Hiring the Right People

By: Alyssa Johnson and Allison Ausmus, Eide Bailly’s Recruiting Team

We begin with a story. You need help to build your company. So you decide to hire some new staff. You start out with high hopes. After all, this person will be the missing piece to your team puzzle. You write the position, it gets approved and you open it. You go through all the tried & true steps, remain patient and trust that the perfect candidate will come along.

Unfortunately, this is the way too many business go about their hiring process. They stick with what has worked in the past. After all, if it’s not broke, why fix it? They don’t worry about adopting new practices in order to attract the best candidates. Rather, they hold out hope that the right candidate will find them. But what if they don’t?

Hiring the right people has a huge impact, no matter the size of your company. So it’s important to get it right. In order to help you prevent these mistakes from happening, we’ve compiled a list of mistakes organizations make when it comes to finding and hiring the right people.

We’re not saying they’re magical or anything, but by avoiding these mistakes you can hopefully have a much smoother and more successful hiring process:

Not updating the job posting or having an unclear job description. We’ve all been there. Someone leaves and you need someone ASAP to replace them. So you copy paste the old job posting and use it.

Do yourself a favor and take a moment to re-evaluate what you really want when you have an open position. Is this truly the role you need? Did the last person live up to your expectations? If your job posting does not accurately depict what you are looking for, you are going to have a frustrating time hiring & retaining your new employee.

Also, keep in mind what top talent is looking for: advancement potential. Research from Randstad reveals that most staff leave firms due to lack of career advancement. So it would be wise to develop a position that has the opportunity for advancement.

Relying on employee referrals to fill the position. While employee referrals are great, they should not be your only source of candidates. When you rely solely on employee referrals, you can limit the types of candidates you get, as well as the diversity of candidates (which can have some serious legal ramifications). Rather, encourage employee referrals by asking your current employees to share an open position with their network. Then post the position in a variety of places.

Hiring for a perfect paper match. Some qualifications and skills are nonnegotiable when it comes to hiring (think education requirements, certifications or credentials, as well as pervious relevant experience). But remember, you’re not perfect and neither are the people you’re interviewing. So think through what skills are absolute and what skills are “nice to haves” but not deal breakers.

Don’t get stuck in the rut of finding that “perfect candidate.” If you expect to find someone who checks off every requirement on the job posting, it can also draw out the hiring process for a long time.

Not conducting background checks or reference checks. A company, at minimum, should be conducting background checks on every candidate they plan to extend an offer to. Make sure this happens before an offer is even made. Why? Well surveys show that as many as a third of candidates lie on their resume.

Reference checking is more gray. Companies need to be careful when conducting reference checks, as they do not want to jeopardize the candidate’s current employment. A best practice is to ask the candidate for references of past employers (not family, friends, etc.). Let them know the type of people you would like to have as references, such as current or previous supervisors or managers, a client, a vendor, a subordinate or a coworker.

Once you get the go-ahead from the candidate to reach out to their references, make sure you know what you’re asking. Jot down questions you want to ask or any issues you want to address. Let the reference know this will be kept confidential, and then make sure you do just that – keep it confidential and use this information as a piece in decision making.

Not preparing before the interview. You’ve found a great candidate and you schedule an interview for Thursday. It’s now Thursday morning and your week has been crazy so you haven’t prepared at all. This isn’t great. Failing to do a structured interview is a big mistake. Structured interviews have been shown to have twice the predictive reliability than unstructured interviews.So what should you do?

  • Prepare and write down a list of standard interview questions to ask every candidate you interview for this particular position
  • Take time to review the resume and develop questions based on items you would like to address
  • Gather information you want to share with the candidate about your culture, team dynamics, projects they will work on, job expectations, advancement potential, etc.

Hiring can be exhilarating, frustrating and oh so rewarding. With these tips in mind, you will be on the way to identifying the ideal fit for your organization, while providing a positive experience for you, your team mates and the candidate.

Is Your Accounting System Outdated?

Is Your Accounting Software Outdated (or Outgrown)? Here are a few questions to get you thinking…

Number One | has your vendor stopped (or are they planning to stop) supporting your accounting software? It may seem obvious, but we get this one a lot.

Number Two | are you using spreadsheets (or even better, green bar paper) to track financial data or compute calculations (hint, hint…commissions, inventory, etc.)?

