What can you do to grow the commerciality of your people so that they drive the fees, the profits and the capital value of growth in your accountancy firm?
In this podcast discussion with Rob Walsh, you'll hear Rob describe how he grew the commerciality of his team so that he did less, they did more, and they contributed significantly to the growth of fees, profitability, and ultimately, the capital value of the firm too.
Rob's story is an interesting one because Rob progressed in a multi-office, multi-partner firm before he realised that he needed to go it alone. He set his own practice up and grew it in excess of a million pounds. During this process Rob grew a significant amount of fees from the world of advisory consulting with his business owner clients and then 18 months ago sold that practice onto one of his key managers. He now continues to help his clients achieve their goals, vision, and purpose in life.
I hope you enjoy the podcast.
"What consulting is - From the initial relationship to the trust being built, from the compliance, to the KPIs management then to forecasting, to then going into the board meeting and goal-setting and everything else...
"You've got a client for life and more. You've got a trusted relationship for life and you are always there, right through the journey, from meeting them to helping them exit."
Connect with Rob Walsh
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TRANSCRIPT - unedited
[00:00:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:00:00] Welcome to the humanize, the numbers podcast, series leaders, managers, and owners of ambitious accounting firms, sharing insight, successes, and issues that will challenge you and connect you and your firm to the ways and means of transforming your firms results
[00:00:21] what consulting does is from the initial relationship.
[00:00:28] To the trust being built from the compliance to then the KPIs management came to forecasting to then go into the board meeting and goal-setting of everything else. You've got a client for life and more. You've got a trusted relationship for life and they are always there right from the journey from meeting them to help them exit.
[00:00:47] And even maybe something after that as well.
[00:00:50] What can you do to grow the commerciality of your team so that they significantly grow your firm's profits and all around success? You're about to hear from [00:01:00] Rob Walsh. Rob sold his firm 18 months ago, but his 14 year journey in that firm saw Rob grow his team so that they did more.
[00:01:09] Rob did less, and the firm grew its profits. Grew the fees. And Rob grew an advisory component of the business that resulted in at least 25% of the fees coming from advisory consulting work. Let's go to that podcast discussion with Rob. Now,
[00:01:27] my name is Rob Walsh, former owner of clear vision candidacy, limited and former partner of a large multi-sided, uh, firm in Bristol borough.
[00:01:39] Um, on the South West and I left that partnership to buy my own business on a chord clearing that came since the limited. Now why clear vision, which I'll go into a bit later. Um, I grew the business and then sold it to a, my theater director and, um, enabled him to. Take the business [00:02:00] to what he wanted to do.
[00:02:01] And many years ago, at the same time I did the clearing and it came and see, I set up clear which consultancy and that was doing value added work to clients to help them achieve their goals. I sold the accountancy business 18 months ago and obviously have kept cleavage in consultancy. And now I'm doing even more different types of consultancy work that I would ever even thought I would even do as a qualified child that came to me.
[00:02:28] Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:28] Rob the, um, the journey from start a clear vision to selling clear vision accountancy. How long, how long
[00:02:35] Rob Walsh: [00:02:35] was that journey? It was, uh, 14 years, 14 years.
[00:02:40] Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:40] And S and you've sold it to someone internally. Yep. Um, so how important was the job of growing the people in the firm so that they were in a position to a be able to, and be willing to buy the business off?
[00:02:55] Rob Walsh: [00:02:55] Yep. We came up with an idea. So I can have [00:03:00] idea of what kind of case managers, which is back in the kind of early naughts. Basically, that was unusual. We made them have their own like profit and loss of their own portfolio. They were in sales, their own cross sales, their own resources, their own marketing, um, asking for a field and so forth.
[00:03:18] And they dared to kind of come in and report to me on a manifestation to the port, um, to talk about that profit and loss. So. We were bringing in commercial entity to them on a monthly basis as though they were running their own business. So therefore they could advise their portfolio on running a business.
[00:03:36] Now, part of this was bringing in a let's call them an operations director to running operations because I wanted to go off and do my consultancy work. And I bought in. There's guy who went, ended up, bought a business on me and bit by bit boy and more in, more in more tourist, more strategy involved in the board meetings and gave them projects to do which he did and, you [00:04:00] know, ran the business really.
[00:04:02] And so I ended up being involved probably 10 to 20% on it, came to business and I'm doing 80 odd percent, 800% on the consultant's business, which would love to do it. And the consultancy business. Was bringing business in to the accountancy business. And initially they came to business, gave, um, worked the consultancy business, but because of the, the, the relationship grew and the trust grew in a consultancy business, it was an easy sell for guessing business entity, County business.
[00:04:39] And so in the end, 25% of my revenue was consultancy. Hm. Of the business and that's why I still got now. Yeah. What's good. When you can see business. Yeah.
