Ask the Expert - Training New Staff - Accounting Software Secrets
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Ask the Expert – Training New Staff

Ask the Expert – Training New Staff
Issue 2.31 August 12, 2003

Q – I have hired a bright, full-charge bookkeeper, but he has not used QuickBooks very extensively. I believe he can learn the program, but I would like some ideas on how to reduce the learning curve without a lot of non-billable time for training and/or re-doing the work. Do you have any suggestions?

A – First, acknowledge that training is always an investment in the long term growth and profitability of the firm. Finding the right person is a big part of the battle, but making sure they have the tools, resources, and knowledge to succeed is very important as well. Quite often business owners (including CPA firm owners/managers) think that by hiring help their work will be reduced, but in actuality, at least in the short term, the opposite is actually the reality. Discovering the true cost of that employee may help to provide support for explaining to them how important it is that they accept some responsibility for learning the information needed to be successful in the firm. For help in quantifying that number, consider our tele-class on the true cost of employees. The related Excel spreadsheet is very easy to use and can be very enlightening about how much revenue this new employee will need to generate to cover the costs associated with salary, learning curve, benefits, and many other resources. With that being said, here are a couple of specific suggestions.

For actual training, although it is time away from the office (and non-billable) some tips and tricks can be learned each time you attend a live seminar. Even seasoned professionals can learn something new by attending training. There are live seminars offered locally, or we offer tele-classes. One of the advantages of a tele-class is that the topic is what is needed specifically, the down time from the office and related cost is usually significantly less, and the information learned can be used immediately to reinforce the process. This type of QuickBooks training is very cost effective, especially when compared to the benefits received.  For a complete list of tele-classes that include topics such as remote access, financial statement preparation, and more, click here.

Another resource that can help without the resulting non-billable time is to use the QuickBooks Diagnostic Tool. It contains the specific menu options for moving around in the software while providing an organzed approach to QuickBooks files. It can be used to ensure that the file set up does not overlook an important areas (similar to a prodedural manual). It can also be used to generate revenue directly based on the custom report that be generated based on the QuickBooks file of an existing client (or potential client). The result is almost always the discovery of issues that need consulting time to address with the client. So, not only is the time to analyze the file billable, but new issues are uncovered to benefit the client while creating additonal work to the firm. This tool can even be used to perform a monthly review of the file in a very efficient way which helps to eliminate those year-end surprises.

As a resource for this and other questions, submit a question via “Ask the Expert” or attend our free, monthly discussion forum tele-class.

Bonnie J. Nagayama, CPA (925-247-0100) has been featured by Intuit in their QuickBooks Advisor Spotlight and frequently teaches and consults on using QuickBooks to its maximum advantage. For a FREE weekly newsletter of QuickBooks tips and tricks, plus many free and low cost QuickBooks resources visit
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For further information, visit the following articles:
Ask the Expert – Returning to Bookkeeping (Free!)
Building Your Business: Tax Season Wrap Up (Free!)
Training New Staff (Subscription required)
Selection and Training of Employees (Subscription required)
Building Your Business: Tax Season Wrap Up (Subscription required)