Traditional Benefits for Remote Employees

Woman sitting outside with laptop and smartphoneIs skimping worth the cost in loyalty?

By Jody Grunden

Traditional benefits often include things that many brick-and-mortar office workers take for granted such as paid time off, health insurance and a retirement plan.

MORE: Keeping the Right People on the Bus | 10 Interview Questions for Unlocking True Potential | Toss the Org Chart for an Accountability Chart | How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture
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Why do I say these are taken for granted? Well, some distributed companies may hire independent contractors to cut down on their expenses when it comes to “frivolous” things like this, but we believe in building a great place to work, and to us that means offering the kind of benefits that make employees feel secure and cared for.
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Keeping the Right People on the Bus

Illustration of different types of people connectedNot everyone will work out, and that's OK.

By Jody Grunden

There’s a common misnomer when it comes to retention and keeping people on the team. Retention doesn’t mean keeping every single person on your team forever.

MORE: 10 Interview Questions for Unlocking True Potential | The Hidden Cost of Running a Distributed Company | How to Develop Your Leadership Team | 4 Ways to Bill Clients | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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Not only do you want to get the right people on the bus, but you also want to get those people into the right seats. We want Summit CPA to be a great place to work, and we want great people to be working here. However, we realize it may not be the right place for every person.
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10 Interview Questions for Unlocking True Potential

How to think outside the (geographical) box and hire remotely.

By Jody Grunden

Before our firm became a distributed company with a remote workforce, our hiring was naturally limited to a small geographical location – Fort Wayne, Indiana.

MORE: The Hidden Cost of Running a Distributed Company | How to Run Effective Leadership Team Meetings | DiSC Helps Remote Team Work Together Effectively | 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | The Rise of the Virtual CFO
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When we really started to grow, we knew we needed to bring in more senior-level accountants to be able to handle the clients we were bringing in at such a rapid pace.

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The Hidden Cost of Running a Distributed Company

Happy business professionals giving high five hand slapCombine a retreat with CPE.

By Jody Grunden

With a brick-and-mortar company, there are a number of standard costs that you would expect to have, such as rent or mortgage, utilities, building repairs, furniture, technology, etc. The total amount of these kinds of costs typically falls in the range of 3-4 percent of the company’s annualized revenue. That amount can be pretty significant for a lot of companies.

MORE: How to Run Effective Leadership Team Meetings | Toss the Org Chart for an Accountability Chart | How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO?
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Some business owners may think they can save the company all of that money by going remote, but I personally believe that’s a terrible idea. While it’s true that a distributed company doesn’t have the costs that come with having a physical space, the very nature of a remote work environment results in a completely different and unique set of needs that should be considered in the company’s annual budget.
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Build Trust through Transparency

Make sure your people understand what they're seeing.

By Jody Grunden

Joel Gascoigne, founder and CEO of Buffer, a SaaS product that helps users schedule social media posts, has become very well known for building a transparent organization.

MORE: How to Run Effective Leadership Team Meetings | Toss the Org Chart for an Accountability Chart | How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize
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A few examples of the types of information that Buffer shares publicly include salaries and equity shares of all team members, company SaaS metrics and things they’re learning in their journey – good and bad.

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How to Run Effective Leadership Team Meetings

Four people on each side of a videoconference3 ways to make it happen.

By Jody Grunden

Doing the DiSC Assessment with our team, we learned that some people love meetings and some people despise them. The “D” (Dominance) personality on the DiSC scale tends to be direct, very results-oriented and less collaborative in meetings. The “I” (Influence) personality enjoys meetings because they provide an opportunity for social engagement and collaboration.

MORE: Toss the Org Chart for an Accountability Chart | How to Develop Your Leadership Team | DiSC Helps Remote Team Work Together Effectively | How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture | 4 Ways to Bill Clients | 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize
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The “S” (Steadiness) personality may not feel comfortable speaking up in meetings unless they are called upon. The “C” (Conscientiousness) personality may need to rally more energy within themselves for meetings because they tend to value working independently over collaboration. Knowing the personalities of your leadership team members will help you run more effective meetings.
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Toss the Org Chart for an Accountability Chart

Blank organizational chartAre the right people in the right seats?