[00:04:51] Paul Shrimpling: [00:04:51] So you've been out of clear vision accountancy. You sold that how long ago? 18 months, 18 months, 18 months. Um, so I just want to [00:05:00] circle back around. So the, the route to growing the team was, uh, very much focused on their commercial reality.
[00:05:09] As you say it was running their own profit center. What did you actually do? On top of them running a portfolio to build their knowledge, build their skills, build their habits so that they were better, stronger client managers. So they could stand on their own two feet.
[00:05:24] Rob Walsh: [00:05:24] I realized very early on that I was going at 90 miles an hour and my team worked 30 miles an hour and I was leaving them behind.
[00:05:33] So I do two things to meet them in the middle and how I met the middle. I made a decision that every meeting that I had. Face-to-face with all clients, even consultants, you ones that someone was with me and they were with me to help me do the minutes, bring them into the conversation, but more importantly, learn what was going on.
[00:05:57] And on the card you on your back aware of, we will [00:06:00] train Jenny back. I always ask the question. What did you learn from today? And so whatever they were learning. Um, it then kind of became a bit of a habit of learning and then they were able to advise you in portfolio on. The matches that they were seeing from how I was.
[00:06:18] Paul Shrimpling: [00:06:18] People. Yeah. So it sounds like an informal mentoring program really. You do, they watch, um, and more and more you engage with them in those conversations that they're a participant, not just to watch it. Yeah. Um, there's a fair number of the Cantor Trump. They would consider that to be an inefficient way of running client meetings on the grounds as to people to chart to lots, to chargeable time.
[00:06:41] But only one outcome for the client and therefore an inefficient way of running the firm and therefore, probably risking profitability as a consequence. How would you respond to that?
[00:06:50] Rob Walsh: [00:06:50] Well, I think there are old ways and there's new ways. And I think this is a new way because if you ignore the challenge, what [00:07:00] challenge will our, the value of that time is spent on those meetings.
[00:07:04] Was basically far, far worth more than a challenge now, you know, being that person minute, whether it's training, whether it's whatever you want to call it, mentoring. And so to me, um, it was absolutely vital. That was part of their kind of DNA of ClearVision accountancy that that happened. But more importantly, it also built up the trust with the client and the individual in the room.
[00:07:28] So when. When I left the meeting, I didn't have any action points. So the person was in a room with me, had the action points checked in with me. They did it as well. So not only, you know, you've got your mentoring, you've got a cross sell. You've got that as well. So if they were spending time with me in the meeting, and as you say, double counting on a chargeable time, we've got it back in spades.
[00:07:48] You know, whether it's trust, declines, mentorship of the individual learning curves commission. Yeah. And I would argue,
[00:07:54] Paul Shrimpling: [00:07:54] I think the point you've missed that you have made it, but it's this, um, the fact you haven't got another hour's worth of [00:08:00] work after the meeting, in terms of follow-up someone else has that that's, that's a simple financial pay before you even get to the other big
[00:08:07] Rob Walsh: [00:08:07] side benefits.
[00:08:08] Isn't it? And that enabled me to go off and go to consultants, you know? Yeah,
[00:08:11] Paul Shrimpling: [00:08:11] yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So how specifically did you grow the. The chap who took the business over
[00:08:18] Rob Walsh: [00:08:18] from me, it was holding to her, him to account. So we had a strategic plan every year, and then who was doing what? And then every meeting he came in and reported on his project plan.
[00:08:30] Right. And most of the time he'd done it, no problem at all. And we had a non-exec as well that came in and obviously challenges, you know, all of us on it as well. And that was an initial days. And then as time went on, we didn't have a non-exec anymore. So it was agreeing a plan early days in a standard financial year, checking in every Monday for a thing was full of a mental hour meeting every Monday, and then let them do the operations bit.
[00:08:54] Um, and then check in on a quarterly board meeting and that worked perfect because he wanted to, to, you know, [00:09:00] part of the business I was checking in, you always came to me with things in between the web, get my opinion on that's fine. Yeah, yeah,
[00:09:06] Paul Shrimpling: [00:09:06] yeah. So that, that accountability piece is something that crops up in a lot of discussions I have with the firms.
[00:09:11] And it's, it's a tough, tough piece. Isn't it? The accountability
[00:09:14] Rob Walsh: [00:09:14] piece. And recently, because of COVID you can see the businesses that have been. Hard to, uh, hold accountable because they've been all over the place. And so that capability now 100, my consultancy piece is two things, consistency and accountability, right.
[00:09:32] And accountability, no doubt to hold yourself accountable and look in the mirror about what you're not doing and doing and being consistent around it. Absolutely. As a leader. As a leader,
[00:09:43] Paul Shrimpling: [00:09:43] as a leader and therefore earn the right to hold other people to account. Correct. So you very, if I understand you, right, well, therefore you're making it very clear what your team should expect of you and you deliver it against that, which gives you the right to [00:10:00] apply the same standards to them or, or be it there's something in there.
