It's a challenging question to ask you how committed you are to the mental well-being of your team and during tumultuous and trying times it's an important question.
It’s likely you're doing everything you can to facilitate, assist and support your team so that they thrive as well as supporting your clients so that they thrive too.
In this podcast discussion, with Martin Horton of Rivington Accounts, you'll hear Martin share his commitment and levels of support - weekly and monthly support - around the mental wellbeing of his team at an important time.
So why not join me to listen to the podcast discussion with Martin and please, if you get the opportunity, share in the comments your own stories and what you think about Martin's monthly committed support and the ways he's looking after the wellbeing of his team. I hope you enjoy the podcast.
"Each of the team also has a monthly one-to-one with an external communications specialist - I have an hour a month too.
It's completely confidential to talk about any issues they've got. So it's almost like a therapy session, and even though it's optional they all do it.
And it's a chance for them just to offload and will support them and help them improve.
So I think if they can improve in any aspect of that in their mind, it'll help us all in the business".
Connect with Martin
Connect with Paul
TRANSCRIPT - unedited
[00:00:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Humanise The Numbers the numbers podcast, series leaders, managers, and owners of ambitious accounting firms, sharing insights, successes, and issues that will challenge you and connect you and your firm to the ways and means of transforming your firms results.
[00:00:15] Martin Horton: [00:00:15] Each of the team also has a monthly one-to-one with her.
[00:00:18] Now on zoom. I have an hour a month. It's completely confidential to talk about any issues they've got. So it's almost like a therapy session, I suppose, but yeah, they all do it. It's optional. They all do it. And it's a chance for them just to offload and we'll help them improve. So I think if they can improve in any aspect of that in their mind, it'll help us all in the business.
[00:00:41] It'll help them, which will help us.
[00:00:43] Paul Shrimpling: [00:00:43] What happens when a firm of accountants helps the team thrive and helps their clients thrive in this podcast, Martin Horton of Rivington accountants shares a few of the details on how he's helping his clients thrive. But what I'd really like you [00:01:00] to listen to is what he's doing, how committed he is to helping his team thrive through supporting each and every one of them.
[00:01:09] Let's dive into that podcast now. Martin. Thank you very much for joining us today. Welcome to big game with, to kick off. Can you please just give us a little bit of background about Remington's and you and the team, and so we can get a feel for the nature of your firm please?
[00:01:26] Martin Horton: [00:01:26] Yeah, certainly. Hello, Paul.
[00:01:27] Thanks for having me on I started Rivington in 12 years ago after working in industry for 25 years for various retailers and wholesalers and manufacturers. I really wanted just to work from home had two young daughters, so that that's what started it for me. We're now so 12 years in, there's a team of eight.
[00:01:48]We have been nine until fairly recently would probably be nine or 10 again in the new year. And revenue we've got about 200 limited company clients, plus some other [00:02:00] self-employed people, few sole traders and the fee base is in the low four hundreds.
[00:02:05] Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:05] Okay. Brilliant. But exactly where are you? Just say people
[00:02:10] Martin Horton: [00:02:10] near Charlie halfway between Preston and
[00:02:12] Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:12] Manchester.
[00:02:13] Yeah. Yeah. And yeah, I think, you know I'm from Burnley, so it was not a million miles away from where you're at languishing at the bottom of the chromosome. We'll, we'll move quickly on. So Martin w the naked should this podcast around humanize the numbers and see on your website that you talk about helping businesses thrive.
[00:02:36] Through a client focused approach by delivering faster Campsie and taxation services, which no disrespect, it sounds great, but it's a sort of thing that you'd hear from many and accountant. And I'm curious, what, what, what is it that's actually, what, what evidence of your, what proof have you got that?
[00:02:51] That's what you doing? Yeah. Do you have genuinely how, cause you've highlighted the word thrive, which I'm a big fan of that word. So what is it you do as a firm that you and your [00:03:00] team connect brilliantly with your clients that also then helps those businesses thrive?
[00:03:05] Martin Horton: [00:03:05] I think a massive thing for us is that we we're all approachable.
[00:03:10] We're responsive. So really keen on, if clients ask us a question, then they get an answer quickly because that helps us. It helps them with their business and also can help us too. We want clients to be responsive to it's a two way thing really. Right. And so I re recruit mainly on sort of personality, really.
[00:03:29] And those people I think, will work well with people and they can, they can learn the rest.
[00:03:35] Paul Shrimpling: [00:03:35] So when you say you recruit the team members on personality. Yes. So, but presumably they've got to be able to do the work as well. Are you giving emphasis to the personality and less to the actual technical capabilities of doing the accounts and bookkeeping and taxation, et cetera?