Number Three | do you enter manual journal entries into your accounting software? Maybe those entries are from calculations you’ve compiled in spreadsheets (see #2)? Are you operating in several systems to accomplish your accounting needs (and, of course, they aren’t capable of automatically syncing the data)?

Number Four | do you spend hours of time each month closing the books? Do you need to manually create the reports needed? Or maybe it’s because you have to manually complete the consolidation process?

Number Five | do you perform work-arounds in your accounting system to get it to do what you want?

Number Six | do you have a chart of accounts that is a mile long? Or maybe you need to create a whole new set of accounts each time you add another profit or cost center (we’re talking grants, jobs, product lines, locations, etc.)?

Number Seven | do you correspond with your customers and vendor primarily through email, fax or maybe even snail mail still?

Number Eight | does your desk look like you are endangering the tree population? Do you have paper invoices or timecards to approve coming out your ears?

Number Nine | does your system allow you to access your financial information anytime, anywhere and on any mobile device?

Number Ten | do you really need another reason to contact us to see if your life can be easier with a better accounting system?

If you answered yes to even one of these questions, it’s probably time to start looking for new accounting software. Let’s face it, the transition won’t be easy, but the inefficiencies outdated systems can create sure isn’t a walk in the park.

 

Outdated accounting system

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debt v. Equity Financing

Often debt financing is considered a bad thing, something only businesses that are in trouble take on; a last resort. While debt isn’t always a good idea, we are here to tell you it isn’t always a bad idea either.

Let’s take a look at some terminology…

Debt Financing | We are talking about taking out a loan.  Debt financing is when an individual or organization lends you money that you must pay back (along with that thing we call interest). There are a variety of options when looking for a loan, from a traditional commercial loan to alterative online lending companies.

Equity Financing | Here we’re talking about bringing in a partner. Equity financing is when an individual or organization gives you money in return for an ownership percentage in your company. Again, there are a variety of equity financing options such as individual investors, venture capital, angel investors, etc.

Want more information on the types of funding? Check out our blog: For the Love of Funding.

Let’s take a look at why debt might not be so bad…

Temporary Cash Flow Problems

We aren’t talking about cash flow issues that you expect to last, because debt financing probably won’t help in that case. We are talking about temporary cash flow deficits that occur during the normal course of your business.

For example, let’s say you are a construction company here in North Dakota (where the seasons are winter and construction). During the winter season, business is typically slower and cash is tighter. When the construction season ramps up, you are more than capable of cash flowing your business. In this case, taking on a business loan or line of credit might be a good idea. Not to mention, loan agreements can be structured to allow for seasonal changes in your business. For instance, a loan can call for interest only payments December through May and principle and interest payments the remaining months of the year.

Need another example? Let’s say you work with reimbursement-type grants (meaning you have to spend the money prior to receiving grant funding). At times, this may cause cash shortfalls, even if they are short-term. Again, this is where a line of credit might be a good idea.

You Don’t Want to Give Up Ownership

Bringing on a partner can be a good thing. For example, a partner could bring experience and connections to help grow your business. In addition, a partner is making an investment, therefore you aren’t stricken with loan payments.

However, bringing on a partner can have its disadvantages. Equity investor relationships are much like a parent-child relationship. Parents want their children to make decisions on their own but parents are always in the background, checking in and asking questions. Parents are parents forever.

With debt financing, the relationship only lasts as long as the term on the loan. After that, you are free and clear. In addition, a lender doesn’t have a say in the day-to-day operations of your business (this is of course as long as you are making your payments).

Sometimes, It Just Makes Sense

Let’s say you need a new piece of equipment to be more efficient or take on a new project. With the purchase, you are likely going to either have less cost or more revenue. Ignoring timing difference, this equates to more dollars coming in. As long as those dollars coming in are more than the loan (plus interest), taking on a business loan might make sense.

Speaking of loan payments, if you chose a fixed rate loan (interest rate that is locked), the payments are easier to plan and budget. In addition, even though interest is an added cost to debt financing, it is partially recaptured due to the fact that it is a business expense and therefore tax deductible.

In summary, we understand (and hopefully you do as well) that debt financing is not the answer for every cash flow need. However, in some cases debt is a perfectly good solution. Just as in life, there are pros and cons to most all decisions in business. The key is to understand your business and understand your options so you are able to find the best fit for your future.

 

 

 

 

 

Takeaways from SuiteWorld

Last month, Jenni and I attended SuiteWorld 2016 in San Jose, CA. Now we’ve come back full of knowledge and ready to tell you what we’ve learned. You’re welcome.