[00:10:04] Isn't it? It's accountability is not about how you hold them to accounts, how they hold themselves to account.
[00:10:09] Rob Walsh: [00:10:09] And so now on the consultant, I can say this to similar clients, because now we've gone from quarterly face-to-face board meeting to kind of monthly zooms. Yeah. They're actually doing their own accountability sheets.
[00:10:19] So I'm having a zoom within half an hour, the following day they're emailing me something back, which is their accountability sheet. Right. So therefore they're working to that as well. So certainly I've gone full circle, whereas I'm waiting an accountability sheet to hold them. There was never going to come back to me.
[00:10:35] Perfect. Yeah.
[00:10:37] Paul Shrimpling: [00:10:37] Yeah. Interesting. Isn't it? It's very powerful because it's almost as if, if you are the accountability, you're inflicting that on them. Whereas if they on the accountability they volunteer,
[00:10:47] Rob Walsh: [00:10:47] it's the language you
[00:10:47] Paul Shrimpling: [00:10:47] use. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, um, the. Experience it clear vision and you know, there's the previous multi-partner multi-office firm.
[00:10:59] I just, I want to [00:11:00] get a feel for this journey from compliance to advisory over the, you know, the period of clear vision and what was going on in the previous firm, just run us through how that's evolved for you personally, and then how you've scaled in leverage that if indeed you have.
[00:11:15] Rob Walsh: [00:11:15] So I was very lucky.
[00:11:16] I work with a guy called Tony Swift in the nineties who was far ahead of his game learning and accountancy business. Mm. And what his model was, you know, you had the, you had the client base and you had, you were doing the IFA on the corporate finance arm. Um, the leasing arm, the recruitment arm, the software on the, um, management camp time.
[00:11:36] So in the nineties, that was pretty unheard of. So using this. Um, clients, uh, pot basically, and then cross selling in different areas, getting a business owner to own these different, um, uh, departments and more companies, and then go off into the client and doing that, and then, you know, and consulting and all kind of advising and what you need to [00:12:00] do.
[00:12:00] So certainly the client was getting a whole book of advice from all different, you know, parts of. The firm, right. Input from
[00:12:08] Paul Shrimpling: [00:12:08] lots of different profit centers without being fed.
[00:12:13] Rob Walsh: [00:12:13] Okay. So if someone didn't know, they'd go to that company, someone within that company. So wherever they need to go for business advice, you know, then they would go to Willie's companies and then do it.
[00:12:22] It's going to give them that. So I was very lucky to work with this guy and Tony Swift. And so he was ahead of his game. Unfortunately, the people that were heads of the. Companies took departments. They were not business people. So therefore they have to be mentored and, you know, and then some made it some didn't make it.
[00:12:39] So when I started, when I came into, well, I left the business in. It was because there was no trust. You, there was no vision. There was no kind of direction. Okay. And by that time, tenants had left and gone on to them. Passes new. Yeah. And so I wanted to create something different. And rather than being nibble [00:13:00] Walter Cancun team or whatever you want to call it, it was talking about something that I'm very passionate about, which is vision and clarity for clients.
[00:13:10] And therefore we formed Cleveland accountancy limited and whatever we did, we flipped upside down. So we have an upside down forecast. And just briefly what that means is rather than having turnover at the top, it's at the bottom. So at the top, you've got your income to live on, add on your income to achieve your personal goals.
[00:13:31] Add on tax. I don't overheads. I don't cost of sales and then you get to bottom. That's how you grow your turnover. Okay. So then looking at that and then payroll, how can make payroll a better, you know, service that people like? So we just bought a printer for a thousand pound and it wasn't able to, to basically put messages on the payslips.
[00:13:53] So. Every month, we leave messages on individual payslips to say, well done, Paul for doing this [00:14:00] world and Matt for doing this world. And so-and-so, or just remember the system had gone in this. So it was good and mentoring as well. Then we sold this to other clients, you know? And so therefore the payroll supers were certainly that was adding value to their employees as well.
[00:14:14] So whatever we did, tax payroll, um, forecasts management, accounts management accounts, you've had a personal goal of owning a particular watch. Courtney management counts, 10 grand profit, or you've just bought one quarter of your watch linking in that goal to the hard work and so forth. So wherever we did it, clear vision, and we basically flipped upside down and challenge Hmm.
[00:14:36] Chinese away. And then in that time and started building a consultanting model, started doing one, then two, then three, then non-exec ships, whatever. And so in the end, I think I left with. So not leave, but I've got 28 relationships with consultancy clients that have been, and for, um, from five years and 10 years, [00:15:00] whatever plus.
[00:15:01] And so the transition was whatever we're doing in our own business, in looking at turning upside down to actually kind of analyzing it to say, how can we make this visionary? How can we make this different? How can we make it whatever, um, know it was really important to us. And then. You came along poor many years ago and asked me what my words were, forgot my purpose.