[00:03:53] Martin Horton: [00:03:53] Yeah, I suppose every hire is different really, but the personalities for me is more important. I tend to, [00:04:00] if somebody needs. You know, God knowledge gap in their knowledge, then I can sort of dip in and probably work a bit harder with them than I would if I'd rather have somebody who is the right sort of personality than someone who was qualified.
[00:04:12] Paul Shrimpling: [00:04:12] Okay. And, and, you know, they, they say hire, was it hire attitude and train scale is the, you know, the, the, the, the, the piece, but absolutely relevant. And, you know, I've heard it on other podcasts where they actually let's recruit people that connect. Brilliantly with our clients. Yeah. Well, personality is a bit of a catch all isn't it it's, you know, it could mean anything that could.
[00:04:32] So what exactly are you looking for in that, that personality piece with your team?
[00:04:37] Martin Horton: [00:04:37] They, they need to actively want to help you ask what proof have we got that, that we're doing that it's I think the proof is the feedback we get from clients and the number of referrals we get from clients as well.
[00:04:50] Right. And a couple of people who work in the team now used to work for clients. And it's all been very amicable, but I saw something in them that I thought I'd [00:05:00] quite like them to work for me. And it's sort of happened that they've, they are now working for me and I've got somebody in the team who used to work for me in my previous career as well.
[00:05:11] And then, you know, he's, you know, just good repeat. They're not. Particularly gregarious or anything, but I just know that actively want to help them actually want to do the right thing.
[00:05:19] Paul Shrimpling: [00:05:19] Right? Yeah. W which is, you know, the counties are service industry at the end of the day, so that, you know, actively want to help.
[00:05:26] And okay. If you've got history with people, whether they're in a client or you've worked with them before, you know, because you worked with them that they actively want to help people. How, how do you assess people you've not met before you just going through the interview process? How do you actively determine whether they actively want to help.
[00:05:44]Martin Horton: [00:05:44] I've got it wrong.
[00:05:45] Paul Shrimpling: [00:05:45] You'd got it.
[00:05:47] Martin Horton: [00:05:47] Well
[00:05:47] Paul Shrimpling: [00:05:47] enough,
[00:05:52] Martin Horton: [00:05:52] you don't, you know, to be honest, unless you know that you don't know it from an interview or from an agency reference, you don't know [00:06:00] you get a feeling it's always a, you know, if you don't know anything about the background.
[00:06:05] Paul Shrimpling: [00:06:05] Yeah. It is there's, there's an interesting story about Southwest airlines who had, you know, a successful airline, the most consistently profitable airline in the world.
[00:06:17] And they, like, you recruit people who want to help and they, they have, and I don't know whether they still do this or not. Yeah. Because it's now public knowledge. But they used to insist a pen rolled off the table in an interview. Okay. To see whether the team member would pick it up. I'll make no effort to go and pick it up.
[00:06:37] They wouldn't hire them because they weren't naturally predisposed to go and help. But yeah, it just might be, you know, and it's like, well, how can you do that? And not look like a bit of an idiot, a pen off the table deliberately, but you know, it's it might be something you want to fold into your next interview and see what happens and see what it makes
[00:06:56] Martin Horton: [00:06:56] you think you're going to slip.
[00:06:57] We're going to slope in table. [00:07:00]
[00:07:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:07:00] So let's go back to the, so you've got the right people who want to help you clients. Yes. So this thrive piece, or what is it then that this, you know, motivated team of people are doing to help your clients thrive?
[00:07:15] Martin Horton: [00:07:15] I think it's really we've. I mean, one of the people who.
[00:07:19] I've recruited. He used to work for me for he's purely, he's a management accountant. He doesn't do any compliance work. He's there. We tell them, throw away. We're showing them. Firstly, nearly all clients are on Xero. So they've got up to date information. And secondly, we promote reporting. We've started to give them reports.
[00:07:38] Sometimes we give them a. A report for, for nothing and say, you know, you could have this information because the key to them thriving is, you know, having up-to-date information, being able to make decisions based on what's happening now rather than what happened six months ago. Yeah. So I think it's really just trying to let them know what we can do because accountants, I don't think are very [00:08:00] good at upselling if that's okay.
[00:08:02] The right phrase now. Yeah, exactly. So it's just showing you can have this, if you want, we can do it. Do you want us to do it? And if you do it, then you have a better business.
[00:08:14] Paul Shrimpling: [00:08:14] Right? Okay. And you have a bit of business cause you're making better decisions based on more up to date, relevant information. Yes, exactly.
