Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Administrative Support System?

      Every business big or small has some form of administrative requirements. Your administrative support is a combination of the people who handle your paperwork, the computer hardware & software systems you use to run your business and the legal requirements to maintain information about your daily business operations:
Basically; 
   Staff
   Computers
   Software
   Accounting/Bookkeeping
   Records Management

What is the importance of having an excellent administrative support system?

      Business owners often start small and, as they grow, they purchase equipment (computers etc.), buy software, and hire more staff to support their growth. Unfortunately, as this occurs, (especially during periods of growth) the business owner leaves the coordination and use of these systems up to the staff they have hired.
      Problem 1: If the knowledge of your processes are only known by the individual responsible for those task, what would happen if they left your company.
      Problem 2: If you have more then one staff, have they coordinated their efforts when setting up business processes? " Duplication of information is one of the largest time wasters."
      Problem 3: Staff is taught the basic functions of most systems, but the advanced features that could reduce the amount of time certain functions take, are often not initiated.
      Problem 4: Small and/or home based businesses often try to save money by doing portions of their administrative functions themselves. These functions can take up to five times longer then necessary and are cutting into potential billable hours and/or personal time.

How do I know my financial information is accurate?

      Having thorough knowledge and reviewing your financial reports on a regular basis will assist you with identifying inaccuracies. Always ask your bookkeeper for monthly Profit/Loss statements as well as year-to-date balance sheet report. If something does not make sense on paper, ask for a breakdown and review.

Current & new employees make up their own processes and I worry that these might get lost, what can I do to safeguard?

      Without documented procedures, employees will always create ways to get their job done. However, in doing so, they often don't understand HOW their duties interact with others and could be causing more work for someone else. Also, if people don't have faith in the information provided, they often create a duplicate way to get and retain the information; this results in unnecessary duplication of work which directly affects efficiency and time management.
It is proven that, without procedures in place, new employees will often create a new set of processes from scratch, leaving all the existing ones to go to waste. Properly maintaining processes saves time.

My employees are constantly telling me that they are stressed out and overworked, HOW do I measure if this is accurate?

      Having clearly defined roles and job descriptions can help you identify work loads and responsibilities. Most stress is caused when employees are unsure what is required of them and how to prioritize their workload.
Assigned duties must be capable of fitting into a standard work week. If you know what those levels are, you will be able to judge when workloads have increased and when to provide more support.

What is the difference between Efficient and Effective?

      Efficient - performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort;

      Effective - Focusing on a desired outcome, producing the intended or expected results.
Example:
   Person #1: I am so efficient; I can fold 100 Parachutes in one hour
   Person #2: I am so effective I can fold 100 Parachutes and every single one of them will open right
Which parachute would you rather wear?
      Efficiency may save you time and money in the beginning, but if you are not achieving the desired results, you are not effective and that will cost you money and time in the end.

What do you mean by doing it right and doing the right thing right?

      As you know, in every situation, there are multiple ways to get the same results. "Doing the right thing right" means, following a predefined process that has already been proven to be the most efficient at getting the best possible finished results.

Why do Policies and Procedures need to be documented if your staff knows what they are doing; isn't that good enough?

      If the products you sold or the services you provided were just "good enough" do you think people would choose you over your competition? Then WHY would "good enough" be OK for the systems that support your business.
First off - What do you do when that person leaves? Statistically, Human Resource Consultants focusing on employee retention will tell you that the cost of bringing a new employee up to the efficiency level of an existing employee can cost a company 3/4 of the annual salary of the employee being replaced.
NOT so, IF all processes are documented. Based on the fact that you are hiring someone with a certain skill set to perform the job; following documented procedures should have that person operating efficiently in no time.
New employees, where no documented procedures exist, will often start from scratch and create their own. That isn't to say they won't be better then the last ones, but they may have missed crucial parts that change the flow through your whole business.
      Some new employees spend more time making new systems than they actually do working your business and again if these are not being updated and maintained, the cycle and procedures keep the operation flowing efficiently no matter whom is performing the tasks.
What should I expect from my bookkeeper?

      Full cycle bookeepers are responsible for entering all your business transactions into the appropriate journals & ledgers for accurate financial reporting.  They should have thorough knowledge of what contitutes a business expense.  If they take care of your payroll it is important that they understand statutory and non-statutory deductions and apply them accordingly.  Bookkeepers will often offer advise on how to track and submit your financial data in an effective way.  Following these guidelines will often reduce the amount of time it takes to keep your books up to date.  Bookkeepers are not responsible for the day to day operations of your business so if there are areas that you need assistance and your bookkeeper or the bookkeeping company offers business coaching or consulting you should expect to pay for this service separately.

Why hire a bookkeeper when I can do it myself using an accounting program on my computer?

      The software companies have done a fantastic job creating software that is fairly user friendly, however there will always be transactions that occur in your business that without an accounting background you would not know how to enter the transactions.  If entered incorrectly your financial reports and tax documents would be incorrect.

      As a business owner where is your time best spent?  If you could have generated income for your business that exceeds the cost of having a bookkeeper for the same time frame (guarentee they are faster than you) then why are you wasting your time.

                 Bottom Line - Invest your resources in the areas that give you the best return on your investment.