[00:15:23] And I said to you, because I care to make a bloody difference and we had the word difference. We had the big difference in the small difference from our kind of feedback was how we made no difference, small difference, big difference, or tell a difference. We had a difference, um, uh, bar chart on not on the website.
[00:15:41] So suddenly LinkedIn purpose to humans to. The DNA of the business and the
[00:15:49] Paul Shrimpling: [00:15:49] scorecard as well, you know, scorecard on. Absolutely
[00:15:52] Rob Walsh: [00:15:52] sure. By flipping clear and accountancy, and then, you know, we were lucky to win national awards and so forth because [00:16:00] of, um, adding value to people's businesses. And, you know, it was very, it wasn't about the outcome, which is profit and cash.
[00:16:07] It was about the input of doing what you're passionate about doing. Okay. And the outcome was actually difference to make a difference to them. And then the byproduct was profit
[00:16:16] Paul Shrimpling: [00:16:16] personal. Isn't it? Cause everyone's got their own, you know, there's a different I to make the difference. You want to make the difference, this client, a client being client C want to make her all different.
[00:16:25] So there's actually something about understanding clearly back to your clear vision
[00:16:29] Rob Walsh: [00:16:29] piece, isn't it? Yeah. And the vision of where they're going and the vision of where they are. And then, you know, we can jump in far too quickly and just say, you need to do this, but next we actually go. Behind the person to see what kind of state they are, are then personally or professionally, whatever, before they go to businesses really important these days, you know, I use an example recently whereby this lady not sleeping or eating, popping, or not whatever, just focused business as a business.
[00:16:57] So I didn't have to have a conversation [00:17:00] regarding, you know, that, but I did. I said, look up and look down. What'd you mean? I said, when's the last time you looked up and look at the trees and the nature and the birds and whatever. I bet you're walking along, chatting to different people on your phone before we start work.
[00:17:13] Yes, sir. Um, how'd you know that, so, so when's the last time you properly she's had you knew her. I said when's the last time you actually had a quality conversation regarding a friend or laugh or whatever was going to start in the park, not for a long time, go and do it. Then I made a video reply to me after weeks to Monday and just said, You know, she said, can't thank you enough.
[00:17:33] Well, that was free of charge. That was nothing to do business whatsoever. It was getting her in a better place. So as you think about the business in a better way,
[00:17:41] Paul Shrimpling: [00:17:41] cause there's that challenges. And if you are emotionally in the wrong place and you're making decisions for your business, yeah. Chances are you're making the wrong decisions.
[00:17:49] So it's actually what you, what you're talking there was this massive journey from. Compliance accountant all the way through to a emotional
[00:17:57] Rob Walsh: [00:17:57] consultant. Isn't it? It's funny. I was, I [00:18:00] was some informed me the, the Alchemist the other day, which is actually unusual, the argument's consultant. And it's you go from being a qualified chartered accountant to doing your compliance?
[00:18:11] Yeah. Getting bored and doing the sexy stuff into the management Caymans and forecasts, which, you know, a from et cetera stuff. And then going on to consulting and then consulting, you always start with financials. Then you get the financials into strategy and strategy into, into purpose, purpose, into goals.
[00:18:27] And suddenly you go another step back or fall, which is the person and understanding the person, helping the person. So certainly look at the different layers of consulting, you know, w where do you build trust by looking at these different layers of consulting and get into a relationship whereby you are ultimately the, the trusted advisor.
[00:18:48] And therefore they'll come to you about anything at all. Okay. And it's how you adapt to those different layers of consulting and not being afraid. You know, I used to be fearful about asking them how they're feeling, but [00:19:00] now it was one of my first questions and I don't let them go on until they actually tell me, you know, how they're fitting a non-community bullshit basically.
[00:19:06] And then what's
[00:19:08] Paul Shrimpling: [00:19:08] clear from your earlier piece about the lady looking down, looking up that it's actually a whole series of questions. So there's nothing complex about consulting. Is it just a whole series of questions where you're genuinely curious, and then you've created that hierarchy, which is the financial numbers at one end and the emotional state at the other.
[00:19:33] Uh, do you think Rob it's been a, a natural journey progressing through that hierarchy as you've got more and more confidence as each stage? Or, or is it, has it been more disjointed than that?
[00:19:46] Rob Walsh: [00:19:46] My worst feeling was, uh, the word listen. So if I listened to it enough or had gone through those stages a lot quicker.
[00:19:56] Okay. Okay. So he's
[00:19:58] Paul Shrimpling: [00:19:58] saying you were good at asking the questions, but [00:20:00] not so good at the listening piece. So let's go there then. So define listening then
[00:20:05] Rob Walsh: [00:20:05] listening to what? Or let's you can ask a question and you get an answer. But did you actually get the answer? Did you connect to the answer? Did you actually see what they said?