SuiteWorld is the annual conference for NetSuite, one of the leading cloud ERP’s out there.

What’s an ERP?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a business management software that helps you integrate all the areas of your business. We’re talking accounting, purchasing, manufacturing, selling, etc. It’s a comprehensive software to help you manage your growing, changing, and complex business.

The theme for the conference was “make BOLD happen,” which they certainly delivered on. SuiteWorld was proof that there is a lot going on in the technology world and how we account for our businesses is ever changing.

Our key takeaways:

NetSuite has some pretty “Suite” (yes, I did that) capabilities including OneWorld, SuiteCommerce and SuiteBilling.

  • OneWorld – NetSuite’s OneWorld allows you to manage the complexities of your global business with multi-language, multi-currency, and multi-country capabilities. We are talking easier intercompany transactions, consolidation, statements and invoicing in multi-language, multi-currency, inventory management across locations (globally or by subsidiary). You name it, OneWorld can probably do it.
  • SuiteCommerce – NetSuite has a native ecommerce solution. That means you don’t have to have a different system for online versus in-store shopping. Not only will this allow you to provide a continuous and consistent experience for customers, it will allow you to better manage your inventory. Don’t even get me started on their advanced intelligent ordering system.
  • SuiteBilling – NetSuite announced its SuiteBilling with the mantra if you can sell it, we can bill it and recognize it. SuiteBilling allows you to unify your billing and provides you with the framework to be in compliance with the new revenue recognition standards. That’s right, you are able to bill for multiple revenue arrangements on a single invoice (usage, subscription and product)!

These are just some of the BOLDer capabilities. NetSuite also provides has some pretty “Suite” other capabilities as well such as expanded segment tracking (departments, locations, and even custom segments), dashboards, dunning (automated statements and credit holds) and inventory costing. And to top it all off, there are hundreds of applications that integrate seamlessly into NetSuite to provide enhanced capabilities like SyncHR, Expensify, Avalara, Bill.com, iCharts.

In summary, SuiteWorld was “Suite” and the advancements in technology are amazing. We are very excited to learn more about the technology available to help our clients be BOLDer.

Disclaimer: We’ll readily admit that we’re biased. Eide Bailly is a partner to many of the solutions mentioned in the blog, including NetSuite itself.

Keep ‘em coming back for more – 5 tips for keeping employees engaged

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there … waking up at the crack of dawn, hitting the snooze button a few too many times, dragging ourselves to the shower, and dreading the work day that lies ahead of us. We get to work, go through the motions, and question if this is the job we really want to have.

The feeling of dreading work can take a toll on your employees, as well as your company. It can lead to sickness, lack of motivation and a decrease in productivity, to name a few (source). We’re guessing this is not what you want for your employees or company.

So how do you change this perception? Here are five tips keep your employees happy and excited about coming to work.

  1.  Emphasize the all-important balance between work and life. Life happens. Whether it be a child’s dance recital, or being under the weather, employees have matters that need to be attended to outside of the workplace. Instead of offering the usual 9-5 routine, offer your workers some flexibility so they can have time for life’s activities. Provide them with options to create a balance- whether it be the option to work from home, or maybe flexible, non-conventional hours. Giving employees this flexibility not only lets them participate in life outside of work, but also helps them understand the value placed on them by their employer. A company that understands and relates to its employees can lead to satisfied, motivated workers.
  2. Get feedback from employees….and do something about it! We get it. Sometimes harsh feedback can be a challenge to take action on. However, if an employee takes the time to give feedback, by all means, act on it! If an employee is willing to give feedback, this means he or she would like to see something changed, or that he or she likes what they have been working with. See employee feedback as an opportunity to better the workplace, and to improve on the workplace atmosphere.
  3. Hire according to the company culture. Your company possesses a strong set of values and ethics that should be adhered to at all times. It’s important your employees do just that. Employers want their employees to be living, breathing examples of the culture embodied by their company, and having employees who do just that will help build a strong, successful workplace environment. So, even though you may like the interviewee with the inappropriately funny humor that doesn’t quite fit with your company, choose the one that fits the culture that your company is known for.
  4. Have Show & Tell. Throwback to 1st grade- except this time, it’s the adult version, and by adult, we mean ideas! Lots of ideas! The thing is, ideas can come from virtually anywhere in a company, and often times, that fact gets overlooked. You never know what might be brewing in someone’s head … you hired some smart people after all. Consider hosting a day once a month in a common area where any and all employees can come and share ideas, plans, and projects that may benefit some aspect of the company. A simple event like this generates creativity, and shows employees that their ideas and thoughts are truly valued. This can also help build employee to employee relationships, as employees will often comment on, and build off of others’ ideas.
  5. Get some face time. And no, we don’t mean using your iPhone. To encourage face to face communication, and even some physical activity, pick one day out of your workweek and designate it as “no talking through technology day”. On this day, employees will not be able to communicate via phone, email, or instant message, but instead in a face to face setting. Seems a little crazy, right? Well, not only will employees be actually talking to each other in person rather than from behind a screen, but they will also be getting up and moving around rather than sitting in one place all day. The walks employees take to meet with coworkers encourage physical activity, and it has been shown that small breaks throughout the work day actually increase productivity.

