How do you, as a firm, end up with a culture where everyone within the firm holds everyone else to account for the standards of the work they do and the way they behave?
It's not just a top down accountability.
It's top down, bottom up, side to side accountability because everyone has that drive, enthusiasm and verve for achieving performance and behavioural standards that everyone in the firm holds dear.
Join me on this podcast interview with Neil Ballard and Rachel Barry of Lewis Ballard, a 24 person, two office firm in South Wales.
Neil and Rachel also happen to be father and daughter.
Hear exactly how they've created this culture of accountability thanks to some monthly routines around team feedback.
Hear also about the impact 360-degree feedback has had on Neil, the managing director, and how they connect in a stronger, deeper and a more emotionally, valuable way with their clients because of their approach to a communication strategy.
So please join me, Neil and Rachel, on this humanisethenumbers.online podcast.
I look forward to hearing and hopefully reading your feedback on, what I think, is a really valuable discussion.
"For us it's about developing them as people.
We absolutely believe that whoever comes to us, we always want them to leave better people, not just better accountants, better people."
Connect with Neil
Connect with Rachel
Connect with Paul
TRANSCRIPT - unedited
[00:00:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:00:00] Welcome to the humanized, 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.
[00:00:22] Neil Ballard: [00:00:22] It's developing them as people, you know, and you know, with John and I always say in Sean, whoever comes to us, We always want them to leave better people, not just better accountants, better people.
[00:00:34] Paul Shrimpling: [00:00:34] What happens when you build stronger relationships or rather more valuable relationships and ultimately more trusting relationships between your team, your client manager team and your clients? Well, what happens is like it's happened at Louis Barnard in Cardiff. Uh, there they grow their firm. They grow their firm to a 1.7 million pound to office firm.
[00:00:55] And. They actually grow and build that firm without it [00:01:00] being so reliant on the owners of the firm, because they've worked out how to connect better in a more human way with their clients. And as a trusting team, hold each other to account and communicate in such a way that no one gets too upset when they're held to account.
[00:01:15] So why not join me? And Neil and Rachel on this discussion about the detail and the elements that they use to make their firm and really humanized for that achieved some really great numbers today. I'm joined by Neil ballad and Rachel buried. And why don't you, um, introduce yourself Naila and the firm, and then tee up Rachel, introducing yourself as well.
[00:01:40] So everyone can get a sense of the family nature of this podcast,
[00:01:44] Neil Ballard: [00:01:44] please. Oh, thanks, Paul. Um, yeah, my name's Neil Balart from Louis Bilad accountants. We've got an office in Cardiff and we've got a sup office in Tamby as well. Um, turning over around about 1.7 million at the [00:02:00] moment. Um, upwards of seven, 800 clients probably, um, Fetty.
[00:02:09] Gus specialisms in healthcare. I've done a lot of dentists over the world of the years to a lot of pharmacists, but basically we like acting for nice clients who are nice to deal with, who want to grow their business. And, uh, and obviously you will pay us as well, which is always a bonus. Yeah. Well, it does help.
[00:02:28] How many is in your team now? Um, we've got 23 in Cardiff and 10 B. And then we've got seven or eight in India as well. And we outsource some of the work. Um, and we, you know, we're rarely very well into the technology, into cloud accounting and all the latest stuff. So. Uh, we'll come back to COVID I'm. Sure.
[00:02:56] Um, or maybe we went for the follow-up
[00:03:00] [00:02:59] Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:59] it's, it's hard to avoid his name. So, um, uh, what your role in the business, Neil, and then lead into, uh, Rachel's role in the firm? Would you please?
[00:03:08] Neil Ballard: [00:03:08] Uh, yeah. My role in the business really is, um, or the managing director role. Now I'm a be supported by my wife, Janet and Shawn.
[00:03:17] Um, and together the three of us run it. Um, I really haven't got a client portfolio as such, no, I just ended up doing more of the strategy work. Um, and I know that Sean and all the other managers and of their own portfolios, uh, and they just call on me when I need an old person to put some experience into certain situations.
[00:03:42] So they say, um, and one of our managers is, uh, Rachel Berry, who so happens to be my beautiful daughter as well. Rachel. So, uh, who came and worked with us, um, William shore was a bit apprehensive about it.
[00:03:58] Paul Shrimpling: [00:03:58] Let's get to that. So, Rachel, how long have [00:04:00] you been in the firm?
[00:04:01] Rachel Barry: [00:04:01] Um, Oh, I think it's 10 years this year.
[00:04:03] Oh yeah. It'll be 10 years in August. So, um, I started with. Zero qualifications. Um, which was quite funny because everyone seemed to assume because I was Neil's daughter that I would instantly know accountants. And, um, they talked to me about Steph and I have no idea what they were talking about. Um, but now I'm, I'm fully qualified have been for, I think he's probably, well, yeah.
[00:04:30] For seven years, maybe seven years. I've been ACC qualified. And, um, I've also got my chapter tax advisor qualification. Um, I got that year and a half, two years ago. Right. Um, so yeah, so now I do know a lot of things.
[00:04:48] Paul Shrimpling: [00:04:48] Now you can answer the questions you were able to answer 10 years ago. Um, brilliant. So, um, Rachel.
[00:04:56] And I worked with my father for the best part of the [00:05:00] decade. So I've got an appreciation as to the upsides of that, but also some of the downsides of that. Um, and, um, I'm curious as to what, and I'm going to ask the same question to Neil in a minute, but we'll start with you. What, what, what do you think it's, um, like for you, but also w how does, how does it work for the others that Neil and Janet's daughter was actually working in the business.
[00:05:24] Rachel Barry: [00:05:24] Well, I think particularly because they, I wasn't given any special treatment. I came in, like I say, with no experience at all. So I came in at the box. Um, I was the most junior 80 when I started, I, you know, I did all the dog work and I've gone through, I'm probably one of the only people in the company now that has gone through every job.
[00:05:46] Right. So I think people, um, They don't have their nose out of joint about me being ill and Jan still too, because I've done the dog work to get to where I, where I am. And I've been in all of their [00:06:00] positions. Well, except for the ones that are more senior to me, but you know, all of the positions below me.
[00:06:04] Yeah. Um, I I've done that job and I, so I've got an appreciation for the work that other people are doing this, you know, some of our managers have come in higher up, you know, I'm one of the ones that's actually gone. Like I say all the way through, through every stage. So I think. I don't think I was given anything.
[00:06:22] I don't know whether everyone else.
[00:06:25] Paul Shrimpling: [00:06:25] Yeah. Cause it's, uh, and I was in the same position, you know, it was, you know, cleaning the toilets in the factory before so that they saw that I was willing to do that stuff, even though I've been pulled into, uh, access sales and marketing director actually. But it's, you know, the first thing they witnessed was me cleaning the toilets in the battery.