[00:20:18] Did you actually see their body language? Did you actually connect with the whole human human parts of who you were talking to? So, you know, we all make mistakes. And so if I had, rather than listen to my own voice and being egotistic, basically asked the question and shut up and then listen. And listen, and then ask a question about what I've listened to, and I've never questioned about a whistle I listen to and then keep going about the questions that I'm listening to.
[00:20:46] Suddenly they know that you care, you're not going to let them go past that point. You're discussing until you actually got, what is the kind of core problem and what is the core action point? So natural progression, I would say [00:21:00] no, but as simple as just listening, then you get a quicker. If you listen, Hmm,
[00:21:09] Paul Shrimpling: [00:21:09] it's insane.
[00:21:09] I used to, uh, four kids. All of them have had, unfortunately I guess had, uh, me and Kate singing to them before they went to bed when they were little. And, uh, one of the songs of choice was listening with your eyes. Okay. In kids there. Okay. Rob, thank you for asking. Yes. Was that it's? Uh, the arguably the, the strongest listening organ is the eyes, not the ears because you can see how people feel.
[00:21:33] Better than you can actually hear how they feel. Yeah. And so you, you talk about looking for the body language, it's a form of listening. Um, and, and also I think what I've heard there is the, um, you ask a question then my favorite strategy is just repeat what they've said. You almost don't need to ask a second question and then they fine tune it and you do the same again.
[00:21:53] They find tune it again. And all of a sudden you're peeling the layers back, aren't you to get to what is really going
[00:22:00] [00:21:59] Rob Walsh: [00:21:59] on. Because of zoom, Marvin and face to face, you gotta be even more students, you know, and less you say, taking your words, listen with your eyes because you can't see them as much. You can just see their faces and therefore you've got to be even more astute to, to the words they use, the language that you use glass half empty or glass half or whatever, or all the normal stuff, which is back to the quality of the listening.
[00:22:22] Yeah. Yeah. And also I think in these times as well, it's. Connection or connectedness. Everyone is it's, it's making sure that your connection isn't just superficial, but your connection, it goes through different layers. Okay. So you, listen, you make a connection because you never layer you, listen, you make connection because a different layer and so on.
[00:22:47] So suddenly when you know that's, so our language, when you're listening and then you're asking a question you're connecting even more. You know that you're getting to the key issue and that's [00:23:00] where you can help them change or change the way they're thinking or change the way that eloquent the business or changing the by the business or just kind of, you know, just, they do some very simple stuff.
[00:23:11] So could connection and connectedness. I think is, uh, is built in the layers of trust that you have with your client.
[00:23:18] Paul Shrimpling: [00:23:18] You raised an important point there, because I think there's, are you asking a question so you can find the fix or you asking the question just so that you understand, which do you think, where do you think the power really lies?
[00:23:30] Rob Walsh: [00:23:30] Um, you have to keep asking the question and keep asking the question you can answer. Do you understand? And then give a fix. I wouldn't say, give a fix. Talk through the, your understanding of the situation to come up with different options or to show a different way. And then it's up to them, whether they go that different way and doing the water.
[00:23:54] Paul Shrimpling: [00:23:54] So it's up to them to make the decision. But you can have a conversation to pursue options. Yes. So actually [00:24:00] consulting what we're saying here is just ask questions about yes. Facts, but also feelings or ask questions so that you end up having a conversation about what people are feeling. How are you feeling is great.
[00:24:11] Open-ended opening gambit, but actually, um, you know, it's asking a series of questions that. Unravel that, you know, and that's why, you know, repeating what they say has a tendency to get people to naturally and comfortably yet share more and more of what's going
[00:24:24] Rob Walsh: [00:24:24] on. And, and, you know, you, you can ask a question, how are you feeling?
[00:24:28] And it comes from their head. Yeah. And you know, that's not the true feeling. Yeah. You can ask a question that comes from their hearts or from their, you know, intuition or whatever, and you know that you're getting the
[00:24:40] Paul Shrimpling: [00:24:40] answers. Okay. How does an accountant as one of those intuitive tenant questions then though.
[00:24:44] Intuitively that's helpful.
[00:24:50] Rob Walsh: [00:24:50] Um, you know, excuse my language, you know, when you're getting up a answer, which has been fobbed off. Yeah, yeah. That was coming from the mind, you know, [00:25:00] it comes from a, you know, a pure response mechanism. Okay. Yeah. Therefore you knew you were getting a kind of a, you know, standard answer B or C or D.
[00:25:09] Okay. So you can tell by the language being given to you that. It's a mind down to, and a hard time. So, yeah,
[00:25:16] Paul Shrimpling: [00:25:16] so there's a surface elevate and there's like a veneer. Could you see the veneer as opposed to the deep
[00:25:21] Rob Walsh: [00:25:21] downward? So recently someone's come up to me after, uh, kind of, um, someone introduced regarding whether to sell the business or not.
