By John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

Sometimes, the best way to get the talent you need in your practice is to reach out to audit or tax staff and develop a “two-position player”.  If that’s the path you’ve chosen, summer could be your best opportunity to begin the training process.

The difficulty of finding and attracting experienced BV staff often forces practitioners to consider the “two-position player” – someone who can train and be partially chargeable in valuation, while continuing to serve elsewhere in the firm.  We regularly recommend this course as a way to get the help you need and provide advancement opportunities to your employees.

Begin your search by talking with other leaders in your firm about which employees might be approaching burnout and might be in need of “rescue” by shifting their responsibilities.  Also look for those auditors who might be just a little too creative for their own good.

Interview these staffers about their interest in moving into valuation.  Watch for the spark of interest that resembles your own when you first got interested in the field.  Consider developing a basic finance test, involving financial statements and balance sheets, to help you get a better idea of the strength of your staffer’s skills.  Be careful not to make it so difficult that they’ll be overwhelmed.  The results will also give you a picture of the training you will need to provide to help the person advance the quickest.

As best you can, time your decision process to begin training while summer is still here.  The early stages of training someone in valuation require the individual to apply a different style of thinking and processing of information.  You’ll have more success if your trainee isn’t constantly being dragged back into the department where he or she came from.  Without the demands of busy season you’ll have the employee’s attention for greater periods of time, allowing you to make faster progress in training.

Between now and the end of the year, you should be able to have your staffer working on as many as a half dozen different engagements.  Though your pipeline may be providing a wide variety of assignments, it might be more useful to keep your two-position player focused on one or two particular types, in order to maximize the learning time they have available.

Make liberal use of previous reports in demonstrating to your staffer the end product you want her to focus on, even if it’s only one part of the report, itself.  When people can see and understand the end goal, they usually do a better job in the tasks required to get to that goal.  They’re also more open to the corrections that may need to be put in as part of the learning process.

It may simply be a reality that you’ll have to relinquish your two-position player once busy season rolls around.   Even so, he’ll likely be eager to return to valuation as soon as possible.  He should also come up to speed quickly so you can advance the learning curve even further.  It could even be that, by the time of the next busy season, you will have added your two-position player to your own starting line-up in the valuation practice.

As with much of life, timing is everything.  Kicking off your training in the summer can make for a more effective transition process.

John Borrowman