[00:06:43] Um, Which was a deliberate ploy. I've got to say. Um, but, um, it was like, you know, you've got to share willing to, to do the legwork because you call it the dog work.
[00:06:52] Rachel Barry: [00:06:52] Yeah. Yeah. So I think, I don't think anyone and I don't think I particularly get any favoritism. I think to be honest, I probably [00:07:00] get the opposite as in, they won't be seen to allow me to do stuff they will not anyone else do.
[00:07:07] So if other people asked for some stuff, they'd be like, Oh, yeah, you could have that off, even though it's not normal and it's not within the employment contract or whatever, but then with me, there'd be a bit more like, Oh, because of how it's perceived. So they don't.
[00:07:23] Paul Shrimpling: [00:07:23] So there's actually, uh, it is weighted, but it's weighted against you as opposed to for you.
[00:07:27] Rachel Barry: [00:07:27] Is that what you're saying? But not massively, but some of the things that other people could get away with, they couldn't let me get away with it because the team would perceive it in a different way. So they have to. Um, ensure that it's fair. So, yeah,
[00:07:41] Paul Shrimpling: [00:07:41] it's interesting that you use the word fair because there's an I've referred to this before, but there's a massive employee survey by an organization called the Serota group.
[00:07:51] And, and it's something like 13.6 million employee surveys feed this research. So it's like the most profound piece of research that I've ever come across as far as employees are [00:08:00] concerned. And the primary conclusion that this research comes to is that unless. A work environment is seen to be fair. You, you, there's no way you can get the other two things that the survey shows about, which is a sense of achievement and a sense of comradery.
[00:08:17] You know, those two things are great in a working environment, but actually the foundation on which they're built is this sense of fairness. And so, and it, and it can be seen counter or could be seen that. Um, the, the relation of the managing directors, um, comes in, can undermine that fairness, but it sounds as though the way they've made you start from the bottom and roll your sleeves up and do all the dogwoods or use your phrases as overcome that.
[00:08:41] Is that how you think it is Rachel?
[00:08:44] Rachel Barry: [00:08:44] Yeah, I don't think they particularly made me start from the bottom. They just placed me where I deserve to be, you know, like when they told me not in that, but they did didn't they put me in any of the way I had no qualifications, like I had to degree, but I didn't have any accountancy [00:09:00] experience.
[00:09:01] And, um, you know, I was the same as, and if anyone else had come in, they would have put them in that position. So they treated me, you know, and they've always paid me the same as, you know, they've never paid me, you know, like it's so yeah, they don't. Yeah, but I don't think that no
[00:09:15] Paul Shrimpling: [00:09:15] special treatment. And actually, if anything, it's, it's tilted slightly, just slightly.
[00:09:21] So that, um, there's an, uh, Neil and Janet are ensuring that sense of fairness is always there.
[00:09:27] Rachel Barry: [00:09:27] Yeah. It's just so that it's not perceived, you know, even if it did seem, you know, even if it was, it would be fair to allow me to do it. If other people perceive that it wasn't fair, then, then like you say, we'll change the whole.
[00:09:39] Environmental work. So yeah. They'll always make sure that even if we all think it's fair, if they feel someone in the team would yeah. Then they won't.
[00:09:48] Paul Shrimpling: [00:09:48] Yeah, yeah, yeah. So was it a deliberate ploy to bully at Rachel throughout a 10 year career in the film? Is that sorry? I couldn't resist.
[00:10:00] [00:10:00] Neil Ballard: [00:10:00] Uh, no, it was, um, I think Rachel's right.
[00:10:03] It's it's the fairness. It's it's a massive thing. Um, it's a massive thing for John and I, and, uh, it runs through the firm really. We just want to be seen to be fed all the time. Um, and Rachel probably is right. You know, sometimes she probably would get a bit less Slack than others because we can't be seen to be doing it.
[00:10:26] And we can't have set the upper car. Can you.
[00:10:29] Paul Shrimpling: [00:10:29] Uh, Y well, you can name and you see from us, where are the
[00:10:34] Neil Ballard: [00:10:34] attachments? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:10:36] Paul Shrimpling: [00:10:36] I mean, there's firms, you know, where they do upset the Apple cart, whether there's a relation or not the, you know, there's actually, they've not focused in on the fact that actually, uh, everyone's a human being, which is part of the equation about being fair.
[00:10:50] Uh, everyone needs to be. Paid fairly, according to everyone else within the firm, because every firm's got its own ranking system, if you will, in terms of salaries. And also you've got to be [00:11:00] paid fairly compared with a similar role in a similar firm, in a similar location. And that's, that's the definition from Serota of fairness.
[00:11:07] Um, and, and, and firms do sometimes lose the plot on this sense of fairness, which dehumanizes what's going on in the firm. Um, you, you say it's always been a focus of yours and Janet's to have that fair firm culture, if you will. Now, what, what do you think, how does that show, or what have you done to deliberately build that sense of fairness in the firm?
[00:11:31] Neil Ballard: [00:11:31] Ooh, I I'd like to think we try and read it as a family sort of business, the train of a Corpus lands around it, which is a bit. You know, we've got to, we, you've got to have a corporate edge, it's got to be profitable, it's got to be efficient and everything else, but we still wanted to be a family sort of business.
[00:11:50] You know, we always looked at the, all the staff as though that extension of the family, you know, we, we bend over backwards for them to help them. Um, and we really [00:12:00] appreciate them. Um, we don't always get it right because we don't, um, I went out. I was appreciated. Sometimes we don't always appreciate that, but we, we try and deal with it and then not away.
[00:12:12] And, um, yeah.
[00:12:15] Paul Shrimpling: [00:12:15] It's an interesting phrase that, you know, a family business with a corporate edge or corporate edge as a family business, it doesn't matter which way you look at it. Um, is that, that corporate edge, the, you know, it has gotten to be profitable and that's where it stops or is there more to it than that now?
[00:12:30] Yeah, no,
[00:12:30] Neil Ballard: [00:12:30] no, it's not that it's corporate responsibilities as well. Isn't there. You've got to have your, you, you've got to have everything else wrapped around it. Um, but it's, it's just very hard to have a team our size with two offices without having some sort of. Structures around it. Yeah. The way I am at the moment reading, um, no rules, rules book.
[00:12:50] So, uh, which is very interesting is that
[00:12:52] Paul Shrimpling: [00:12:52] I have done it this one.
[00:12:54] Neil Ballard: [00:12:54] Oh, it's all about the Netflix culture. Oh, right. Okay. Yeah. And it's extremely interesting. [00:13:00] So,
[00:13:01] Paul Shrimpling: [00:13:01] and what is it you're seeing in there that you see in Louis Ballarat as opposed to what you're seeing in there? That's not really spot on. The
[00:13:08] Neil Ballard: [00:13:08] one thing that I picked up from it was, as we grew.