[00:25:30] And he came to me regarding the numbers, you know, what's going to be worth value, end game, uh, whatever. And I asked him a question, which basically, I think it took him out of his kilter and his sister. So what's your purpose in life? And he said all, uh, to basically provide a family. It's never, what's your purpose in life?
[00:25:52] And, um, he said, Oh, I, I love meeting people. I love kind of make a difference to them in dentistry. So it's, how are [00:26:00] you going to feel when you sold the business? You know, will you fulfill your purpose in different ways? He said, good question more. And then about two days later, he came up to me cause he thought about it.
[00:26:12] And he realized that, um, he's, he puts it, he's worked 25 years in a dark and dingy room. And on X date, he's gonna have to work in out of a two for you to get a feel for exit value, but then it's good to give him an option. Does he stay in there working as an associate? Does he go off then set up a new business or does he help, does he see people in a different way or doing a charity?
[00:26:35] Whatever. So at the moment he's got one. One purpose of making a difference to people doing dentistry, but give them options of staying in there, setting up a new business or doing something really different. And when he got to his purpose and realize that it's not about the money, it's about the purpose, you know, certainly he could see that he's still gonna have an opportunity to do his purpose, even [00:27:00] though he sold his business, which is really key.
[00:27:01] Yeah. And just to go back a bit, the reason why I. So give me an accountancy was that I was getting a few heart issues, nothing serious, but if you aren't actually serious yet. And certainly cause I'm a, because I'm of hot person kind of thing. Well, the mind person, it was affecting me in the heart. And I think in acronyms in it, Rather we've being fearful, what we've got to learn here, but what's a learning what's learning.
[00:27:25] And certainly it took something else, not harder and nothing like that, but it's something, you know, the heart took off to a high speed and it, what am I doing here? And literally I was looking up at a ceiling in Bart hospital and I think in how the, after they basic get here, thinking this is ridiculous.
[00:27:40] So certainly that made me basically, I have a conversation with the partner, the director, and just say, buy the business. And I may have got me up to more, more for it. I don't know, but sold it. Yeah. Now about enabled me to fulfill my purpose, even more, go in to do the consulting, what I really would enjoy doing, you know, and rather than being, not hemmed back.
[00:28:00] [00:27:59] Cause you know, I like to accountancy kind of thing and what it taught me, but to enable you to go to a different level of delivering consultancy, which is what you're passionate about and therefore are not being involved in the business. Okay. Which is again, linked to your purpose. So I could have stayed with the County business and kept the money going at the house, but then.
[00:28:20] If I kind of, you know, really stick to my purpose, go off and see what patches new same with this guy in dentistry. And what consulting does is from the initial relationship to the trust, being built from the compliance to then the KPIs management council forecasting, to then go into the board meeting and goal-setting setting of ours.
[00:28:42] You've got a client for life and more. You've got a trusted relationship for life and they are always there right from the journey from meeting them to help them exit and even maybe something after that as well. And that's the beauty of it. So, You know, I think accountants can look at a [00:29:00] lifetime value of a client and just say, is it compliance only?
[00:29:03] No. Yeah. But more
[00:29:04] Paul Shrimpling: [00:29:04] importantly, just to pick up on your point of there's a connectedness there, correct. Which actually is very fulfilling, isn't it? As opposed to just seeing it as a transactional relationship with a client, who's your payments to general, it's actually something that means something to you and it means something to your client if I understood
[00:29:19] Rob Walsh: [00:29:19] that, right?
[00:29:19] Yeah, totally. So when you're slogging it back from, you know, doing train Jonas and everywhere, it's not about how much money do it that day. So. How about when you made a difference today and that's, that's it, that's the key point and that's the passion that warmth and you get in your gut kind of thing of making a difference, you know, and now, even though we're not traveling as much in the, I'm doing it by zooms, it's even better because you're seeing the clients more frequently and make a difference even
[00:29:40] Paul Shrimpling: [00:29:40] more.
[00:29:40] Yeah. Yeah. No, I agree. I, no, it's been my experience as well, but I still think there's this challenge there. Isn't the rub you've got. You know, accountants who've been trained in accountant city. Haven't been trained in asking questions. Haven't been trained in being comfortable with the ambiguity of a conversation around people's feelings and ambitions and goals.
[00:30:00] [00:30:00] How do, how do we help others? How do you, how did you help your team ask those sorts of questions? How did you scale and leverage what you were doing around advisory stroke consultants?
[00:30:13] Rob Walsh: [00:30:13] So. The people that want to do it, we'll do it. The people that will say they'll do it, won't do it. And the people that say didn't want to do it and do it.
[00:30:25] So the ones that these ones, we did it in the middle of whereby the people who said they want to do it and don't do it at a time you Steelers. And then they just kind of waste your time and, you know, whatever. So you just write those ones off, then Rob. You give them a chance you can train them, mentor them, give them a chance.