[00:08:19] Right. Again. All right. So there's that, which is, you know, that's the space that I get really excited about because I think, you know, accountants are capable of making a profound difference to their business. Our clients, you know, my backstory is working with accountants who have not done that, and that has made my life really difficult.
[00:08:38] Plus, I've worked with accountants who have made my life really. They've been really helpful and they've made a profound impact on, you know, our business, personal wealth and so forth. So I get very passionate about this, this space, hence picking up on the word thrive. But it's one thing to present up-to-date information.
[00:08:53] It's another thing to help a client make a decent decision. Hey, [00:09:00] how do you do that? How do you and your team facilitate those conversations? What sort of questions. Are you asking clients that prompt them to make a better decision and thank you for it.
[00:09:11] Martin Horton: [00:09:11] What questions do we ask them? That's a good question.
[00:09:14]It, we, haven't got a set amount of questions. What I've noticed recently, some of the clients who've taken on, who've had a more old-fashioned accountant, maybe using some software, desktop software. They've come to us and it's like, it's a whole new world. It's, it's almost like they're asking more or small questions that we're asking them.
[00:09:33] They say, Oh, we didn't realize we could get this. Can we do this? Can we do that? How do we do that? And, and that consequently, that are a lot more labor intensive for us initially, because they didn't, it didn't realize you could do online bookkeeping. They didn't realize you could have systems to pay loads of people in one go.
[00:09:50] They realized you could get a report of what's going into your bank. Yeah today, yesterday, et cetera. So I know the answer to your question, but yeah, that's something we need to do more of. We need [00:10:00] to ask the right questions a lot more, but
[00:10:01] Paul Shrimpling: [00:10:01] but it's interesting, isn't it? That just that simple act of presenting offering sharing up-to-date and accurate information can stimulate a better quality conversation with the business owner client.
[00:10:12] Then talking about a set of accounts. That's three months, six months, nine months old. Absolutely.
[00:10:17] Martin Horton: [00:10:17] Yeah. I'm amazed that, you know, how many, how their eyes are opened and suddenly they'd, they're quite infused about the business, you know, that they're quite excited by it. Something that we've been doing for years, that they're really excited about.
[00:10:30] Paul Shrimpling: [00:10:30] And, you know, if you, if you're tapping into the excitement of business owner has about their business, then by definition, things are gonna happen in their business by as a result. Like, but I find it I think we're in a a time where. W we're opening the minds to business owners, the fact that they can get just in time or, you know, real time, if you prefer the phrase, when I prefer just in time information, when it's right for them to make the right decisions which raises the, their perception of [00:11:00] value with your firm by definition as well.
[00:11:01] Isn't it? Yeah, definitely. Yeah.
[00:11:03] Martin Horton: [00:11:03] Yeah. And I think, I think we are valued by majority of clients that certainly the ones that have worked with other accountants that the clients have never worked with. Anyone else probably think all accountants are the same. Those that have worked with other people know there's a difference.
[00:11:17] Paul Shrimpling: [00:11:17] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Can, can you share a story without mentioning it in terms of how our relationship has developed with the client and the, the use of up-to-date information and the decision making has actually enabled that business to thrive, to use your, your, your reference, just so that rather than talking, you know, generalities, we can talk about a specific example of a, of a business that you've worked with and how the process of.
[00:11:43] And commitment to helping businesses grow has worked Martin. So, you know, you've got a story can share
[00:11:49] Martin Horton: [00:11:49] yeah. One that Springs to mind is a financial advisor. Actually, somebody who has been a client now for probably 10 years. And he again was using old desktop software, is that [00:12:00] I do like him as a person as well as a similar, similar age to me.
[00:12:03]And he, he, again, used to get as a camps month, eight month, nine, sign them off pays tax and the accountant would disappear again. But his eyes were opened by online software and he, he, we ended up. Meeting every quarter, just to review everything. He loved the sessions. Really. There's a bit of an offloading session for him.
[00:12:25] He, every quarter he come to me with his problems, his frustrations, his, his wins, and it would, it would just like me to know a friend, really, every, every quarter, it sounds
[00:12:34] Paul Shrimpling: [00:12:34] like a counseling session, Martin, as opposed to meeting the mate,
[00:12:37] Martin Horton: [00:12:37] it tells me and said, yeah, yeah, I quite enjoy that though. Yeah. Okay.
[00:12:42] And ultimately move fast forward now he's he's about to, well, a few years ago, he, he managed to buy premises, commercial premises and all the benefits that brings. We started putting budgets in place and reviewing them and targets and longer term plans. Fast forward now he's, he's actually selling his [00:13:00] business and is going to be semi-retired.
