full-time basis but he certainly knows how to knock a set of accounts up from a bag of crap.

Signs of growth from clients are good too. Several builder clients I have are all reporting good figures and good order books too. Several other clients are also busier than ever. Is now a good time to take the plunge and recruit? I might ask my bank manager what he thinks. He might then be willing to give the firm an overdraft if he thinks it was his idea. I would certainly feel more comfortable if we had the buffer of an overdraft.

Being an ‘ideas person’, as well as a boring accountant, I even thought of suggesting to my previous firm that we could staff-share. It would make sense to me – we would both get use of a decent, trusted member of staff for half the cost.

The chances of them saying yes, though, would be nil. They just aren’t designed to be that progressive in how they do things.

If you have shared staff in the past, please let me know how it’s worked – in fact, let me know what you think even if you haven’t. After all, it’s a blank canvas these days. Everything is up for review, including staff.

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from within their own practice – having left a regional firm in the heart of England


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