[00:30:40] And then you say to them, do you want to do this or not? No. I'm happy to in forecasting, welding advisory, happy days. No problem at all. Thank you for letting me know. So the people that do want to do it, they are on the journey with you. Okay. And you you've made them accountable and it, and, uh, and they want to do it.
[00:30:56] So, you know, I've helped different accountancy firms across the country and you [00:31:00] can see the ones that. Want to do it because they want to learn. And normally they are the people that if they're not asking you about feelings, they assume will be because they just having the confidence. You know, they're just getting more confidence to ask those questions.
[00:31:16] Does that come
[00:31:17] Paul Shrimpling: [00:31:17] from labor? Where does the confidence
[00:31:19] Rob Walsh: [00:31:19] come from? It's by giving them good mentoring, basically, you know, and allowing them to fail. I don't like that word, allowing them to learn failure. Failure. Failure is always a learning. So therefore allowing them to learn on a regular basis and then okay.
[00:31:36] Do about that. What's a good points. You know, sometimes you hear somebody lost four Neil, okay. You know, in football or whatever. And they say so, okay. What are the points from, from today, because we don't want all the bad points. So therefore it's just building their confidence, building their confidence, building their confidence like this, and then let them, let them, let them kind of loose on a soft [00:32:00] clients, right.
[00:32:00] Someone that they know really well, giving them the questions to ask, not being involved because me being me I'll take over the session. So I need to, yeah. Yeah. So I'll find out the way to do it. Yeah, I'll do it. Then, then you. Get feedback, you learn it and it's good. Yeah.
[00:32:18] Paul Shrimpling: [00:32:18] I think the, um, if anyone's ever watched or actually taught a child to ride a bike, they're learning a skill.
[00:32:27] What you're talking about there is they're learning a skill around asking certain questions in a certain way, which is yes, about facts. But also about feelings is, you know, the emotional context of what the business owners are doing in the businesses as important, if not more important than the actual nuts and bolts in the business.
[00:32:43] Um, and an accountant who has been trained in facts and figures can learn to drive the car can learn to drive the bank can learn to ask questions that are anything other than about the numbers and they will fall off the bike or something.
[00:32:58] Rob Walsh: [00:32:58] Um, and, and [00:33:00] also, you know, we're all humans. And so therefore we've got, we've got passions outside of work.
[00:33:04] And so all you're doing is putting your outside passions in a way you kind of feel about that into work. But if,
[00:33:11] Paul Shrimpling: [00:33:11] if there's an underwriting, um, challenge that you've laid down in this conversation, Rob to anyone listening is the fact, um, they got to get clear on their own purpose. And then that will steer them in terms of whether the advisory consulting piece is right for them, right.
[00:33:28] For their firm. And it's how does someone get to a place where they're crystal clear on their purpose?
[00:33:35] Rob Walsh: [00:33:35] If we go back to the leaders of the business, what, what are they actually wanting to create? Are they creating an advisory business? Now? What advice do we mean? Does it mean tax advisory doesn't mean payroll advisory?
[00:33:49] What does that actually mean? So volume to mean is actually having a trusted, deep, connected relationship with the clients. That's it? Hmm. So [00:34:00] if that's the passion of the leader at the top, that's going to filter down into the individuals down below, and there'll be a training program. There'll be DSW, whatever, if at the top, then it's.
[00:34:12] Um, just bit part and, you know, part time, you're not going to get a kind of fully what I sort of kept fully connected advisory business is not going to be the happiest. So therefore they won't be, they won't be training program for people to live. However, there'll be some shining lights amongst your firm.
[00:34:30] And those shiny lights will be doing what they're doing, because they've got a natural ability or they're doing it themselves. They feel passionate about it. So, yeah. Give those people a chance to kind of want to in a consulting advisory business to grow it, you know, um, and let them kind of learn from that and help them grow a department within what they're learning from.
[00:34:46] No. Hmm. So to me, everyone has the opportunity, whether it's the individual or whether it's the leader and therefore the individual may have the natural talent, [00:35:00] um, or asking or asking questions, ability and listening. Uh, but that comes from the top then that, again, like I said, it could be part of DNA of the business and make sure it's entrenched in the business.
[00:35:09] Sure. And goes through everything. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:35:12] Paul Shrimpling: [00:35:12] But I'm still struggling into, Hey, how does someone work out? What
[00:35:15] Rob Walsh: [00:35:15] their core purpose is? Sorry, I didn't ask the question. So you asked me eight word, uh, in many years ago, about my eight words. I think we came from Sephora go down to purple cow. Yeah. And. So I am straight.
[00:35:31] I answer straight away for the cosmic ability difference. And then I think the following week I was reading a book by Deepak shaker and it said to me, they said, if you're doing the work you were doing, if you enjoy the work you're doing, you're passionate about the work you're doing. Um, then why change?