[00:13:02]In a few months, right. It puts a huge amount of that down, down to his relationship with me.
[00:13:08] Paul Shrimpling: [00:13:08] Right. And that's gone on for how long, 10 years. All right. Okay. So a long, long standing relationship. And so do you think it's just about being there every quarter has just been enough for that relationship to develop and for the advice to be accepted and, and decisions made.
[00:13:27] And therefore the business proof is it's just a case of being there. Martin. I'm not trying to make out that you aren't good at what you're doing. I'm just going, cause there's a, you know, it's very different, isn't it? That four times a year, as opposed to one times a year, it's a profoundly different relationship.
[00:13:40] Isn't it?
[00:13:40] Martin Horton: [00:13:40] Definitely. I think that did, did make a big difference. Although, ideally I think to make real progress and he was a, he was a self starter rated while he knew he was on top of everything. But I think ideally once a month makes a bigger difference than once a quarter.
[00:13:57] Paul Shrimpling: [00:13:57] Right. And so I'm curious.
[00:13:58] So [00:14:00] you said you'd got what 200 clients. Yeah. Limited company clients. How many of those are you seeing quarterly Marty? Handful. Right. Okay. All right. But you know that to help clients thrive, a quarterly meeting works. Yes. And you've got five or 10 or whatever. The hard number is that you're meeting quarterly.
[00:14:20] What, what, what are you doing to enhance or advance that to quarterly connection with more of your clients? I'm I'm conscious making tax digital has been around a long time, but there's, there's, you know, there's going to be more impact on business owners and accountants over the next two or three years as we head towards tax calculations.
[00:14:39] And probably quarterly tax payments at some point you know, this decade certainly potentially this half of this decade so that quarterly reporting and quarterly meeting piece is going to be a prerequisite for the profession potentially. So I'm wondering what are your plans or what are you doing to move your handful on quarterly to a greater number?
[00:14:58] Or is that not something you want to do? I, [00:15:00] maybe I'm being presumptuous there.
[00:15:01] Martin Horton: [00:15:01] Yeah, it's something we certainly want touch points to be month. And that to make it real there's, I'm obviously limited to how many people I can see every, every month or quarter. So it's more about getting more people, sending more reports to more people, more often some commentary.
[00:15:20]We do do, I mean, I've been sending out year-end accounts via with a video. Before, before zoom was fashionable for a few years now. Yeah. And we do that with the someone three reports as well. It depends on what the client wants. Some, some clients just need to know a little bit of information every month and they're fine to carry on, on their own.
[00:15:39] Some people need more handholding. It's really given them more information more often, and that may be a meeting. It may be just a report, maybe a report with a commentary, maybe a video on the record as well.
[00:15:52] Paul Shrimpling: [00:15:52] Right. So there's a number of options there. Isn't there there's the, the, the meeting report with video report, no video.
[00:15:58] Yeah. And then [00:16:00] no report. Yeah. Is that okay? And so, so you're looking to scale the impact you have on your business through better reporting. Yes. I'm assuming that the reports will help the clients make better decisions without guidance.
[00:16:15] Martin Horton: [00:16:15] Exactly. Yeah. And I do understand sometimes they'll need guidance, but we will be, I mean, now it's obviously the time of year where you start looking forward to next year and one of our objectives will be to.
[00:16:26] Give clients more pointers, you know, don't just leave them with a report. The reason we give them a report, I know that could go into the accounting software and find a profit and loss themselves, but reports get into their inbox and they're more likely to look at them because it's a prompt. You know, they've got an email with the report.
[00:16:43]They should look at it, try and remember to look themselves.
[00:16:48] Paul Shrimpling: [00:16:48] Yeah. How do you think that will change Martin? When actually there is a, there's a reporting requirements so that, you know, there's a PNL balance sheet tax calculation has to be generated to be submitted [00:17:00] for, for making tax digital. Do you think there'll be a, a greater need for more dialogue?
[00:17:05] Not just the reporting or do you think people will just be happy just to can be continued with the reporting element?
[00:17:13] Martin Horton: [00:17:13] There should be a great, there is a need for more dialogue, but it's. But I said earlier, accountants, aren't great at selling their services, which whether we can convince the client that it will benefit them.
[00:17:26] That's a challenge we have really. So I think the more dialogue we have, the better and equally there is a time limitation on how many people we can have conversations with every month or so. But to answer your question, yes, there is a need, but I'm not sure it'll happen massively.
[00:17:43] Paul Shrimpling: [00:17:43] Right. Just because of the sheer volume of work involved.
