Something happens when your team hits that double digit mark. You were always a company, but it just feels more real. At the same time, your processes start to break down. The product related processes tend to get quickly realigned, but the back office is usually ignored, while at the same time eating up more and more of your precious time.
Once you hit 10 employees, it’s time to refactor the back office – do yourself a favor and pause to iterate one step further in automating your back office processes. The earlier you nip it in the bud, the more bandwidth you’re giving yourself to focus on the truly important things that will grow your business. If you don’t fix the system to work for you, you’ll constantly find yourself on the wrong side of the urgent vs. important dilemma.
You’re probably not quite ready for your first full-time finance or human resources hire – these responsibilities are going to either fall on one of the founders, the office manager or the ever-loved ops generalist. That means that software and automation is your best bet.
- Clean up your accounting platform
You’re probably on Xero or QuickBooks, unless you’ve outsourced this function entirely to a service like inDinero or Bench. I’m of the belief that until you’re doing at least $80k in monthly revenue, manage the books yourself. If you set it up properly, this shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours per month. Think about it – would you bring in a sales person before you could successfully sell your product or service yourself? Getting a base understanding of your accounting system will allow you to work more intelligently with your outsourced accounting partner or finance team when the time comes.
- Restructure your Chart of Accounts
Let’s be honest – maybe you added a few categories that were obviously missing or broke out travel into an additional level of detail, but you probably didn’t step back and really think about your medium-term internal KPI or board reporting requirements. You also probably didn’t consider how to make your COA extensible, so that it can grow organically with your business over time. We frequently come across this with our customers, so we put together this guide on How to Create Your Chart of Accounts Blueprint to help.
- Eliminate manual tasks
With the abundance of cloud software available today, there is no need for you to manually handle any of your back office tasks. Services like ZenPayroll or Justworks handle your payroll, including initial onboarding, payroll taxes and syncing the appropriate data to your accounting software. With Zenefits, employment agreements can be executed in a single click. And at Abacus, we manage your employee expenses, corporate card programs, and expense policies then sync the data to your accounting software.
- Streamline your recruiting
Managing your recruiting funnel is like managing your customer funnel. Once your volume crosses a basic threshold, continuing to track candidates on a spreadsheet is not only going to slow down your process, it’s going to make it near impossible to keep all the balls in the air, while simultaneously eating up a disproportionate amount of your bandwidth. Using tools like Greenhouse or Lever will help you automate your process, while freeing up time to focus on sourcing and catching up with candidates.
- Swap out your bank account
You probably set up a free business checking account the day you founded your company. We operated on that for longer than I’d care to admit because who wants to switch their bank account – gives me chills just thinking about it. That being said, taking the time to switch to a proper treasury management solution can bring benefits like sweeping your cash into an overnight money market (perhaps more valuable as rates start to come up), additional controls on debits leaving your account, and more granular user privileges.
Take a second and do a rough tally in your head of how much time back office tasks are taking you per month. By doing the above, we’ve managed to bring our time spent on back office tasks down to around half a day per month. Put aside some time to get your back office systems running on autopilot and thank me later.