[00:35:50] Okay. So people always moaning about this, that and the other, but if you're really enjoying what you're doing, then that's your purpose in life. Okay. You [00:36:00] know, and it's, there's a turnover. The patient said, if you've answered nothing, you know, what would you change? Nothing. Then you find your purpose in life.
[00:36:08] And that's the key thing. Know if you enjoy doing bookkeeping? Which is fantastic for people and really getting to the nth degree of detail is fantastic. That's your purpose? You know, you really like accuracy. Okay. If your, if you like doing forecasting, showing the future, you know, and really kind of doing these, these tables, there's, um, there's different KPIs, whatever and different, um, uh, models of, of forecasting.
[00:36:34] Perfect. Cause you showing a future. Okay. If you like talking about tax, that's fine as well. So. It really is, you know, what is your purpose? And, you know, I've got, I had a conversation yesterday about someone's purpose and they didn't know. So I've got this conversation with next week. It's MD of a 50 employee law firm up [00:37:00] North, and she thinks she knows.
[00:37:03] And. If I was to, if I, if I was to give her, her her eight words, I could know what they were, but it's not for me to say it is for her to say. And certainly if the word in supportive list all the times, the names Emma, all the times, I mean, you being supportive in a week. Can you improve it? Okay. Look at the word present when you're present in the moment, listening.
[00:37:28] Look all the time. And certainly when they pick the eight words and you put down the actual word, it means, and then look at what they're doing daily, weekly, monthly, you got nailed, actually got nailed. The problem is, is getting into eight words. It was never quite a Manchester and hers is to, um, to, to grow opportunities, but enjoy the journey and enjoy the journey.
[00:37:50] So she's. An ideas person, little opportunities, opportunities, opportunities. And so it's growing the opportunities to actually lives in a way, but enjoying the journey, two young [00:38:00] kids working silly hours, great brain on a, going to make a lot of money, but you're not enjoying the journey. So she actually got those eight words, got them framed and put it up on the wall of a bedroom.
[00:38:13] Then what would you wake up in the morning? She can see it. And certainly recently after two, what are they words are. And she said that I said, but you're not, you're not enjoying the journey. What's got to change. So conversation next week basically is what have you done to change the way you're in your life to enjoy the journey?
[00:38:32] Interesting conversation to
[00:38:33] Paul Shrimpling: [00:38:33] have. So what you're saying, there is a whole series of questions that you can ask people that help them determine their own purpose. Correct. And stay with it. And my experience is, um, cause I I've been challenged over the last 18 months to refresh and review our purpose around she's ended up being humanized, the numbers, the name of this podcast.
[00:38:53] And, um, and it is taken awhile to get comfortable with the language. But it's, um, [00:39:00] it, it, it feels natural. Now that first it didn't. Yeah. Um, and it, you know, it reflected in connected with what we were doing and what we were best at and what we love doing to take your point. Um, but actually, um, fine tune in the language and getting comfortable that language was tough or not tough.
[00:39:16] It just took time, you know, and writing stuff and saying stuff in a particular way and going, falling off the bike, you know, just, um, cocking it up a little bit. It'd be willing to fail. We're willing to
[00:39:26] Rob Walsh: [00:39:26] learn, to use your in order to make a difference was part of my eight words for the purpose. I had to keep climates.
[00:39:32] You didn't have to have a vision. So therefore getting clarity in the business, getting vision into business was absolutely key. So the forecast was so different that the personal Goldson difference. So then suddenly making a difference into clear and vision. That was absolutely key to putting it, make it as a part of DNA of the business.
[00:39:49] Um, and then, and then suddenly your eight words are endemic in that. Hmm.
[00:39:54] Paul Shrimpling: [00:39:54] Yeah. And Demi
[00:39:55] Rob Walsh: [00:39:55] embedded. Real DNA.
[00:39:58] Paul Shrimpling: [00:39:58] Yeah. It's and I love the DNA [00:40:00] phrase so that you move away from it being a tagline and move it into a place where it actually it's meaningful to every person in the business, every person outside the business who looks at you and
[00:40:10] Rob Walsh: [00:40:10] connected and connected rather than having a Lily pad on top of a pond with no roots.
[00:40:14] And it was sink, basically, it's a fully supportive vision. And so testing. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:40:18] Paul Shrimpling: [00:40:18] This has been brilliant. Really appreciate you taking time out and sharing your thoughts on your history, clear vision and the value of purpose. And challenging everybody to
[00:40:29] Rob Walsh: [00:40:29] grasp the nettle as it were. I enjoyed it, but I'm more concerned about your kids being something.
[00:40:35] I think
[00:40:35] Paul Shrimpling: [00:40:35] they've got over it. Now, two of them are musicians. So I think because of that sort of impact,
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