Remember, these are just suggestions … though we think they’re pretty good ones. So use these, or brainstorm other ideas to keep your employees coming back for more, without feeling the dread of going to work!

A Totally Different Experience

We love helping you dream about what’s possible when you don’t have to work in the day to day operations of your business.

Think we’re too big for you? We promise we’re not. But don’t take our word for it. Check out what Edie of Weave Got Maille fame has to say.

Dare to dream about what’s possible … we’ll be here to help you every step of the way. #ebPossible

Why Legal Help Matters

Guest Blog by Adam Wogsland, Attorney at Law, Severson, Wogsland & Liebl PC

 If you plan to start a business, you should get a lawyer involved right away. Why, you may ask? Well, here are just a few of the main reasons:

  1. Lawyers Save You Money.

Successful businesses know the value of time and allocate resources accordingly. We’re going to go out on a limb here and guess that you probably didn’t get into business to read legal documents. So you can spend the time reading laws and regulations to put your company on solid legal footing, or you can hire a lawyer who already knows how to do it.

For instance, every new business needs to form an entity. If you don’t form your entity correctly from the start, you’ll be dealing with it continually until it gets fixed. And as fun as that sounds, a lawyer could have helped you do it correctly the first time. The time you save and the peace of mind you have knowing it’s done right will outpace what you will spend on an attorney.

Still don’t believe us? Here are a few tips on how to save money by hiring a lawyer:

  • Get a lawyer involved early. If you get a lawyer involved late, chances are that the lawyer has to fix something or that a filing deadline has been missed. This means lost time on your side and more money to pay for your lawyer’s time to fix the problem. As a general rule, prevention is cheaper than fixing, and both are cheaper than fighting.
  • Be organized. If you do not have your thoughts and documents organized, then you will be spending money on your lawyer organizing everything for you. Organization by a lawyer is an inefficient use of your money.

 2. Lawyers Reduce Your Risk.

Successful businesses reduce risk in all forms. Without a lawyer, you may not choose the right type of entity. You may undercapitalize. You may fail to observe corporate formalities. You may not properly organize governance of your entity. You may not properly govern your entity. You may not file the correct regulatory or licensure documents with the state or federal government. You may not structure and operate your entity in a way to avoid personal liability. You may not have the right documents memorializing the relationships between the owners in the event of a dispute. You may not plan for impactful contingencies like disability, death, bankruptcy, termination of employment, or divorce. You may not implement measures to reduce your employment liability risk. Lawyers will help you plan for and reduce these risks.

The risks are real. Liability protection is not automatic. Courts may disregard the corporate entity and allow creditors or plaintiffs to pierce the corporate veil if your entity is not structured and operated pursuant to the law. This means you (as the owner of the business) will be held personally liable for the entity’s debts and obligations. To drive this point home, this means your judgment creditor can reach your personal assets: personal property, deposit accounts, pets (yes, you read that right. Pets are personal property), cars, boats, homes (in North Dakota, any equity over $100,000.00), ERISA qualified plans like IRAs (in North Dakota, amounts over $100,000.00 for each plan; $200,000.00 in the aggregate), and wages.

3. Lawyers Provide Non-Legal Value.

Successful businesses know the value of relationships. We’ve seen many different clients in many different business spaces confront many different issues. Even if it’s not a legal problem and we will not be directly involved, we can help you find someone who can help. It’s good to have a network of trusted business advisors on your side.

Adam Wogsland is an attorney licensed in North Dakota and Minnesota and concentrates on helping small and medium sized businesses. This information is for informational purposes only. Please contact a lawyer to discuss the specifics of your situation.