The ideal team structure for your practice depends on the fee volume you manage.
If you’re looking at $1m in fees, this is the ideal team structure that should work for you:
One client manager (possibly supported by an assistant client manager)
5 grinders (one of which is the senior production manager)
When you start with the client manager handling all communication traffic, sooner or later, they will hit capacity as you edge towards $1m in fees.
At this point, you can sort your clients into four classes–A, B, C, and D–and hire an assistant client manager. Think of the assistant client manager as a trainee.
The assistant then takes over looking after the C and D class clients, while the client manager takes care of A and B clients.
How to sort your clients is a science in itself. Do you do it by fee size as most accountants do? Or do you use different criteria, for example, industry, future potential, client size?
Every practice will do this differently.
The client manager is not just a minder but also a finder. They are like a GP. They understand the general concept and know when to call in which expert. Their job is to manage the client and be their trusted contact and adviser.
If your client manager sits down to grind away, they won’t have time to grow the business. There is an opportunity cost to doing grinding work. It requires leadership from a partner to make sure client managers don’t slip back into a grinding role.
The senior production manager leads the production team. Their skillset needs to be very different from the one of a client manager. The production manager is in charge of the other grinders in production.
Their role is to make sure the Ts are crossed and Is are dotted. They liaise with the client manager and assistant manager to get to the final product. They don’t see the clients. The client manager or assistant does.
Every practice is different, but this structure should provide some direction for your ability to effectively manage this milestone.
Founder & Non-Executive Chairman, Chan & Naylor
Ed started Chan & Naylor from a small home office in Sydney and grew it into a National Financial Services Organisation that now works without him, with offices in most capital cities around Australia, servicing more than 10,000 clients.
In 2018 he co-founded WIZE Mentoring, a network for accountants who want to know how to successfully grow their firm and have it run without them.