So, you've hired your first Filipino accountant.

Congrats! Now you might be thinking about what’s next.

“How do I set my Filipino accounting staff up for success?”

“How do I make sure we can work together productively and happily?”

Building an effective team comes in three parts. First is, of course, finding the right person for the job - something we talk about a lot on this site.

The second is setting them up for success, and the third is continual leadership and management.

In this article we’ll be talking about number two -

Setting your Filipino accountant up for success.

Get Very Clear About Your Filipino Accountant's Role and Expectations

The first step to ensuring your Filipino accountant soars like an eagle instead of crashing like a defective drone (or about as hard as this analogy did) is to be clear about your expectations.

And maybe this is not a surprise, but it all starts with clarity. You need to clearly define the role that you're hiring them to do.

What are they in charge of? What are they not in charge of? How will they be evaluated?

This is something that I do before I hire anybody.

As I’m writing down their job description, including all their responsibilities, I write down how I'm going to evaluate them and what I'm going to be looking for within certain timeframes.

  • In 2 weeks
  • In 4 weeks
  • In general (longer term)

Then, at each milestone I refer back to what I wrote and look at how this new person is doing.

And critically, I share this criteria with him or her before we start working together, and I share my feedback at each stage.

If we’re not meeting my expectations, I consider if they need additional support or if  this is really just not a good fit.

A team of Filipino accountants

Let Your Filipino Accountant Know How They Fit In

The next thing you need to do is set the context of their position.

In this step, you help your new teammate know what they're getting into, what tasks they need to perform, why they're doing those tasks, how it works and who it helps.

This should all happen during onboarding. Onboarding is a critical component and I sometimes think people don't do it the justice that it deserves.

Below is a brief description of what’s in our onboarding program and how you can think about putting yours together:

#1 Tell Them Your Story

First and foremost, you’ll want to welcome them to the team. At this stage you introduce the company by telling the company as well as the founder’s story.

A lot times we forget to tell people the details - including how you got into this business in the first place. People want to know. Your team wants to know!

#2 Talk About Your Mission and Impact

Your Filipino team mate will want to know that they're coming to a place that they’re aligned with. What difference does your service make in your client's lives?

Here’s an opportunity to go deeper. Share your values, talk about your culture, and specifically tell them what behaviors you're looking for.

#3 Go Deeper With Your Culture

Sometimes values and culture can be vague.

People might think, “okay that’s great, but what does that have to do with my everyday work?”

I phrase it like this:

If we have these values, and this culture, this is how we will behave, and the actions we’ll see from each of us.

For example, at my company, we’re

  • Self starters
  • Ambitious
  • Assertive
  • Problem solvers
  • Fun
  • Etc.

I share all of these with descriptions and examples, so that they have a clear understanding of what we can expect from each other.

#4 Inform them about growth areas

You’ll also want to let them know how they can grow their role.

Make it clear upfront how they can get promotions and raises and what you'll be looking for.

People thrive when they can see a clear trajectory and future within your company.

#5 Let them know how you handle mistakes

Think back to when you started your last job and just didn't know what was expected of you.

I’m sure you wanted to do really excellent work and you worried about making mistakes.

How are mistakes handled in your company?

Tell your new team mate a little bit about your practices and how they can learn from mistakes.

Talking through these things is really helpful for new people.

A Filipino Accountant working at a laptop. Perhaps she is training to be the best Accountant ever.

Do It With Video

I've just given you a whole bunch of topics that you need to talk with your new employee about.

But how do you do this? Well, there are a few methods.

You could type it all up and create a handbook that they could read, but that's a little boring, right?

Or you could have a one-on-one call with each new person you bring on - but that’s pretty time-consuming and overwhelming.

My preferred way is to make videos.

Make videos like the one at the top of this blog post, where you go over all of the topics I mentioned.

This way, you only have to make it once and you can then send it to each new person that you hire.

Training Your Filipino Accountant

What else do you need to do to set your new teammate up for success?

Training, of course.

This can involve a lot, and exactly what training needs to happen is going to depend on you, your company, and what the role is.

Expect to spend one to two hours on calls with them every day for a while, at least for the first couple of weeks.

Getting someone up to speed usually takes longer than you think.

I've hired a lot of people in different countries and that's just how it goes, especially if it's something that you're used to doing yourself and now you're hiring someone else to do.

A Filipino accountant confused about making a mistake

Good Things Take Time

Even with an experienced accountant, training and the onboarding period often takes longer than you think it will.

Your new Filipino accountant has experience with a different company, they don't know your clients, and they may have a different way of doing things that they've learned at other firms.

For instance, do you respond to clients within the same business day?

Your new team member may not have done so previously, and it’s something you expect.

You might be frustrated and wondering why they aren't being responsive! Well, maybe you haven't told them what being responsive means to you exactly.

You should expect to feel frustrated! This is true anytime you're hiring anybody.

First Month Filipino Accountant Jitters

Many accountants, especially if they're hiring for the first time in the Philippines, often have frustrations early on.

Even those who have the most glowing praise later on!

The first and second month they're often thinking “oh no, this person doesn't understand me. This isn't going to work! This has been a big mistake!”

I work with a lot of accountants who hire talent from the Philippines for the first time and this is common.

For many, it’s their first time doing meetings over Zoom. If there's any sort of time delay or communication barrier it's worrying, as you can imagine.

But trust me, after the second month, this all smooths out. I've watched this happen. It even happens to me sometimes when I hire new people!

The first couple of months you'll both be finding your footing.

So there you have it. To set your Filipino employee up for success, you need to do these few things:

  1. One, be clear about expectations, set the context.
  2. Tell them more about you and your firm than you think you should.
  3. Be available.
  4. Be patient!

At Team Up, we recruit top-tier Filipino talent for accounting firms for a flat fee.

We're a recruiting agency, not a BPO, so there are no ongoing fees and you have a hire that you're working with directly.

(Find out the difference between a BPO vs Employer of Record and The 7 Downsides Of Hiring An Outsourced Accountant Through A BPO- here)

If you need help with payroll or compliance, we can connect you with an Employer of Record who can help with all of that.

Hit the button below to sign up to our bi-weekly newsletter where I share my top hiring and management tips for working with staff in the Philippines.  

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Or check out some some more resources on hiring in the Philippines on our website:

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Written By
Isaac Smith
Isaac has been building businesses since 2014. He sold an eCommerce business in 2019, co-founded Summit eCommerce Advisors - a bookkeeping and advisory firm, TeamUp - a recruiting business, and hosts the Next Level eCommerce podcast. He lives in the Portland, Oregon area, where he loves snowboarding with his daughter and trying to convince his wife to do outdoorsy things.
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