Structuring your team to maximize productivity

Ed Chan

Any business leader should constantly be thinking about how to structure their team so that they can produce the greatest productivity, with the minimum effort required. You should be aiming to increase the pie and create a win-win situation for all.

Here are five key considerations and recommendations.

Determine team capacity

The first thing is to work out your team capacity. Otherwise, you will run the risk of putting on another person whenever one of your staff says they are extremely busy.

However, being busy is not the same as being productive.

Have you ever been flat-out all day but produced nothing useful? Well, your staff can easily confuse being busy with being productive also.

Many workers enjoy being busy and can find things to do to keep themselves busy. But they may not be productive activities. As a Manager, your job is to keep them focussed on productive activities and not get distracted. 

Develop your capacity plan by calculating the available hours of each team member (52 weeks – 8 weeks annual/sick/training leave = 44 weeks) x the appropriate chargeable time for their role (I like to go with 60% for minders, 85% for grinders) x the hourly charge-out rate for their time. This will allow you to calculate the current capacity of your full team and determine whether you are over or under.

Avoid a flat structure

You should avoid running a “flat” team structure, where you have a very experienced person doing all levels of work such as administration, bookkeeping, accounting, tax planning and strategy work.

Smooth out the peaks and troughs of the year

Send out a letter now to your clients outlining which months you would like them to bring their work in over the next 12 months, with a monthly follow-up letter 3 months prior to when the month is due.

Not all will comply, but a vast majority will. All you need is 60-80% to comply, and you have effectively smoothed out the peaks and troughs of your workflow for the year.

Fill calendars two weeks ahead

Make sure that everyone in your team has two week’s worth of work planned into their calendars and make sure they know that if their calendars drop below two week's scheduled in advance, they are to ask for work. This gives the managers time to get work in.

Budget time

Provide a scope of work for each client’s job prior to starting the job. This provides a budget of time allowed, so the work assignee knows how much time they can spend on each job, and they can then populate their calendars with the time allocated for two weeks or more. It also provides an indicative upfront fixed price for the client.

This manages the client's expectations and avoids fee complaints, and helps you manage the team also.

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Ed Chan

Founder & Non-Executive Chairman, Chan & Naylor

Ed started Chan & Naylor from a small home office in Sydney and has grown it into a National Financial Services Organisation with offices in most capital cities around Australia, servicing more than 6,000 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.


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