[00:17:46] If you've got 200 clients, instead of doing a set of annual accounts, so that's 200 sets a year. If you're doing quarterly go or 200 times four, right. So that's 800 sets a year. You know, we've got to get the technology work in and we've got to get the some way of [00:18:00] making the technology, deliver the reporting in a better way.
[00:18:02]In order to free the team's time up to have more dialogue if that's possible, but it's a big ask. Isn't it? It
[00:18:08] Martin Horton: [00:18:08] is definitely you got to be more efficient because otherwise there's going to be a fee impact somewhere down the line and you don't really want to just. If you, by being inefficient, you don't want to pass higher fees onto your clients.
[00:18:18]Paul Shrimpling: [00:18:18] Indeed, but I, I, and I've had this conversation with a few firms around a lot of work. If we are heading towards quarter reporting and you're charging 2000 pounds for a set of annual accounts for a client let's just say there are a limited company turning over half a million, for example. And then all of a sudden we've got to do four sets.
[00:18:35] Then are we going to be charging them 8,000 pounds? Well, the client won't want that. You might want that, but, but go well that doesn't sort of stack up. So we've got to work out how to change the internal model. Yeah. And it sounds as though if you, if you're working with your team around delivering more, you're using your language more reports to more people more often, then that's taken you in that direction.
[00:18:58] Isn't it? [00:19:00] Yes. Yeah. But I just wonder is will that actually tick the help your clients thrive box? If they're not getting a real human touch points, one thing to send a report, another thing to have a conversation about a report, isn't it. It
[00:19:13] Martin Horton: [00:19:13] is. Yes. And it probably won't
[00:19:16] Paul Shrimpling: [00:19:16] tick that box. No. So that will be need to be factored into future strategic thinking.
[00:19:22] Do you think about it? Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I'm putting words in your mouth there it's without I was, I was on a strategic call yesterday with a firm and we were talking about a similar subject and you know, he was really pushing hard. The fact that as, as more and more technology comes into the profession, Hmm.
[00:19:39] We've got to work really hard at making it more and more human, you know, because that's what clients really value. Yes. Yeah. The reporting, the technology, like you said, ultimately can do it and it's going to be easier and easier for clients, business owners to access. You know, so what do we do to ensure that we have.
[00:19:59] Not just [00:20:00] more reports to more people, more often, but more conversations with more clients, more often as well, which has got a big resourcing issue. And by the way, a big pricing issue as well, I think.
[00:20:09] Martin Horton: [00:20:09] Absolutely. Yeah, because ultimately that's what makes us different. Isn't it? When we're all using the same technology.
[00:20:14] And the same reporting, then it comes down to who's actually working in the firm.
[00:20:18] Paul Shrimpling: [00:20:18] Yeah, for sure. And we're in that transition period where firms are more and more firms are adopting the tech. Yes. Some firms are very good with their clients and getting them to use the texts. So more or less, I don't know if you're watching zero clients in that.
[00:20:30] Well, the firms have converted, but aren't doing a good enough job. That's that's a story that's coming through quite strong at the moment. Okay. So let's go back to this thrive piece. Does that apply to your team as well? Are you, are you driving to help your team thrive or is it just a customer focused knowing
[00:20:46] Martin Horton: [00:20:46] that the teams dare I say possibly more important to me than the clients?
[00:20:51] It's I, I had a bit of a couple of years ago when my eldest daughter left home. The youngest one went this year as well. I, when I started the [00:21:00] business, as I said, it was to work from home two young daughters, et cetera, et cetera. It got to the point where I was, I was the last person at home, you know, they'd all gone to secondary school and not onwards.
[00:21:09] And I thought, why am I doing it now? You know, why, why am I running the business now whilst to spend more time with family and the family's now doing other things. So I had a bit say about two or three years ago, I thought, right. I need to get my sort of values straight here and just. For the next phase of my business.
[00:21:24] Really? Why, why am I doing it now? And it's, it's really, it came to, I want to help people who I think deserve it thrive and that's the people I can have most impact under the team.
[00:21:36] Paul Shrimpling: [00:21:36] Yeah. So it's interesting. You talk about your values and you've got them posted up on your website at that improved support belong.
[00:21:43] This, what, what, what, how, how do you ensure that that's folded into what's going on in the firm every day or every week?
[00:21:50] Martin Horton: [00:21:50] The support. Well, the support is me supporting the team and us as a team supporting clients. Right? So that the responsiveness is the [00:22:00] reporting, the support element there. The belong again is I want to engender that team culture.
