Leadership / Management | Professional development

Top 5 delegation tips for busy CPAs

Note: The following post was written by Emily Morgan, an entrepreneur and founder of Delegate Solutions, a preferred provider of the MACPA.


Being in the delegation business, I’m often asked by busy entrepreneurs, when is the best time to get an Assistant? I firmly believe that delegation is the foundation for growth, and that leveraging your time is the most impactful way you can lead and scale. You can prepare yourself and your CPA firm for success with this key hire by keeping the following tips in mind:

1: Start small to build confidence. Focus on compartmentalizing larger tasks and projects into small parts to build your own confidence around delegation. Do you want to hand off your calendar scheduling?

Don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture of doing so; instead segment it out. Ask yourself which part of my schedule could be most easily delegated or automated? Perhaps a first small step is to deploy a scheduling tool for your internal team meetings only. Just this shift alone will help you add framework to your day by creating specific blocks of time you are available to meet, and it takes the back and forth out of when to meet. Learn how a high-growth CPA consulting firm used this technique to improve team focus and effectiveness.

Grab the small wins! It still equates to time saved, and you’ll build confidence in this phase.

2. Just let go. Many entrepreneurial CPAs find delegating to be excruciatingly difficult. Whether it’s being stuck in the mindset that "if you want it done right, you need to do it yourself," lack of confidence with the delegation process, or simply feeling that there’s too much upfront work involved – delegation can be a hurdle. Hint: Look for the repeatables within the business, things that you find yourself doing over and over. That’s a great place to start!

If you’re struggling with what to hand off, check out our list of top delegations by category within your business.

3. Get comfortable with 80 percent. As you expand your confidence and competence around delegation and begin to compartmentalize your projects, you will start to understand that having someone just start something for you is a win. Communicate the end result you’re aiming for, along with the expectations you have around turnaround time. Get the delegation going with a tool like Strategic Coach’s Impact Filter to brainstorm success criteria. Hand it off to your delegation resource and let them bring it to life. You’ve now created momentum to move forward some of your larger picture ideas in a meaningful way without your involvement in the full project. When it comes back to you, all that remains is your 20 percent — final tweaks and special touches. It's a huge win using this mindset!

If you’re struggling with where to start in your delegation journey, try a complimentary live 1:1 Freedom Analysis™ with our team.

4. Feedback is a must. Feedback is one of the most important parts of the delegation process. If the person to whom you delegate tasks does well, you should give them positive feedback as to why it was helpful. Ensuring that your team knows that their efforts are recognized and appreciated is hugely motivating, and it gives them access to view their work in connection to the bigger picture. If they've fallen short, don't be afraid to give them some constructive criticism and experience transform it for the future.

Consider also asking your team to share their thoughts on how you're delegating. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to ensure that you’re providing the right information and resources to ensure the tasks are being completed thoughtfully. If you don’t have an Assistant in place, or maybe don’t need a full-time resource, consider working with a virtual assistant one or two hours per day remotely. Learn more about what to consider when selecting a virtual assistant here.

5. Commit to the boring stuff. The boring stuff makes up at least 50 percent of your business, and it is important. This back office BS is the backbone of how you deliver what you do in an effective, unique way and creates scale. Ignoring it either because it’s not interesting or a competence for you is not serving your vision. The beauty about delegation is that you’re not charged with doing it or hammering out the details to bring it to life. You simply need to be able to articulate your operational vision and understand that your ongoing commitment to the process of delegation is critical. Many times, just like in your entrepreneurial visioning, it may take many iterations of an administrative process to find the right solution. The key here is your acceptance and support of that process to work through the kinks.

Remember, delegation is a critical growth strategy, but not a one-shot silver bullet. It requires an ongoing commitment from YOU to leverage it to really create impact in your business.

For a deeper dive into the art of delegation, check out this recent podcast on Tractionville.


Bill Sheridan