We have heard a lot about ‘virtual’ in the past year and a half, but your Virtual Team is not a team that meets exclusively via Zoom. Rather, this team comes around your Core team when you encounter issues outside their areas of competency. Members of your Virtual Team will get involved to play a specific, specialized role, and when the need for that role is gone, they step out. You can think of them as an on-call project manager.
To know when you need a Virtual Team member, you first need to have a deep understanding of the areas of expertise that exist on your Core Team. Not every type of Core Team member will have the same competencies, so establishing when you are ‘out of their expertise’ in a particular topic will be important to understand. From there, lean on your Core Team to pull in Virtual Team members when needs arise. Virtual Team members could even come from inside an organization of one of your Core Team members, and they will know best where to pull the proper resources for your needs.
Consider a few areas that may require the expertise of a Virtual Team Member:
- Formal Appraisal – If you need a formal appraisal done for valuation purposes, you will need to pull in a valuation expert to do so. This is typically going to be an accountant, and they may carry a designation such as the Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA). This need may arise during succession planning, a buy/sell transaction, a sale of an asset or if you need a formal appraisal for the first time.
- Acquisition – If you are acquiring a business, you will need a representative to help you through the acquisition. They will help you walk through the negotiation, represent you to the seller and coordinate the necessary legal and tax elements of the transaction.
- Executive Hiring – When adding a key team member to your executive team, you will likely want a consultant or hiring expert to run the search and interview process for you. The more of an impact the new hire will have on your business, the more important it is to have an outsourced expert to run the process for you. They should be able to understand your culture and expectations for the role, do an initial search, screen qualified candidates, and bring you a ‘short-list’ of well-qualified candidates to meet and interview. You may also want an HR attorney to help with the legal element of contract negotiations if this is a high-level position.
- Specialty Accounting – If you are involved in a specialized industry, such as construction or specialty manufacturing, you likely require an accountant who has expertise in your particular industry. The accountant on your Core Team may not have the detailed expertise needed for more complex accounting but should be able to find the needed resource either within their firm or outside their firm.
- Executive Benefits – If you provide an executive benefits program outside of your retirement plan to your executive team, you will need a financial advisor with expertise in managing these types of plans and understands the tax and regulatory element of such plan. The financial advisor on your Core Team may or may not have experience with running executive benefits plans but should be able to pull in the proper resources for that need.
Your Virtual Team will come and go depending on need, and you should provide flexibility for your Core Team to manage those needs on an ongoing basis. This allows your Core Team members to thrive in their areas of competency while also providing value by brining you needed resources in specialized areas.
Now that we have established the elements of a good planning team, it is time to assess your current team. Do you have the necessary roles, resources, and processes in place for your team to deliver consistent value to you and your organization? Stay tuned as we wrap-up this series with Part 4!
Garry North, CFP®