[00:22:09] You know, we, we did last year, we did quite a lot of, you know, team building. Team events or team outings. We did a lot of that last year when we could. And also, you know, do I do a lot of little bits and pieces too, for example, now we've got, we've got an advent calendar going, you know, a daily draw to get a nice, nice gift every day and et cetera, I try and do my best for that to sort of improve again, it's personal improvement and advancement.
[00:22:38] You know, I've got people in the team studying. That's an easy one, obviously, but everybody has their own targets. That's not necessarily around work. It may be, you know, implementing review pieces of software or just, just improve the way we work and help our clients improve. Is it? I think it's, it's [00:23:00] folded in everyday purely because of our attitude, the attitude of the team really.
[00:23:06] Paul Shrimpling: [00:23:06] Hmm. So that just, we want to pick up on the support about supporting the team. How does that show up weekend, weekend Martin? What what's going on in terms of the way your team come together? I know it's remote working has been a challenge, but also a great opportunity for us to discover what, what works in this space.
[00:23:27] What's the routine in your firm every week to ensure that the team is supported in the right way. Okay.
[00:23:32] Martin Horton: [00:23:32] Well, every week we have a, we have a weekly meeting a team meeting every week, and then we, we go through where we're up to. We've got certain targets where related targets that keep people up to date with.
[00:23:46] Right. Obviously that's done on zoom now because we've got some people still at home, some people in the office Monday on Monday, just after lunch, it used to be first thing on a Monday, but it just came a bit of a scramble to get all the information together, [00:24:00] to do it first thing. So just bringing it back.
[00:24:03]And then I, I find I've worked for some terrible people in the past. Parts of the parts of that was there. You just didn't know what mood they were going to be in on a particular day. And I. Fine. I think it's really important. So they know where they stand with me. You know, they know they're not going to get a hard time, certainly in public, and I'm going to get a hard time, you know, the one-to-one ones, we might go through stuff or, or more frequently, but it's important to me, for me to know that they understand they've got a fair boss and they're free to sort of make, make the mistakes and develop and grow.
[00:24:37] But one thing I do do actually, which I didn't mention earlier is we used to have somebody that came in. To help one of the team days was to look at how we can sort of to understand the mind really sort of, I want to go to where we were about this, but
[00:24:52] you know, I'm a huge fan of like the Chimp paradox, you know, and I sort of. I've adopted that sort of mentality really [00:25:00] count to 10, you know, let the human come out. So she used to work with us about how to give feedback to each other and just how to behave with each other, how we've all got different requirements, you know, down to different personalities.
[00:25:12] But each of the team also has a monthly one-to-one with her now on zoom half an hour, a month, it's completely confidential to talk about any issues they've got. So it's almost like a therapy session, I suppose, but so, and that's something again that, you know, but yeah, they all do it. It's optional. They all do it.
[00:25:33] And it's a chance for them just to offload and we'll help them improve. So I think if they can improve in any aspect of their, in their mind. Yeah. Help us all in the business it'll help them, which will help us. Brilliant though. How long have you been doing that farmer? That's been we've been working with it for about 18 months, so yeah, she used to do it.
[00:25:53] Face-to-face one-to-one so she used to one month she did a one-to-one. I want you to the team on what to the team. And so now it's just [00:26:00] one-to-one
[00:26:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:26:00] right. So for all eight of the people, yeah, I have it as well. So I was just going to check on that, you know, was that it's leading from the
[00:26:07] Martin Horton: [00:26:07] front, isn't it exactly.
[00:26:08] And what she also is there for if, when. People want any support if they're given a one to one to another team member and they've got a problem, they go back to out of the, you know, mid month as well. She'll do some email support as well. So have you, when, you know, if you don't, if I don't know how to approach a team member with a particular issue in a one-to-one, she'll provide that idea that why don't you try this?
[00:26:28] Because she knows everybody now she knows will react so she can support in the internal workings as well.
[00:26:35] Paul Shrimpling: [00:26:35] Yeah. Brilliant. And have you introduced this to any of your clients market?
[00:26:40] Martin Horton: [00:26:40] I haven't actually, no, no,
[00:26:42] Paul Shrimpling: [00:26:42] I just have you tell the clients what you're doing? No amazing.
[00:26:50] Martin Horton: [00:26:50] It's only talking to you about it. So that was thought, yeah, that is, I mean, Alison, who does it? She she says, it's great that what we're doing, she, she thinks we're sort of [00:27:00] a thought, the thought leader almost in doing this. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And she loves. She feels part of the team as well now, because she knows us all.