[00:13:12] And, um, things happened. You ended up putting policies in place, which you don't really want to put in place, but again, you've got to put them in place to be seen to be fair. Right. Where does idea that you'd like to just go to the desk and say, well, look, you can't do that. Yeah. But all of a sudden, because someone's done it and then someone else tries to do it.
[00:13:34] And then I say, well, he did it weigh on you. Let me do it. And. You end up putting the policy in place and, and Netflix basically, you've just flown the policies out the window. Oh really? All right. So
[00:13:46] Paul Shrimpling: [00:13:46] absolutely out the window. So how would they build in that sense of fairness then when they're clearly going to create that sense of conflict?
[00:13:55] Neil Ballard: [00:13:55] Um, well, you, you, I, I know you'll read it. Um, I know you will know. [00:14:00] Um, but one of the I've only, I've only just started it, but one of the points is they say they always hire the best people. Yeah. And that adequate performers are given a really good severance package. Oh, really? Right. Okay. And that's one of the, you know, that's one of their stickers on their group policy.
[00:14:20] Um, they haven't got a vacation policy, they haven't got that, but it's quite interesting that they watch it from the, the sort of watch people's behaviors come down and they really welcome honest feedback whenever and wherever.
[00:14:38] Paul Shrimpling: [00:14:38] Interesting. Sounds like an obvious. Thing to do, but sometimes can be really difficult to deliver. Rachel, how do you think as that? And I know this is hard, cause I'm going to say as an employee, how good has Neil and Shannon and Janet been that honest feedback. And it's, I need you to look at how it's [00:15:00] worked for you, but also looking at other people in the team as well, because this is a, this is an easy thing to say and actually quite a hard thing to carry out in my experience.
[00:15:09] Rachel Barry: [00:15:09] Yeah, we do. Um, we do like monthly feedback forms and everything like that. But I think that if you've got people have, and to be honest, some stuff comes up in that, that you kind of go, Oh, you know, like somebody obviously kind of people, I think people feel quite comfortable in our office, but they also have, they do really have an open door policy.
[00:15:29] And then, you know, like, and my, like my memes. More like hate char and that sort of side of it. And she's much
[00:15:37] Paul Shrimpling: [00:15:37] nicer than your dad in my experience.
[00:15:42] Rachel Barry: [00:15:42] If you ever, if you then Ima, if you heard of IMF, what the profiling tool. Yeah. So my mum's blue, so she's people focus. You slow up. Her main focus is she's not task focused.
[00:15:54] She's people focused how they feel is right. That's right. So he's fast and he's task [00:16:00] focused. So they they're the polar opposite. So when people have a problem, they tend to go to mem because she's more people focused and she's more concerned about how they feel. So she's more likely to. Fix it for them, not that dad won't, but dad would probably pass them to my Manny.
[00:16:17] Right. Yeah. And then
[00:16:19] Neil Ballard: [00:16:19] delegate Rachel delegate.
[00:16:23] Rachel Barry: [00:16:23] And you see people go in and out of my mom's office all the time and she, she does endeavor to sort out anything. We, you know, if it's systems problems and stuff like that, they get sorted out pop like quite quickly. But if there is a. Problem within the team, if there's a problem with the management or anything like that.
[00:16:39] And people, they do go to my mom and say, look, I don't think this is working or they are not. And, um, yeah. And it does it, the honest feedback is that we, we all, we all, we all hold each other accountable as a whole team. Like we're quite, uh, we all work hard. We're very hard working team. I'd like, I'm not [00:17:00] just saying that because I'm a member of it.
[00:17:01] Like we are, you know, when you can sit them, you can watch people, don't Slack people. And if people do the others hold them accountable, you just don't get away with it in our team. You just, everyone works hard. Everyone pulls their weight, they help each other out where they can. They do as much as they can.
[00:17:16] But yeah, so. All this feedback probably does come quite often in our office, I would say.
[00:17:22] Paul Shrimpling: [00:17:22] Okay. There's two places I want to go with that one is it sounds as though you've got some sort of monthly team feedback process. Yeah. Yeah. We'll come back to that in a second. Um, how do you build a working environment where the leadership don't need to hold the team to account because the team are holding each other to account.
[00:17:39] How do you, how, how does that, how does
[00:17:41] Rachel Barry: [00:17:41] that come about? I think it just organically happened to be honest. And I think it's because people work. Because we take pride in our work because we care about what we do and we care about our clients. And if we say that, you know, if, if you see that someone else isn't doing the same, it, it [00:18:00] kind of infuriates you because you're saying, well, that's going to reflect on us.
[00:18:03] And the rest of us are working really hard. And I don't think that there was, it was consciously formed, but I do think pretty much since I've been at Lewis ballad, People hold each other accountable. You know, if you Slack in people don't tend to Slack though, to be honest, because so you don't face been the odd people that get held accountable and they leave quickly.
[00:18:23] They can accountability. They come in, they don't do what they, you know, they say they do and they, they go and yeah, most, I would say everyone in our team now works hard and yeah, you can have days where you're, you know, there's things that people love off days, but yeah, we do.
[00:18:44] Paul Shrimpling: [00:18:44] Cool. So let, let me turn that question then to you now, because it's one of the, um, um, Uh, whenever I go into and work with a firm, whether it be, you know, the top table leadership team or the, you know, the top team, the [00:19:00] top table and the managers, or even on some occasions with all three layers, you know, the top team, the managers and, and the people who do all the real work.
[00:19:07] Cause it, um, one of the, one of the things that's, um, often missing in a day, this functional team is the lack of what you call on is feedback. What I would call constructive conflict, where there's an issue and it needs dealing with let's get out on the table. Deal with it. And what you're saying, Rachel, is, it sounds as though within Lewis, Bellarand that?
[00:19:26] Um, yes, we've got a hardworking culture and, and therefore there's a set of standards and this is my interpretation. I'm looking for Neil's insights into this. Um, and therefore people, anyone can hold anyone else to account. And now I don't buy that by the way. But, um, I'm curious as to now, what have you done deliberately to build that culture or, or like Rachel says, is it just happened by accident?
[00:19:50] Neil Ballard: [00:19:50] No, it didn't happen by accident. Um, no, we worked there, we worked at it for years honest, um, [00:20:00] via team days, getting the team's buy in doing the core values, um, and making them live by the core values. But we the most, um, which sounds really awful, but the most pleasing thing is when we take on, we took on a new.
[00:20:17] Couple of new people into the business. And when a couple of the, to the team turned round, then within like a couple of weeks and just go, Neil, John, Sean, they're not Louis ballad. Right. Or they're perfect. Then it was bought out. They fit.
[00:20:41] Paul Shrimpling: [00:20:41] And so when the team turned around and go, now they don't fear what happens next.
