Posted on: January 17, 2014 Grow CPA practice

If you know me well, you know I’m a big believer in delegation.  When you let go of your tendency to micromanage and disseminate tasks among your employees, you free yourself up to focus on growing your CPA practice.

You may have tried delegating and found that it changed your life – except that eventually, you came up against things that only you could handle.  Like making decisions.

Now I’m here to challenge you further.  When it comes to decisions you believe only you can make, how do you feel about delegation?  Does the mere idea make you squirm with discomfort?  After all, this is your practice, your baby.  Could you really trust anyone else to making decisions?

Imagine for just a moment that you could.  Think about how much more time you could give yourself.  For example, if you’re currently working in the office five days a week, but your goal is to work three days and spend the other two with your family, how much would it help to trust someone else to make decisions for you?

If this feels impossible, believe me, I understand.  And I’m certainly not advising you to hand your practice over to your employees and completely disengage.  Hardly!  That would not only make you a nervous wreck, but it would probably scare the pants off your team, too.  However, I would like to suggest embracing the following approach.

  1. Seek Recommendations. Some decisions you absolutely have to make yourself, but you can still assign an employee to make a recommendation.  Ask the employee to research the options and present his or her opinion as to which would work best.  You’ll still control the final decision, while the employee learns from analyzing the situation and making the recommendation.
  2. Allow Implementation.  First you empowered the employee to research and select the best option, and then inform you.  As a next step, ask the employee to help you implement his or her recommended plan.  Reassure them that you’ll be available to advise in a pinch.  Make it clear that you still retain veto power and insist on staying in the loop.  But ideally, the employee will choose well and your approval will be a mere formality.
  3. Give Authority.  When you’re confident the employee can handle the task independently, assign the authority to act.  The employee will be carrying out the entire task with your backing.  Let the rest of your workforce know that the employee is acting in your name – and be sure the employee understands the responsibility with which you’re entrusting him or her.

Now that doesn’t seem too horrifying, does it?  This is an approach you can take gradually, which is good for you and the employee.  Warm up to it by taking just one decision you think you need to make, and asking an employee to research the matter and make recommendations.  You can end the employee’s involvement there, or you can take another small step by asking him or her for implementation help.  Either way, you win.

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