Golden Business Ideas


The Smart Way to Train New Hires
It goes by various names: coaching and mentoring, buddy systems and peer programs. But no matter what it’s called, it’s generally ignored by managers—which means that, for the most part, recent hires frequently are left to their own devices to figure out how to do their jobs. Or, worse, the recently hired must endure cookie-cutter orientation programs that tell them more than they need to know about some corporate subjects and not enough about those things they really should understand.

Yet—and this is where the disconnect becomes obvious—those same managers who ignore the mentoring of new employees because they haven’t the time or the interest end up spending an inordinate amount of hours pointing out job problems during the first periodic performance review.

This leads us to the obvious question: Could many of those problems have been eliminated, or at least alleviated, if the employee had been given the opportunity to learn from an experienced manager about how to handle special assignments and priorities and, even more important, how his or her job connects to the overall company operation?
Some managers may protest, “We just don’t have time to handhold all new hires.” A valid complaint.

So what’s a good manager to do? In one word: Delegate. After all, the best ones are adept at this task. The goal should be twofold: for managers to relieve themselves of some of their burden by transferring responsibilities to staffers with leadership potential and also to accelerate training of talented employees with challenging assignments.
And what should be the role of the mentor? For the first week or so, mentors should set a time late in the afternoon to meet with the new employee and take the opportunity to review the day’s activities. In general the mentor’s role is that of a coach: suggesting goals and priorities, overseeing (at a respectful distance) the work and being available to answer questions.

Most important: The mentor should be ready to step back when the new hire is able to be more independent.

Accounts Payable Trouble Signs
Be alert for fraud if you spot the following in the accounts payable department: complex intergroup transactions, unusual banking arrangements and unexpected cash-flow deficiencies.

Self-Defense for Leasing a Building
Before you sign a building or office lease, check to see that the structure’s electrical capacity is sufficient to meet your organization’s needs. If you discover later that it isn’t adequate, any necessary renovations will be your financial responsibility as tenant.

What to do: Engage an engineering consultant to survey the property before signing the lease..

STANLEY ZAROWIN, a former JofA senior editor, now is a contributing editor to the magazine. His e-mail address is .

An Invitation
The JofA publishes a monthly collection of Golden Business Ideas and invites readers to contribute their favorites (for attribution, if you like).

Send your ideas to contributing editor Stanley Zarowin via e-mail at or regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy , Harborside Financial Center, 201 Plaza Three, Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881.


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