[00:20:46] Neil Ballard: [00:20:46] Um, We monitor them closely and see how they get on and watch them. I think in my experience, I think there's probably only one or two we've actually come back around because being honest, the team [00:21:00] they're working with them more closely than we are, obviously that all the time. Um, and yeah, but their feedback does come back and then nine times out of 10 they're right.
[00:21:10] They just, they just say they don't fit into the culture. They're not the right people. They're not. They're taking short cuts. They're not team players. They don't live by our values. They don't, you know, all those sorts of things. Um, and th you know, don't get me wrong. The team don't have the final say on it.
[00:21:28] But, but they have, you know, we really, really value that feedback.
[00:21:33] Paul Shrimpling: [00:21:33] Yeah, yeah, yeah. But again, it's creating a conflict, isn't it about, you know, key hires maybe, maybe not working out. So you step in and work even more closely with them or make sure that people are working more closely with them to monitor them and improve their performance.
[00:21:49] And, um, how, how quickly do you then make a decision as to whether they stay or go Neil in that setting?
[00:21:56] Neil Ballard: [00:21:56] Um, It has gone from a couple of days [00:22:00] to a couple of months, right. Actually wasn't lost the two days. Yeah. She was never going to fit nobody ever gonna fit, but it's just, yeah. Yes, she did crazy. She'd never been it
[00:22:17] Paul Shrimpling: [00:22:17] just doesn't bear, cat and say, um, And, you know, sometimes that happens is it, but you know, it just goes to show doesn't it, no matter how good your recruitment processes, you can still make an error.
[00:22:27] You know, the interview process in itself is fraught with challenges in terms of determining whether you've got the right people or not. Or do you think you've got better at it?
[00:22:35] Neil Ballard: [00:22:35] Um, I dunno. I think you, John's probably the better one to ask on this. Um, we got better at it in some ways. Yes. Yeah. Uh, do we sometimes.
[00:22:50] Sometimes you get seen. Yes. And, and the things that say, you know, or the other way round,
[00:22:58] Paul Shrimpling: [00:22:58] when you say things are saying, [00:23:00] no, what, what do you mean
[00:23:01] Neil Ballard: [00:23:01] profiling? And you kind of test, you know, that sort of stuff.
[00:23:04] Paul Shrimpling: [00:23:04] So you bring some science, so there's some good fields show up. Some science shows up and sometimes there's conflict.
[00:23:09] Yeah. You
[00:23:10] Neil Ballard: [00:23:10] know, we use disc a lot. Um, me too, um, because of the F uh, because of the type of firm we are. Uh, I think Rachel back us up on us, we don't stand still much, would always, the, something would always change and, and, you know, constantly driving demand by introducing all sorts of new stuff and new ideas.
[00:23:28] And we had a wonderful thing. Um, and the problem you've got is with it within the account, let's see profession, they find that very hard to do so to cope with. And these, these familiar standard accountants and it it's a massive thing. So when we have a look at the, one of the big things we look on on the disc is the adaptability of the
[00:23:51] Paul Shrimpling: [00:23:51] person stress.
[00:23:53] My checks versus adaptability is needs a bit. I think that's, that's a big part of when we recruiting as well to look at that. Yeah.
[00:23:59] Neil Ballard: [00:23:59] And if that's too [00:24:00] low, everyone we've gone with really low adaptability. Hasn't lasted. Yeah, yeah,
[00:24:05] Paul Shrimpling: [00:24:05] yeah. This is, I'll just run through those, listening to this who you're not familiar with this.
[00:24:10] So you've got, um, uh, uh, some people can cope with stress more than others. Yeah. And, um, and, and what we're looking for is there's a good fit isn't there in terms of square, peg square hole, in terms of the nature of the role suiting, the psychometric profile of the person. Um, and if the, if there's only a, that say, uh, uh, a 50% match.
[00:24:33] That's going to create stress if it's not a really good match, but if the adaptability is really high, then they can cope with that. But if the adaptability is really low, they will not cope with that stress. And therefore you're actually hiring the wrong person. So, you know, there's a few moving parts to it.
[00:24:49] Isn't it. But I agree with you, Neil. I think it's a really valuable, um, element and aspect of bringing science to the recruitment piece, which is interesting to hear you use the same
[00:24:57] Neil Ballard: [00:24:57] and wrench. Rachel mentioned IMO, which is [00:25:00] it's along the lines of. If desk. Yeah. But it's more of a communication tool. Yes.
[00:25:08] So we use that, uh, and we use that a lot for, and it was, uh, uh, actually Rachel could probably explain it a bit better and I think there's a few light bulbs moment gone in with a few of the team. Do understand that because it's a simple survey, Ima you know, it's done in a couple of minutes, I'll give you the color, but that is so important when they're trying to communicate with clients.
[00:25:37] Right. So if you're trying to communicate to me as a high red, please don't send me a four page email because I'm not going to read it. Yeah, yeah. If it, Hey green, they will. Yeah. But obviously with the accountancy profession, as it is, a lot of accountants are high greens. Right. So they try and communicate in their language,
[00:26:00] [00:25:59] Rachel Barry: [00:25:59] but most business owners are high-rise high rates
[00:26:03] Paul Shrimpling: [00:26:03] or high yellows.
[00:26:04] Rachel Barry: [00:26:04] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Also it's the pace. So like rights' Indiana, it was a faster pace. So they kind of just want to get there quickly. Um, yellow are people. Driven. I know. So, um, show office, I think we're called, um, but like people driven fast paced and it's all just about like getting there quickly and everyone loving you is a, Blue's a bit slower paced and it's more about.
[00:26:31] The other people and how they feel.
[00:26:33] Paul Shrimpling: [00:26:33] Yeah. There's no right or wrong. Here is the Rachel it's just different
[00:26:35] Rachel Barry: [00:26:35] styles. Yeah. And you're not one color, but you're just normally stronger. And when it, and um, but yeah, most accounts, it's a green and they're talking really slow paced, really like in depth detail to people who couldn't care less, they just want to know the end result.
[00:26:53] And that's why they don't have a relationship with their clients because they don't, they just want to know. What like what my tax vigor [00:27:00] is, how can you make it smaller? How can you do this? What do I need to do in my business to make it better? What's not going right. What is going right? Where can you help me?
[00:27:07] Do you know, like, that's what they want to know. They don't care about how much they spent on this and it baby 20 pound to last year. Like they couldn't care less about that sort of information.
[00:27:19] Paul Shrimpling: [00:27:19] Yeah. Brilliant, brilliant. And so do you, do you, do you assess your clients using IMS as well? Yeah. All right. So all of them,
[00:27:28] Neil Ballard: [00:27:28] all of them.
[00:27:28] Yeah, we too, when they, you keep chasing them and get them to fill it in whenever they can, every new client will fill it in when they come in for meetings. If we haven't got it, we'll do it. And then this is kept on the practice management system then.
