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I asked for advice on what job title to give to my part-time staff person and what tasks I should/should not delegate to her.
A few people mentioned that they've hired someone to do both business and personal errands. That sounds fishy to me IRS-wise. I would think you should keep those separate.
SpeakerNet News Note: We asked Judith Dacey, CPA (DaceyCPA@EasyAs123.com), for her thoughts on those gray areas. Check with your own CPA for your situation. Here is her response:
Yeah, it's a gray area. A corporation has a lot more leeway. Picking up the cleaning is something many a corporate secretary or personal assistant has done. Just like buying the boss's spouse the needed birthday gift, etc. Going to the bank and post office are business errands. Babysitting is definitely personal. Now we are getting into what I call 'Point of View.' If you consider it business, it is. For example, working in the home office why Mom/Boss is away is business. Just because a kid is sleeping in the house, doesn't make it babysitting. However, if you consider it babysitting, it is personal--based on your Point of View. A corporation can provide an on site childcare facility with the proper documentation or a Sec. 125 plan for pre-tax dollars to pay for childcare.
On another note, the 2000 mileage rate is 32.5 cents. Paying employees more constitutes additional wages and has to be included in the their W-2 subject to Medicare/Social Security. (Not that I'm concerned about .5 cents overage but for the record.)
-- Abby Marks-Beale
I too recently hired a part-time person to help with my speaking and training business. I consider her my office assistant as well as my personal assistant. I have found I can easily delegate most record keeping tasks to her like database creation and managing, invoicing, letters of agreement, etc. She also manages my inventory of materials. She answers my phone, makes travel arrangements and helps pack my speaking materials. At times, I ask her to go to the cleaners, post office or bank which she readily does. She tracks her mileage and I pay her monthly at .33 a mile. She is also willing to watch my kids in a pinch like when one is sleeping and I have to pick up the other. I did not hire her as a babysitter but I trust her enough to assume the role if necessary.
-- Connie Merritt
I like "Client Support Services" as a general title or "Client Support Manager" after they are experienced. If they do more for you, like picking up your dry cleaning and walking the dogs, I think "PA" works well. Since I'm very computerized, I eliminated much work for an assistant. Now, I have a college student doing some data input, stamping, stapling, misc stuff. I think it's important to put together the packages and talk to all clients yourself. Therefore, I'd say, not delegate much ---especially billing, invoicing, banking, money.
-- Scott Halford
I call my assistant Office Manager. That's what she does and it's a nice title that she likes.
-- Bill Hodges
My assistant's job title is Operations Manager. Seems to cover all bases :-)
-- Lois Creamer
I work with speakers and have also trained speaker staff. Re your question on job titles. The title should reflect the duties delegated. For example, don't use the title "Marketing Manger" if the employee is doing admin stuff only. Speaker's Assistant is far too vague.
If my staff person does some marketing, some organizational office duties, keeps the calendar, tames the paper flow, I think a good title is "Office Manager" or "Business Manager." If the assistant does do sales, you may be better served by the title "Marketing Manager" in your market.
Remember, it's important how your staffer is PERCEIVED by your clients, and the title used can go a long way in creating the perception.
Forgot about your question regarding what duties you would suggest never delegating. I would delegate everything I don't want to do! That said, you still must be able to do it all since it's your business.
I've worked with speakers who hate selling their services over the phone and prefer another to do it. That's fine if you can afford it, however, the speaker must always be able to be the BEST at selling himself/herself and speaking services, regardless of what they may ultimately choose to delegate.
Also see our compilation on hiring an assistant