By Jody Grunden

“Getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats – these are all crucial steps in the early stages of buildup…” – Jim Collins, “Good to Great”

MORE: How to Develop Your Leadership Team | DiSC Helps Remote Team Work Together Effectively | How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture | 4 Ways to Bill Clients | 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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When Adam and I first started the company, we didn’t have much organizational structure. We didn’t need it. But as the company grew, it became necessary to develop an organizational structure. There’s a great quote by Michael E. Gerber in his book “The E-Myth Revisited” that says, “Without the Organization Chart, confusion, discord and conflict become the order of the day.”
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How to Develop Your Leadership Team

Large group of people gathered into an upward arrow shapeGet the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go.

By Jody Grunden

“Once you recognize that the purpose of your life is not to serve your business, but that the primary purpose of your business is to serve your life, you can then go to work on your business, rather than in it, with a full understanding of why it is absolutely necessary for you to do so.” – Michael E. Gerber, “The E-Myth Revisited”

MORE: DiSC Helps Remote Team Work Together Effectively | How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO?
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As our team was growing and we reached over 30 team members, we recognized the need to establish a formal leadership team. When we were smaller, it worked fine for Adam and me to be the primary decision makers, but as our client base and workload grew, we realized we would become a bottleneck and slow things down. At that point, we made a conscious effort to transition our daily tasks and client responsibilities to other team members so we could remove ourselves from the weeds and focus on the higher-level view of the company.
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DiSC Helps Remote Team Work Together Effectively

Overhead view of five people in a meetingBetter understanding = better communication.

By Jody Grunden

Working in a remote environment can be great, and it can also have its challenges. Communication is one of the biggest hurdles distributed companies have to overcome. To tackle this issue head on, Summit CPA has implemented many initiatives.

MORE: How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture | 4 Ways to Bill Clients | 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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One of our favorites is the DiSC profiles. Let me start off by telling you a little bit of the background on the DiSC profiles.
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How Core Values Affect Remote Work Culture

Two partners celebrating business success outsideDo you have the right people?

By Jody Grunden

A company’s core values are the cornerstone of its culture, and people are the biggest asset a company can have.

MORE: 4 Ways to Bill Clients | 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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Defining your core values and hiring the right people is essential for the success of your business.

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4 Ways to Bill Clients

Businessmen standing on dollar billWhat services do your clients value the most?

By Jody Grunden

When I attend CPA conferences across the United States, I often hear from CPAs: “I don’t want to bill for my time.”

So, how do you bill your clients?

MORE: 3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats | How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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Client billing can include hourly billing, but it can also include flat-fee, retainer-based and/or value-based billing. Most people use one of these four methods. Some use all of them or even a hybrid.

Let’s take a closer look at each of them:
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3 Ways to Keep Client Files Safe from Security Threats

Technology Security with Internet Digital Signature as ArtMake technology your ally.

By Jody Grunden

Have you ever been contacted by the IRS with the FBI involved? I can tell you from firsthand experience that it’s a bit alarming when that happens.

MORE: How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize | Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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We were once contacted by the IRS because they thought our server had been compromised. When the field officer who came to our office asked to see our server, we explained that we didn’t have a server. She was a little surprised by that information and then asked where we kept our files. We explained that we use cloud storage and programs designed specifically for encryption and security.
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How ‘Tech Stacks’ Can Help You Standardize

Screwdriver and wrenchYou'll be more efficient and better connected.

By Jody Grunden

I believe it’s important for accounting firms to standardize their technology “stack.” Having a standardized tech stack of applications helps to automate every corner of your workflow.

MORE: Automation and the Future of Accounting | The Rise of the Virtual CFO | Ready To Be a Virtual CFO? | The Only Three Metrics You Need to Measure Staffers
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The applications you use should be seen as an extension of your business. Your onboarding process will be more effective if your team doesn’t have to learn a new set of tools every time a new client comes on board.
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