[00:27:42] Paul Shrimpling: [00:27:42] Right. Okay. And does that influence, which client manager goes to which clients in any way, shape or form, or is it just a case of everyone recognizes their own style and adjusts and amends it to suit the client?
[00:27:54] How does it, how do you use it from there on, in,
[00:27:57] Neil Ballard: [00:27:57] uh, we want to client managers to [00:28:00] adopt because it's part of that learning as well. Um, because let's be honest, you know, as well as I do, um, Have you accounted could have a better set of accounts. That's not why clients come to us. No, they come to us for the, for the relationship and the communication and everything else.
[00:28:22] You know
[00:28:22] Paul Shrimpling: [00:28:22] what I mean? They argue also that they come to you for the confidence and certainty that then builds the trust, which I know you, you subscribed to, but there's that, you know, it strikes me that if you communicate in the same style as the clients. I think I'd feel more confidence in certainty that they've got the right.
[00:28:38] I came to it and therefore trust you. Um, yeah, what the thoughts.
[00:28:42] Neil Ballard: [00:28:42] Okay. Without doubt. And, and, you know, I can remember, but there was a client managing in particular who just loves the sand long emails and you'd say, Oh, look at this before this goes, and I'd say he was not going to, what color is he is a red and you'll just [00:29:00] look up at me and go, I'll change the chalet.
[00:29:03] Yeah. Yeah. Cause it's pointless.
[00:29:08] Paul Shrimpling: [00:29:08] You've, you've got a tool and a reference point and a language to assess whether we're actually talking to writing, to communicating with our clients in their language for want of a better description, I guess, which ultimately humanizes the way you're talking and communicating with your people.
[00:29:24] I think that's, um, that brilliant,
[00:29:26] Neil Ballard: [00:29:26] but it's also used in the office as well because myself and Sean, a high reds.
[00:29:31] Paul Shrimpling: [00:29:31] There's a lot. Right. So in, in, in a world of green accountants, we got a lot of reds in Cardiff. Is that not surprisingly, really? Is it given that it's, you know, the colors, let's not bring that in this day,
[00:29:45] Neil Ballard: [00:29:45] English.
[00:29:45] Um, but, um, but it's quite often because the team will actually knock my door or go up to the Shaun of whatever and they'll take, we'll look at us and they'll just go, are you really high red at the moment? Yes. [00:30:00] Okay. We'll come back and then they go away and they come back because they know there's no point in talking to us because we're not going to listen.
[00:30:06] They know. And then, and then I'll make a conscious appetite and say, right, I finished now. Right. And then I'll give them the time and other conversations. Okay. Because there's no point either. It's just, yeah. It's the old, I know who was in the Navy and they, this thought about a flag on the desk and all that sort of stuff, but they just know it though.
[00:30:25] Yeah. That's true.
[00:30:28] Rachel Barry: [00:30:28] Yeah. And I was going to say, well, a tax manager is probably the greenest screen you'll ever meet in your life, pausing in texts. right. Um, and she's also, she used to be a director as well with that shot and that, so she's worked fairly closely with them. That gentleman. So she knows them really well, and she doesn't send them the same email.
[00:30:53] Like she said, it started in Shaun one email and she sends my mom a different email or she'll kind of write in the first [00:31:00] paragraph of what she needs that and tell him to read. And then the bulk of the email would be the information she'd want my mom to read because she knows that they're not going to read past that point.
[00:31:09] So she doesn't even bother, but she knows that my mum wants a bit more detail and she'd want to know about the people. And so she. Pat's out for my mom and she keeps it, she went out and found it. Yeah. So like, I think that's the challenge she's trying to, you're not always going to be talking, you know, even within a business, if you've got three directors, they will all be red or they won't all be.
[00:31:29] So you've got to try to communicate with them all, but taken into account that one of them's not going to, and she's really good at it. Actually she'll do like a. She always says after the first paragraph, I know I've lost them too. So, so I don't know if I haven't put it in that paragraph. They won't read it.
[00:31:46] So, you know, and you've got to do that. I think with business owners, you kind of got to go, well, I get the really important stuff in the top bet for the ones that are only going to read the top back, and then I'll put all the detail in the bottom for the ones that want to know the detail.
[00:32:00] [00:32:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:32:00] Stunning.
[00:32:02] Neil Ballard: [00:32:02] She actually rings me up and says, I'm sending you an email.
[00:32:06] I know you won't read it. So I'm going to tell you, I'll send it in two minutes. So she lends, tell me, what's say the email and then send me an email, which you ever
[00:32:12] Paul Shrimpling: [00:32:12] read because
[00:32:14] Rachel Barry: [00:32:14] she needs to send it because she needs to get the detail off her chest. So she needs to say, well, I did tell you everything, even though you're not going to read it and I'll give you a synopsis.
[00:32:24] I need to get the detail.
[00:32:27] Paul Shrimpling: [00:32:27] But Rachel, I was going to say was that is, is, and you, you, you brought it up as well lately is that, that you want the clients, client managers to adapt to the clients, which is back to you want to hire people on the disc profile with high adaptability so that a green doesn't get stressed out, writing a red email.
[00:32:44] Yeah. Um, so actually you, you know, you're, you're actually, um, there's elements, which are in congruence with each other. They fit nicely together as a, as if a jigsaw puzzle would fit nicely together. Um, so that,
[00:32:59] Neil Ballard: [00:32:59] sorry, Paul quick, [00:33:00] very quickly on our own, we, there was two clients in particular who were all full of high yellows, right?
[00:33:07] Their whole businesses were full of high yellows. There was five or six in one and seven or eight and another, every single one of my yellow. They are a little laugh, a minutes. They were having a party every day. They were full of ideas. They finished nothing. Nothing absolutely finished nothing because they were just having too much fun and coming to the ideas and they always in the next big brand, they all said they were brilliant.
[00:33:31] They all were. Yeah. So we literally, we literally put in a red, a blue and agreed in each office. Right. And their profits were through the roof. Right.
[00:33:40] Paul Shrimpling: [00:33:40] So you, you went out to help them hire a red and a blue.
[00:33:44] Neil Ballard: [00:33:44] Yeah. We said you need to hire different colors because you never going to, you're never, ever, ever going to get this business, working with the people in charge at the moment.
[00:33:53] Paul Shrimpling: [00:33:53] Brilliant. So that's, you know, very clear return on investment from that, that approach and, you know, humanizing the [00:34:00] business, which actually ultimately generates massive results because you've got the right blend and balance of humans in the business. Yeah. Yeah. That's brilliant. So earlier on you mentioned core values and you've been very deliberate about setting those core values or what process have you gone through or do you continually go through to make sure that there is zero doubt around the core values in the business?
