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It’s no secret we love hearing from our clients, especially those raving fans we’ve earned over the years. So naturally, we’re honored to share Jeff Lenning’s account of his experience using BELAY to replace his longtime irreplaceable assistant.

About the author: Jeff Lenning, author of Excel University, hosts live CPE training sessions and has shown thousands of CPAs and accounting professionals across the country how to use Excel to streamline their work and become more efficient. Several publications have featured his Excel articles, including the Journal of Accountancy and California CPA Magazine.

It all started when I read the words, “I want to talk about quitting.”

My trusted assistant had been with me for years. He knew all my systems and processes. Since we had built trust over many years, I was comfortable giving him privileged access to our systems. With this access and his knowledge, he was able to truly help me get things done.

I knew the moment he told me he was quitting that it would be difficult – if not impossible – to replace him, his knowledge, and his trust. Although I was sad to lose him, I wished him well on his new adventure. His move was the right thing for him, no doubt. But it meant I would have a lot of work finding his replacement.

The thought of posting an ad on a job board, screening hundreds of resumes, and conducting interviews to find the right person felt overwhelming. I had other stuff to do and didn’t want to make time to do all of this, too. And assuming I was able to find the right person, the idea of training someone new and building that trust made me totally anxious.

When I told my wife, she gave me a hug. She understood the challenge that was ahead of me.

I was telling a friend and mentor about all of this, and he said three words that changed everything: Check out BELAY.

I pulled up the website immediately and started clicking around to learn more. I loved what I read. I felt like if they could deliver on what their site said, I would be OK. That day, I submitted a request.

The BELAY onboarding process was designed and executed effectively. I received a personalized welcome email and video clip and scheduled a meeting with my CSC (Client Success Consultant). She was great.

Her goal was to understand me, my business, and how their services could help. She walked me through the internal process used to screen, hire, and place assistants. The idea that I wouldn’t need to post an ad, screen candidates, and line up phone interviews to hire for such an important role was a relief. It saved me time – of course – but it also removed the pressure of trying to find the right person.

It felt like a huge weight was lifted from me.

We proceeded to talk about the details of my business, workflow, and systems. We also talked about my personality, my communication style, and my preferences.

All this information enabled my CSC to work with the staffing coordinator who knew the candidates. The candidates are pre-screened, and my CSC shared how selective they are. It turns out only a small percentage of the people who apply to work for BELAY are accepted.

This made me feel even better because I could tell BELAY is after quality. They didn’t want to place a random person into the position in order to make their small hourly margin. I could tell based on their due diligence that they were focused on making a successful placement.

They wanted to find the right person for me.

Then, my CSC told me they found my person.

In all honesty, this felt awkward because I had personally made all hiring decisions for the past 20 years. I was like, “Wait … are you sure? I haven’t even reviewed their resume!”

It was a challenge to surrender control and trust the experts. Turns out, they’re better at this than I am! I am good at my thing – teaching Excel – and BELAY is good at their thing.

Simply put: Their process works.

I was introduced to my new assistant and we hit it off immediately.

My VA is a perfect fit for me, my personality, and my business. She is smart, resourceful, creative, and organized. As a result, trust was built far faster than I expected. I was comfortable giving her access to our systems. She is extremely comfortable with tech and online systems. In fact, there is little need to train her on the systems – we just talk about goals and results. She handles the details. She helps me save time, yes, but more important than that, she helps me get meaningful projects done.

At the end of the day, BELAY totally delivered on what they said on their website. Their process was well designed and executed with precision. I felt like they made a great match, and I hope to get to work with my VA for many years.