You might already have an assistant, but as your business grows, hiring an office manager becomes increasingly necessary — especially if your practice comprises several advisors.
An office manager can relieve you of time-consuming administrative and operational tasks, leaving you with more time to focus on building your business, says Marie Ann O’Neill, office administrator with Ext. Marketing Inc. in Toronto.
An office manager can take ownership of processes and streamline the workflow of your practice, which can result in increased efficiency and productivity.
While hiring an office manager comes at additional cost, the productivity and efficiency gains realized over time can more than offset those costs. At the same time, an office manager can provide you with peace of mind that your practice is running smoothly without your direct involvement in managing day-to-day operations.
O’Neill sees the office manager as making an invaluable contribution in the following three areas:
1. Organizational efficiency
In an office with several advisors, O’Neill says, you need someone to be responsible for establishing and overseeing a formal structure, managing work flow and ensuring that the processes of your business are working efficiently.
For example, he or she will be responsible for dealing with human resources issues such as onboarding new employees, negotiating contracts and enforcing policies. In addition, the office manager would supervise staff to ensure deadlines are met, meetings are coordinated and clients’ needs are met. Other responsibilities can include organizing client-appreciation events and hosting presentations.
By having someone to take care of these tasks, you will be able to concentrate on meeting with clients and prospects. You can arrange to receive periodic reports from the office manager to ensure that your practice is operating efficiently.
2. Financial operations
Your office manager should take care of the financial issues of your practice, O’Neill says. He or she can deal with suppliers and account managers to ensure that you are getting the best prices for the services you use, such as technology, telecommunications, printing, rent and out-of-office events.
Your office manager can also manage your cash flow — making sure bills are paid and your receivables are collected on time. He or she can either maintain your existing financial system or put measures in place to improve it.
3. Office culture
Maintaining a culture of success with satisfied and highly motivated employees is critical to your growth. Your office manager “can take care of your people,” O’Neill says.
Your office manager can coordinate staff improvement and social activities and establish relationship-building initiatives to boost staff morale. He or she should know the mood of your staff and be able to initiate activities to improve the office culture, O’Neill says.
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