[00:27:08]But she's never actually asked me to promote it or what, maybe I've started doing some, some webinars actually to help clients, you know, whether it be around how to get in the, into, into the local press, how to do marketing 30 minutes a day. But maybe I need to sort of do a bit of an interview with or do a presentation on that.
[00:27:29] Paul Shrimpling: [00:27:29] Well, just a one-on-one conversation like this, but let me ask a couple of questions. Do you think Alison was Alison, did you say yes. Do you think Allison's helped you and your team thrive in the last 18 months? Yes. Okay. Now, if I hear, if I've heard you right, that you want to help your clients thrive.
[00:27:46] Yes. All right. Does anything occur to you in terms of what you could be doing? Of course, yeah. What you're doing is brilliant and it's can you see us? And if we just go back to the question piece, [00:28:00] you know, a fair question might be with the client is have you, have you been having thoughts about the mental health of your team and how that's, how this year has impacted on them and who knows what your clients are gonna say?
[00:28:11] You know, they're just going to download some of them won't but some of them are going to download aren't. They got offload rather than to have, I'd say offload work, you know, the concerns they've got. And then you've got, you know, what I'm doing is I'm working with Alison and we do this today. It means I'm sleeping at night because I know I've got an insurance policy.
[00:28:29] If you will, around my team's mental health, I think that's a really interesting conversation to have with your clients. Don't you?
[00:28:37] Martin Horton: [00:28:37] It definitely is. Yeah. It takes an outside. Someone like yourself to point that out. Doesn't it really? But yeah.
[00:28:42] Paul Shrimpling: [00:28:42] And you know, I, it happens to me all the time artists I've got, as you know, I've got a couple of things.
[00:28:48] Couple of guys who were, who guide and advise me and, you know, point out the blatantly bloody obvious. Yeah. But I think, you know, the webinar is a good one because you can scale that across your clients. But I would argue that [00:29:00] this is because this is such a sensitive area. It may be, you know, just a question that you thought about an agenda item on your client meeting agenda and going, you know, just wanted to check in on something that I'm curious about.
[00:29:11] And, and you create a conversation that might just be profoundly valuable to certainly not 200 clients, but not just me. You know, it's a, it's a serious topic of conversation. This Martin, I think what you're doing there is brilliant. Right. Thank you now. Excellent. W how do you know that, that investment in time and the money you've invested in this person doing one-on-ones every month with all your team?
[00:29:33] How do you know it's actually working?
[00:29:35] Martin Horton: [00:29:35] Because they. I don't ask for support. I asked, I asked them, I say, do you still, do you want to do next month? And yes. Yeah. And they all, they all do. Right.
[00:29:46] Paul Shrimpling: [00:29:46] All right. So that they're enjoying it. How do you know it's working for the business? So it's working for them on a personal level.
[00:29:51] Yeah. How do you know it's working in terms of either the team coming together better or the, the, the results in the business? Yeah,
[00:29:58] Martin Horton: [00:29:58] it's difficult to measure that. [00:30:00] Isn't it? It's it's I think I'm just trusting the process there. That's my gut feel is there will be benefits, even if they're sort of not obvious there'll be benefits, you know, there'll be generally a bit more.
[00:30:12] And actually, yeah, we have seen that changes in behavior after the calls. The has continued, right. So it might be their own little things, but they're things, something that I might've been tipped off slightly, that something might happen anonymously, but they do happen. So the
[00:30:32] Paul Shrimpling: [00:30:32] behaviors change. Okay. I'm
[00:30:34] Martin Horton: [00:30:34] struggling.
[00:30:36] Sorry. My, do you remind one to one? I might, you know, I have a bit of a recap. There's nothing specific about any, but the lady has said, you know, you might notice so-and-so may sort of change the way they do something. Right. And they do.
[00:30:52] Paul Shrimpling: [00:30:52] Fantastic. I think that's amazing Martin. Yeah. I mean, you probably know that I've, I've, I've spent a lot of time with all the firms that I work with talking about. How do you [00:31:00] install new habits and replace the habits that are actually derailing? Either them personally, the way the teams work in all the way, the firms working as a whole.
[00:31:08]And if you've got, you know, one-on-ones with all of your team, with someone who's helping them personally. Yeah. Then that's gonna, you know, you can see that potentially having an impact on their have bitchy your behavior, even if it's just count to 10 before you react and respond to someone, let the human come out rather than the other.
[00:31:25]So that you create this consistency around the, the, the business it's that, you know, the fact that that's going on every month with every team member, To help improve them, which ticks that boxes. And it helps them support they're supported as well. And I guess because the whole team are participating in it, including you, then they probably feel a little bit more that there's a belonging piece there as well.
