Entrepreneurs need to maximize the value of their time and money. Utilizing an administrative assistant is one of the single best and most affordable ways of getting a wide variety of tasks done.
Each assistant, like any employee within your business, has a specific skillset that may be different than other assistants you can find. Job responsibilities usually include tasks such as:
- Managing and organizing files
- Coordinating between departments/files/customers
- Answering phones
- Taking notes at meetings
- Data entry
Depending on the type of business and the size of the staff, some administrative assistants are used to do practically anything in the company, including bookkeeping. While it’s not often their core strength or something they are trained in, an administrative assistant is an option when determining what to do with your bookkeeping, especially when you simply don’t have the time to handle yourself.
What It Takes to Have an Administrative Assistant Handle Your Small Business’ Books
Administrative assistants are usually extremely versatile, but they aren’t professional bookkeepers. They will need guidance in order to provide dependable and above-average results. At the very least, help them to connect with a bookkeeper who understands your industry and type of business that they can use as a resource.
Every bookkeeper needs training. You should consider entry-level accounting courses and software training as a necessity in order to handle your business’ financial records.
Multi-tasking is their specialty, but you have to respect the time it takes to complete this task. If you’re giving them your bookkeeping to handle, they will need to spend less time doing other things within the business or work more hours for you than before. They will also need to be given some time to adjust to this skill and learn how to do it properly.
- A Plan Going Forward
Delegating your bookkeeping to your administrative assistant is usually a stop-gap – something you’re doing temporarily because it’s a necessity. Unless you plan to develop them into a full-time bookkeeper in the near future and hire a new administrative assistant, you need a long-term plan.
If your business continues to grow, how will you delegate future tasks? When bookkeeping requires a full-time employee, how do you plan on handling that transition?
Create a forward-looking plan laying out how you intend to delegate and manage business tasks as you continue to grow.
- A Back-Up Plan or the Ability to Do Yourself
As mentioned above, this is usually a temporary solution. If your assistant finds another job, misses a week of work, and you have to let them go, you need to have a plan in place to quickly replace them as the bookkeeper and the skills to competently handle it yourself.
- This is an inexpensive option, and due to cloud accounting software, they can work remotely.
- If they’re a valuable part of your team, even if bookkeeping doesn’t work out for the assistant, they can easily return to or learn other parts of the business.
- Assuming you didn’t hire the administrator solely for this task, you likely trust in and have rapport with the assistant, making the transition much easier.
2 Additional Things to Consider
- Are you getting the most value out of your assistant? If they are much more talented in another area of your business, it’s best to utilize them where their skills lie. You may want to find an affordable and skilled bookkeeper or outsource your bookkeeping if this is not one of their interests or current abilities.
- Having an administrative assistant often saves time and money because you’re delegating simple tasks to someone else. Bookkeeping is not a simple task and is an important part of your business as it will determine your growth and financial stability. If you have to stand over their shoulder to watch them, train and manage them, are they really saving you time or money?
This article is part of the Bookkeeping Options for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs series by Kahuna Accounting. For a summary of the six most popular options that entrepreneurs choose when handling their small business’ books, read the initial piece in the series here: Bookkeeping for Small Business: Six Options for Entrepreneurs.