[00:34:23] Neil Ballard: [00:34:23] the way we did it, we haven't done it for over 12 months because of COVID. Um, cause we haven't had a team day, so which is a bit awkward really. Cause we, we, we will always coat cover the core values and every team date.
[00:34:36] Paul Shrimpling: [00:34:36] And are you saying that for you have a team day every year?
[00:34:39] Neil Ballard: [00:34:39] Yeah. And I'm not one for the, we haven't had one for a couple of years because, because then right.
[00:34:46] Um, And it's very hard to do an online, although we love to Africa. Yeah. Um, the way we did it originally was we gave them all a sheet with lots of values written down [00:35:00] every team member and got them to circle their top 10 or 15. Right. Then we wrote up all the answers on a whiteboard and discussed it as a group and came up with what we thought would be the core values.
[00:35:12] Paul Shrimpling: [00:35:12] Right. Which we all agreed. So that's a relatively simple and obvious exercise. Yeah. Um, holding people to account against the values. There's not a simple and easy exercise, is it? No. So how does that then follow through in terms of living the values and if it's not share well,
[00:35:31] Neil Ballard: [00:35:31] right. Yeah,
[00:35:34] Paul Shrimpling: [00:35:34] I think that's called the hospital.
[00:35:36] No, it's
[00:35:36] Neil Ballard: [00:35:36] not. No, it's not the team do it. Honestly. The team do do it. Yeah. Honestly, rich said it earlier. The
[00:35:41] Rachel Barry: [00:35:41] team too. Yeah. Like one of them is respect like in, um, you know, and accountability is one of them. So like the, you know, they are, um, and like, if, if you could, within the team, if somebody isn't being respectful to someone else, to be honest, it's not tolerated for like, More than a minute, you know, [00:36:00] like that, you know, like people would interject, it just doesn't happen.
[00:36:04] You know, like it's not, um, you know, PE people stick up for each other. There's not, and people aren't disrespectful. It's just people just. It's just not the environment that all fixed is in, you know, like there's a training environment, you know, we have to go as a manager, you'll go to people and say like, look, this wasn't up to scratch and that, but nobody does it in a, like, there's, you know, we never slam stuff in front of pig.
[00:36:27] Do that again. You know, none of that, it's all learning. It's all teaching. It's all like, we'd all sit and talk to people and, and, and vice versa. Like people. You know, the juniors, wouldn't just throw something at us and be like, it's done, you know, it's, there's just respect that just stays. Everyone just speaks to each other, how you we've got nice people working for us, you know?
[00:36:46] Paul Shrimpling: [00:36:46] it starts with recruiting people that fit the values. Isn't it. Rather than trying to reeducate people and change their character so that they, I guess it starts there. What, what, what are the other values then? Right. You've got respect, accountability. What are the others
[00:37:00] [00:36:59] Rachel Barry: [00:36:59] technical knowledge,
[00:37:01] Neil Ballard: [00:37:01] right.
[00:37:01] Teamwork. We've sort of shortened it to tar. Teamwork, accountability and respect and teamwork was covering the T was covering tech the availability and where,
[00:37:12] Paul Shrimpling: [00:37:12] right? Yeah. So teamwork, technical knowledge, accountability and respect.
[00:37:15] Rachel Barry: [00:37:15] Yeah. Yeah. Cause there was customer service within there as well. Wasn't it?
[00:37:18] But it has been sure with that. Right. But yeah, so like yeah. Technical ability as well, you know, I think within the team, we, most people are training. Yeah. You know, always trying to further themselves and stuff. So yeah.
[00:37:35] Paul Shrimpling: [00:37:35] Interesting. So I go into firms all the time, as you know, and, um, it, it, this the challenge, which is building a definitive set of values that we really live, you know, it's one thing to do that corporate exercise and, and write them up and stick them up on a poster and so on.
[00:37:54] Well that, and then they gather dust as opposed to what do we do to get to a place where they're being [00:38:00] lived clearly in your firm? Rachel is being lived. But you're, you're at the, not the end of that journey because the journey that never ends isn't it. But you, you, you know, it's, well-established, it's, you know, how do, how do firms who are say listening to this, uh, set about.
[00:38:17] Um, building that accountability around a set of core values that they believe in it's cause it, it, it doesn't sound easy to do that with my partner, because I don't think it is easy, but it can be done. W what have you done to, and I guess I need to steer this question towards you, Neil. Cause this is early, you know, this has been going on for years and therefore you live now living the culture that then the results of that effort and energy.
[00:38:39] Neil Ballard: [00:38:39] Well, she helped me do it, Denise. So, um, yeah, so we
[00:38:42] Paul Shrimpling: [00:38:42] refer to it
[00:38:44] Neil Ballard: [00:38:44] and I just think that it's, um, accountability is a massive one as well. When you don't go down this journey, it's, it's fairly hard to do it on your own, right. Because business owners are lonely people. Right. [00:39:00] Um, generally, because they only talk to themselves.
[00:39:04] Well that other Hobbs or a bundle and they just get it. Whereas they, sometimes they don't always get the honest answers which they should get or they deserve the feedback. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I can go back in history. When you know, when Rob came up, boat fishing, I'll be ever grateful for, um, And where we were, you know, I was in a real bar play, you know, I'd just taken over the partner, blah, blah, blah.
[00:39:31] And you know, he was never, ever, ever going to get into that position again. So I think you've got to have a bit of humidity about it as well. Right. Um, you can never, ever admit that you don't know anything. You've got to say. Sorry, where you got it wrong. Yeah. Um, You just got to trust the people and let them remember that.
[00:39:57] Paul Shrimpling: [00:39:57] Yeah. It's one of those things, isn't it? You just [00:40:00] got to trust the people in room with it. Um, it sounds, it sounds a bit, forgive me down sort of a bit throw away that, um, it, you know, if you, as a leader, a willing. To be accountable to someone else, which is, I think the point you're making here,
[00:40:15] Neil Ballard: [00:40:15] Kountable Paul, when I say, let him run with it.
[00:40:18] Yeah. We measured it every month. Right now, if you, we, you know, they measured all the time and they held accountable for their performances and everything else. But what I'm saying is, is we've got to, when I say run with it, I mean, we've got to be prepared as business owners to let go of us being the person that everything goes everywhere.
[00:40:37] Everything goes through.
[00:40:38] Paul Shrimpling: [00:40:38] Yeah. And that control freak piece. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.
[00:40:42] Neil Ballard: [00:40:42] And obviously, you know, the big, the first thing we ever did was, um, we did a three 60 degree, um, feedback for them and I add an absolute kick. Yeah. Yeah. Well, right. When I look back now, you, you, you know, I just taken off the partner, they'd be [00:41:00] working on all, always all that stuff.
[00:41:01] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And then get kicked again and then you just think, Oh my God, Do I really want to say this, but, but, you know, we could have walked away probably then, but there was people involved in the business that we care for it. We didn't want them to lose their jobs. Yeah. Um, and we have to, I look back now.
