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Conducting Annual Staff Reviews in your Accounting Practice

Annual staff reviews can provide several benefits to your accounting practice. They can help you identify and assess the strengths and weaknesses of your team, motivate employees to achieve their best, and ensure that everyone is meeting the standards you set for your company.  

By taking the time to conduct annual staff reviews, you can create a more efficient and productive work environment for your team. 


The benefits of running annual staff reviews 

Annual staff reviews are a necessary part of any well-run organization. They provide a way to assess employee performance, identify areas for improvement, and set goals for the coming year.  

Reviews can also help to build morale and improve communication between managers and employees. When done correctly, reviews can help ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives. However, reviews can also be time-consuming and stressful.  

For this reason, it is important to carefully consider the format and structure of the review process. By taking the time to plan ahead, organizations can ensure that annual staff reviews are a positive and productive experience for all involved. 


How to structure your staff review process 

An effective staff review process is essential for any accounting or bookkeeping practice, large or small. The purpose of a staff review is to identify areas of strength and weakness and to set goals for improvement. A well-designed review process should be conducted on a regular basis and should involve input from multiple sources. Here are some tips for structuring an effective staff review process: 

  1. Set clear objectives. What is the purpose of the review? What outcomes do you hope to achieve? Be sure to communicate these objectives to all participants in advance.
  1. Choose the right format. There are many different ways to structure a staff review, so choose the format that makes the most sense for your organization. Some options include one-on-one meetings, group meetings, surveys, or 360-degree reviews.
  1. Set a timeframe. Staff reviews should be conducted on a regular basis, such as annually or semi-annually. Be sure to allow enough time for all participants to prepare and give feedback.
  1. Collect feedback from multiple sources. In addition to input from the staff member being reviewed, be sure to collect feedback from their supervisor, colleagues, and direct reports. This will give you a well-rounded view of their performance.
  1. Use data to drive decisions. Whenever possible, use data to support your conclusions about a staff member’s performance. This could include things like customer satisfaction ratings, sales numbers, or project completion rates.


Tips for giving effective feedback 

Feedback is an important part of any professional relationship, but it can also be tricky to give effectively. The following tips can help you make the most of your feedback conversations with your accounting or bookkeeping staff. 

First, be specific and clear about what you observed. Vague comments will only leave the other person feeling confused and frustrated. 

Second, avoid making assumptions about why the other person did something. It’s important to focus on the behavior itself, not on the motives behind it. “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”, as Dr. Stephen Covey states in his highly-acclaimed book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” 

Third, resist the urge to criticize or pass judgment. Instead, aim to support the other person in their development by offering constructive suggestions. And finally, remember that feedback is a two-way street.  

Just as you appreciate receiving feedback that is helpful and respectful, you should strive to give feedback that is equally valuable. 


Handling difficult conversations with employees 

No two employees are alike, and neither are the challenges they present. As the leader of your organization, you may find yourself dealing with everything from conflicting personalities to different work styles.  

But one thing all employees have in common is the need for clear communication. When it comes to handling difficult conversations, there are a few key principles to keep in mind.  

First, be direct. It can be tempting to avoid tough topics but doing so will only make the situation worse. Second, be respectful. 

Employees are more likely to respond positively to criticism if it’s delivered in a respectful manner. Finally, be solutions-oriented. Avoid getting bogged down in the details of the problem. Instead, focus on finding a resolution that works for everyone involved. 


Celebrating successes and acknowledging achievements 

Any successful individual will tell you that one of the keys to their success has been their ability to celebrate their accomplishments and learn from their failures. 

Acknowledging your achievements helps to maintain a positive outlook and gives you the motivation to continue working hard. It also allows you to look back and reflect on what you have accomplished, which can help to provide a sense of perspective. Similarly, learning from your failures is essential for any individual who wants to achieve success.   

By taking the time to analyze your mistakes, you can develop a plan to avoid them in the future. Ultimately, celebrating successes and acknowledging achievements are both important components of maintaining a successful career. 


Bottom Line 

Staff reviews are an important part of maintaining a high-functioning team. By taking the time to review your staff on an annual basis, you can identify areas where they need improvement and give them the opportunity to grow in their roles.  

Remember to structure your staff review process ahead of time, be honest and direct with your feedback, and take the time to celebrate successes and acknowledge achievements. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to hosting successful staff reviews that lead to a more engaged and productive team in your Accounting or Bookkeeping Practice. 


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1.  Get our practice transformation Friday tips to your inbox – Every week Ed Chan shares a tip on his experience of building a $20million firm that runs without him – start getting your Friday Tip emails here 

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