[00:31:50] Martin Horton: [00:31:50] that's the plan. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:31:51] Paul Shrimpling: [00:31:51] Yeah. Very good. Very good. So there's a weekly team meeting. There's this monthly one-on-one with this outside advisor, counselor. Let's just go back to the week thing. I just want to nail [00:32:00] down what else is going on in terms of, of, of comms that ensure that the team is supported and the, and the, and the results are actually generated every week.
[00:32:08] Martin Horton: [00:32:08] Yeah. Obviously it's had to change a little bit this year because we're not all in the office. But for everybody at home, I, I speak to them three times a week. Zoom
[00:32:17] Paul Shrimpling: [00:32:17] one-to-one.
[00:32:19] Martin Horton: [00:32:19] No,
[00:32:20] Paul Shrimpling: [00:32:20] as a, as a group, as a team. So this is the team meeting and then two others, or? Yes,
[00:32:25] Martin Horton: [00:32:25] so Wednesday and Friday, I speak to the, anybody that's working from home.
[00:32:28] Right. It's just a catch up really just to see how they are. That's first thing in the morning, Wednesday, Friday, I have a monthly one-to-one with everybody as well. Right. And we also, we tend to just run it this time of year. So in November, December, January daily huddles, With the workload self-assessment
[00:32:44] Paul Shrimpling: [00:32:44] season.
[00:32:45] Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So that daily huddle piece is that. So there's weekly team meeting another team, check in with you on a Wednesday and Friday. Yes. Well, there's a daily huddle going on as well. Yeah. That's only slightly [00:33:00] different agenda to those two things. Then I guess what, what's the differences between those, you know, your three, your Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the daily huddle is what, what, what's the, what's the distinction between the two.
[00:33:09] Martin Horton: [00:33:09] distinction is the huddle of the people physically in the office and the, the Monday, Wednesday, Friday, the people that via zoom or working from
[00:33:17] Paul Shrimpling: [00:33:17] home. Right. Okay. So you've got a blend of people at the office and the blend of people at home. Exactly. Yeah. Right. Okay. Okay. Brilliant. Well, it's, it's it's interesting that you say this year has been a good year.
[00:33:28]And, and you pointed her before we got on the, on the, on the podcast around lots of referrals. Hmm. Well, where I'm going with this, I've had a number of conversations with a number of firms of late. And it seems to be the distinction between the firms that are doing really well this year, as opposed to the firms who aren't doing quite as well as they would've liked this year.
[00:33:47] And that's me being polite, I guess. There's a volume of contact with the team, with the firms that are doing really well. Like yours, you know, daily huddles, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, that it's, you know, there's quite a lot going on. It's using quite a lot of management [00:34:00] time. Yeah. Yeah. Well, it works, but it's working.
[00:34:02] Hmm. And to getting work out the door and ensuring that the client relationship management stuff's taking place so that you get this, because if you're not doing that, you won't get the referral as well. Yeah. Just, you know, it, it, it naturally follows. So it's great to hear that you're in that space that you know, there's lots of.
[00:34:18] One-to-one and team check-ins in a week. It's not just a one-off thing. No.
[00:34:24] Martin Horton: [00:34:24] That's brilliant. And that's more now, obviously a, because of the time of year and B, because we've got some people at home and I don't want them to feel left out. I don't want a division to
[00:34:34] Paul Shrimpling: [00:34:34] occur. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And so, so for me, it looks as though you're, you've got a, an extremely human approach to the workload week in, week out in the business.
[00:34:45] Martin Horton: [00:34:45] definitely. Yeah. Yeah. It's important to me.
[00:34:47] Paul Shrimpling: [00:34:47] And managing the mental health with that outside support on a monthly basis. It doesn't really surprise me that you're getting plenty of referrals. Yeah, I've
[00:34:55] Martin Horton: [00:34:55] never really thought about it. That that's actually, but yeah, I think it will have an impact on the [00:35:00] way clients get treated and then clients referrals, because the way they get treated.
[00:35:04] Paul Shrimpling: [00:35:04] Yeah. And it's that old adage. If you treat your team like Kings and Queens, they'll to treat your customers like Kings and Queens. And it sounds as though you're very much ticking that box That's been really good Martin really appreciate you investing your time and and sharing some insights into Remington the accountants.
[00:35:17] Thank you very much. Thank you. You'll find more value discussions with the leaders of ambitious accounting firms at humanized, the numbers.online. You can also sign up to be notified each time a new podcast is made available. This podcast series humanized, the numbers has been made possible. Thanks to the support.
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Recruiting team members
Helping clients to thrive
Sending more reports to more people more often
Helping the team to thrive
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