[00:41:20] I do quite actually, I do quite regularly look at it. Uh, it comes up every now and again. And when I look at him and I think, yeah, There were some people in there who weren't right for the culture who did go pretty quickly. Uh, cause some of it was just nasty, being honest. It wasn't constructive. It was just,
[00:41:39] Paul Shrimpling: [00:41:39] yeah.
[00:41:39] Yeah. District economist is constructive,
[00:41:42] Neil Ballard: [00:41:42] but there was a lot of it, which was, which is true. Yeah, it was true. Uh, and you know, you've got to stop and look yourself in the mirror and see how other people see you. Yes. Not how you see yourself
[00:41:53] Paul Shrimpling: [00:41:53] and that's where the humility comes in. Doesn't it? It sounds like what you're referring to, whether consciously or otherwise, [00:42:00] Neil is you look at say the research by Jim Collins, into the great companies in his good to great study.
[00:42:06] And he talks about, you know, the really great leaders are the ones that bring two things to the table. One is humility and the other is a wealth. To deal with it. So the humility to respond to, um, uh, kicking from a 360 degree feedback process that then sponsors, uh, an approach to establishing a set of working values that ultimately the leader has to be, um, live.
[00:42:27] Have they? Cause if you don't live those values, no one else in the company's been them. Um, and so if you've used that, that process, Which requires a lot of will as well as humility to embed those in bed in and truly live those values. Then, um, it sounds as though you're already reaping the rewards based on the way Rachel is describing the, the, the culture of the team.
[00:42:48] So there's one, I've got one loose end, which you've nicknamed segue does into again, which she brought up earlier, right? Two, which is the monthly team feedback. What, what, how, how is that constructed? What's what's in [00:43:00] there and what do we do with it?
[00:43:02] Rachel Barry: [00:43:02] Well, so it's just a survey monkey that gets sent out, but we have a monthly team meeting, so everything that's, um, raised in there.
[00:43:08] So it'll be really simple questions. Like how have you felt this month? Like, What's made, what's gone well, this month what's made you happy and what's made you sad. What can we do to improve the thing that you weren't happy with? Like if you spot, is there anything that would help with, uh, service to customers and that sort of stuff.
[00:43:27] And then there is just general feedback. There's a monthly team member. So you get to nominate a member of the team, which I think is really important because it gives everyone a chance to give and they all get right to out. So like, if I'm. You know, if you don't win because you only got two nominations, you still get told you've got two nominations.
[00:43:45] Why? So you still get the Pat on the back, even if you didn't get the bottle of wine or the box of chocolates or whatever, but it's a good chance for everyone to kind of. Yeah, give each other, the pats on the backs publicly and kind of say, look, you did well on [00:44:00] their shoe did fall on that. And I think so.
[00:44:02] I think that's good. And every, any bit of feedback that comes through, like anything that's made people sad when that all gets discussed and stuff gets put in place to try and fix it. But again, it'll just be discussed as a team. We won't be, it won't say whose feedback it was, but it will be discussed.
[00:44:18] And, you know, as a team, then we'll kind of think, Oh, well, Maybe if we tried to do this or if this happened, so yeah. And we have, um, we have appraisals as well, so we all feed back on each other, like in a more, um, like a facial sort of thing. We have a formal way afterward. Um, And that's really good. How often are they meant to be too?
[00:44:45] But again, because of everything that's been going on, it's not been happening, but you get held again, that comes back to accountability. You set your targets, so like of what you want to do. And then, you know, and it may be stuff like passing my next [00:45:00] professional exam or body plow, or it may be that I need to.
[00:45:04] Do both this work or focus on this. Yeah. All of that. And then in the three minutes sign you get asked, did you do what you said? Um, but the feedback goes up and down on that one. So the juniors feedback on the managers, the managers feedback on the juniors with you can, so it, you know, you, you get feedback there's opportunities at every level to give feedback against, you know, like.
[00:45:31] Paul Shrimpling: [00:45:31] contributing as opposed to it being a battle. And I think, no, maybe, maybe there in lies. One of the, um, one of the routes to creating that culture of accountability is the juniors. Now that they're going to feed back on how well the manager has been managing
[00:45:44] Rachel Barry: [00:45:44] them. Yeah. Um, they, and to be honest, they haven't over the last year or so because of everything that's been going on had as much support and training from the managers.
[00:45:57] They should have. And we have all been [00:46:00] told that in no uncertain terms, because they've told that. So they, so that's how it is the, it goes both ways. They, you know, they get asked, they just say, look, they haven't helped us. They are, you know, they've just given us work and we often know more we did right or wrong because it's all remote.
[00:46:15] And we will learn in to deal with this new world. But it is, it is in place. It's not just a say in it. They, the feedback is there. Yeah.
[00:46:26] Paul Shrimpling: [00:46:26] Amazing. So it strikes me that you've got this, uh, I don't mean to blow smoke in your direction politely. Um, but it, it, it feels from this conversation that you've got that balance and blend of.
[00:46:41] The humanity and numbers at place, or for example, the survey, the team survey, you've just described Rachel with some numbers in there, which is feeding, giving you some numerical feedback on how the team are feeling and so forth. But then there's the human process of getting together as a team to review that information and, you know, play a bit of a game around nominated who's who's nominated who is [00:47:00] team member of the month.
[00:47:01] So that there's a, you know, there's that. Thing to look forward to, um, there's the, you know, what you're doing with disc profiling and their recruitment process. So we're bringing in some numbers that play there, but the interview process and actually the feedback from the team afterwards is a very human way of assessing whether we've got the right fit, the, um, The, you know, blue, green, yellow, red, you know, EMA thing is, um, you know, there's a, there's a science piece.
[00:47:27] If not a numbers piece, then certainly, uh, a bit of science, that's bringing some humanity to the table in terms of how you interact with each other in the team, as well as making the most of that from the customer communication point of view, um, which leads me to conclude that you've got a really, you know, Humanity driven business, that to use your words earlier, Naylor's got that corporate edge about, you know, actually building the capital value, ensuring the cash in the bank, making the profits so that everyone can benefit financially from the business as well.
[00:47:56] Um, that's been brilliant. Tell me Rachel of everything we've [00:48:00] covered off today. Is that anything that stands out for you as a good reminder or. Something that you're going to pick up and, and look at Louis Barnard and think, well, I need to push my mom and my dad and the rest of the management team here to get the bloody acts together.
[00:48:13] What, what do you think stood out for you to that?
[00:48:16] Rachel Barry: [00:48:16] Uh, no. I think the main thing is we need a team day. We do need, and there's members of our team that haven't actually been on a team day. Um, just purely because of everything that's happened. So I think we definitely need that. We need. We just need to get back in the office, I think, and just get by.
[00:48:34] Okay. It's coming. Isn't it it's coming. Cause I think like it, I think it's still, I, I was on maternity leave for a lot of the original lockdown, so I, you know, like I didn't actually deal with the main struggle that everyone else did.
[00:48:48] Paul Shrimpling: [00:48:48] It was struggles, Rachel. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. I'm Joyce,
[00:48:53] Rachel Barry: [00:48:53] you know, like adapting to like remote working and all of that.
[00:48:57] It was very, very challenging. I kind of came in [00:49:00] when it was up and running and I just jumped on. Um, so I think a lot of stuff has potentially slip just purely because of. Of COVID and the focus needs to get back on to that. But the team spirit is still there. That's the amazing thing with the team. Is it still there?
[00:49:16] We just need to be in the same building. Okay. Yeah,
[00:49:19] Paul Shrimpling: [00:49:19] yeah, yeah, yeah. Which is coming. So now for you, what, what, you know, to a degree, you know, a discussion like this. You know, shines a bit of a spotlight on the business from a different, slightly different perspective. Are you mind w what's um, you know, w w w where do you think the spotlight has, um, focused your mind on, in terms of what could should now happen within moose?
[00:49:37] Baylor? Yeah,
[00:49:38] Neil Ballard: [00:49:38] we, I think Rachel is right. We just got to get back in the office. Uh, we're really conscious at the moment that, um, People need to be developed a bit. The people don't develop in life. We want them to develop because they're not getting the constant feedback. We've got to
[00:49:54] Paul Shrimpling: [00:49:54] knowledge and skills.
[00:49:56] Neil Ballard: [00:49:56] We got an open plan office, um, [00:50:00] where, you know, people just pick up on telephone conversations. If someone's doing a bottoming proposition and they're speaking to a bank manager, then two weeks later, the client rings up and says, Oh, hang on. I know some of it. Hang on. You know, reach spoke to them about that last week on them, the other thing, or, or, or back you obviously to do this or Sam or what, you know, and they just bounce off each other and they, you know, and it's, it's, it's great for team spirit.
[00:50:26] It's great for morale. It's brilliant for customer service. Um, and it's great for their development and learning as well. Yeah. And the other thing is the two, they, over here, everything
[00:50:36] Rachel Barry: [00:50:36] like the juniors, they would just hear you talking to a client and just. Kind of go, Oh, I didn't even think about that without even consciously being aware that it's going through their brains, they just listening to phone calls and also they don't, they don't feel like there's such a hindrance.
[00:50:53] If they literally just pop the head to my desk and go reach, I can't figure this out. Can you quickly help me through that is actually trying to send me an email, [00:51:00] trying to pick up the phone and get hold of me. You know, like while we're remote, they, they're not getting the same. Contact where they would literally just pop around and be like, Oh, I'm stuck on this.
[00:51:11] It's just not balancing. Yeah. Can you just come and have a look and you are, you need to stand over their shoulder for five minutes, figure it through, and then they, that that's definitely missing.
[00:51:21] Paul Shrimpling: [00:51:21] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, a lot of the research that is appointed in the fact that. You know, skill building and innovation are the two areas which have taken a real hit because we haven't got that.
[00:51:31] We're in the mixed together in around the same table or tables as often as we were. Um, but ultimately, you know, there's, um, arguably I don't know where you sit. There's so many firms that I'm talking to are talking about. Right? We've got to work out how to make this work from home two days a week in the office three days a week, or so some balance and blend and to get the benefits of both ways of working.
[00:51:55] Is that, is that where you are? I think
[00:51:57] Neil Ballard: [00:51:57] that will come. I think that will come. [00:52:00] Um, the problem is this. It's the social impact as well. Isn't it? It's the social impact. This, you know, we got a great, brilliant art team and absolutely brilliant. And they, um, but they own the other bit of fun. They enjoy themselves, they bounce off each other, you know, they love a laugh and a joke.
[00:52:22] Um, I think they all miss it cause that's a, that's a massive part
[00:52:26] Paul Shrimpling: [00:52:26] of work. Yeah. The camaraderie piece of that.
[00:52:30] Neil Ballard: [00:52:30] And then, you know, Coming in and sharing your stories about what they've just done with a client and moaning about the pain in the ass client and you know, all, all that sort of stuff. It's, it's, it's really important because while they're doing that, I don't think they realize that that actually those experiences they're sharing a teacher, everyone else in the room or something, um, especially the youngsters coming up is, you know, if you've got a real crappy client on the phone, Rightly.
[00:52:59] So [00:53:00] for some whatever reason, Oh, your deal with them is really important. Yeah. And if they don't hear people deal with them, they just never know what to do when they come on the phone. Do they? So, um, it's, it's, it's that little thing, you know, as I said, technical stuff is just for the lecturers to teach them how to do accounts and, you know, that's, that's studying, it's this, the development of the person.
[00:53:23] Paul Shrimpling: [00:53:23] Yeah, because that develops with the humans in their human interaction, human communications with their team as
[00:53:28] Neil Ballard: [00:53:28] well, that had been them as people, you know, we'd done. And I always say, and Shah, whoever comes to us, uh, we always want them to leave better people. Not just better accountants, better people.
[00:53:42] Yeah. Because we want to teach them all sorts of different skills and, and expose them to so many different things. And we do like taking people out to that comfort zone.
[00:53:55] Paul Shrimpling: [00:53:55] Cause you know, you learn, man, you gotta be strong, you gotta be stretched.
[00:54:00] [00:54:00] Rachel Barry: [00:54:00] They, they like, they like to put people in places that you think they don't, but most people adapt to it.
[00:54:06] They do
[00:54:07] Paul Shrimpling: [00:54:07] recruited them Rachel, and they've got that high adaptability piece. Then they are going to aren't. They, you know, it might not be a perfect fit. Um, I think that's a brilliant way to leave the podcast is, you know, like let's hide people so that we, um, when they leave us. They leave as better people and you've done a fair job of me and on the journey, they will have delivered great value to the business as well.
[00:54:27] It seems like a good, uh, uh, a good, very human way of, um, of, of, of working with the team. Rachel Neil, this has been a joy. Thank you very much. Uh, there's been so open and it's been, um, a privilege to spend the last 40 or 45 minutes together. Thank you very, very much. Indeed.
[00:54:44] Neil Ballard: [00:54:44] Thanks, Paul. Thank you again.
[00:54:46] Thanks for asking us. Thanks for having us. We didn't even mention the 40 24 rugby score.
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Working in a family business
A corporate edge
Building a team that hold each other to account
Building a healthy team culture
Bringing science to the recruitment process
Communicating to clients in their language
Communication within the practice
Zero doubt around the core values in the business
Building accountability around a set of values
Monthly team feedback
Getting back in the office / Developing your people
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