I'd be surprised if any accountant or any accountancy firm wouldn't want to work with high growth, ambitious entrepreneurial business owners.
And that's exactly what Steve Timmis at Sempar Accountancy & Tax is doing.
In fact, Steve and his team are doing it so well that they've grown their fees by between 30% and 50% per annum in recent years and, despite only starting the firm in 2016, they will be touching and maybe over-achieving on fees of a million pounds in 2021.
What's fascinating though, is what Steve puts right at the centre of the growth in fees - the team culture they've created within the firm.
So why not join me and Steve on this podcast interview at Humanise The Number.online and hear what Steve has to say about what he does, what his team do and how they do it to achieve the sort of growth that they're seeing.
And please, if you get the opportunity, drop me a line and let me know what you think of the lessons you learned from Steve. It's a brilliant discussion. Mostly because Steve is very open and very candid about what they're doing and how they're doing in his firm.
I hope you enjoy the podcast.
"The three things that we need to see that exist in the client relationship are rapport, commerciality, and added value.
So have we got a genuine rapport. Can we work together? Can we have good and bad conversations when things aren't going great for that business, will they listen to us and will they allow us to advise them, Is it commercial. Can we do this work at a commercial rate for us?
And can we add value?
These are the three boxes we have to tick with every new client before we work with them "
Connect with Steve Timmis
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.
[00:00:20] Steve Timmis: [00:00:20] Well, when I'm making my notes and that me and I always draw three boxes at the top of my page and I've an RSC and a V and I tick the boxes when I realized that we can.
[00:00:31]and that gives me the indication if I can tick all three boxes, that gives me the indication that we can work with them. Sometimes we get asked what the boxes mean and, and, an explanation, share that with them and, and say, actually, these are really good. Boxes for you to write at the top of your page.
[00:00:45] And I'd, I'd hope at the end of that conversation, you can tick all three as well,
[00:00:49] Paul Shrimpling: [00:00:49] who wouldn't want to work with ambitious entrepreneurial, high growth business owner clients. Well, that's exactly what Steve Timmis and his team at Semper want to do, and they've [00:01:00] achieved it. In fact, they've achieved it so well at their firm has grown by between 30% and 50% per annum over the last few years and, close to hitting a million pound in fees, even though they only started the firm in 2016.
[00:01:13] Steve. And the team at Sempra have achieved such great growth because of their commitment to 18 culture where recruiting the right people is so crucially important and creating the right environment for people to work in is so important. So let's hear what Steve has got to say about how successful Semper have been.
[00:01:31] And let's go to the interview now when it's great to be joined by Steve Timmis today on the humanize, the numbers podcast. Good morning, Steve.
[00:01:40] Steve Timmis: [00:01:40] Good morning, Paul.
[00:01:41] Paul Shrimpling: [00:01:41] Good to see you. Good to see you. Thank you for joining us and Steve, just to kick off, would you please give us a little bit of background, the, the nature of your firm's size of your number of team members and so forth, just so we can put everything into context for this interview?
[00:01:52] Steve Timmis: [00:01:52] Yeah, of course. so I'm Steve Timmis, I'm one of the co-founders as some par we started some part in March 16. [00:02:00] we on our way to it to a million turnover. we should reach that next year and we've seen great growth over those years. we've currently got a team of 15, 15 team members. we really work with kind of high growth businesses.
[00:02:15]so we looked at kind of services, support, you know, the high growth entrepreneur really. they, they take all different kinds of shapes and sizes. So we work in the kind of manufacturing sector, the engineering sector, service sector,
[00:02:28] Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:28] Fab. So you started four years ago.
[00:02:32] Steve Timmis: [00:02:32] Yep. And
[00:02:34] Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:34] you're already knocking on the door of a million pounds.
[00:02:36] Steve Timmis: [00:02:36] Yeah.
[00:02:37] Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:37] So that's, that's, that's pretty, you must be pretty proud of that growth curve.
[00:02:41] Steve Timmis: [00:02:41] I'm really proud, really proud of where we've come. And I think that gross all been organic really. So it's come from, I would say 60 to 70% of that growth has come from a recommendation from our client base. Which is what we're actually more proud of that than I am with the actual numbers.
[00:02:56] So, wow.
[00:03:00] [00:03:00] Paul Shrimpling: [00:03:00] So, so how do you nurture those recommendations then? Steve, that's a hell of a growth just off the back of recommendations. It's, you know, most firms out there be very jealous of what you've achieved.
[00:03:09] Steve Timmis: [00:03:09] Well, I think they have, there's two things, really. One is that we have a say in, within the organization, which is do the right thing.
[00:03:16]so I think we set out with our client's focus in mind. and I think that comes over, over really, really boldly when we're working with people, deal. The thing is we, we recruit on enthusiasm. So, one thing we, we always look for in, in our new team members is, is natural enthusiasm. And I think that certainly comes over from our.
[00:03:38] Climate client team relationship across the board, really that clients feel like when they've got a problem or when we're trying to create a solution for them, that our team are enthusiastic about their business. And that's not something I can tell somebody to be enthusiastic. It has to be within them.
[00:03:57] It has to be in their core. And that's [00:04:00] when we grow our team in a knowledge and skills that are important. But without that natural enthusiasm, then. We're not going to create the kind of culture and environment and community that, that we want to create within the business.
[00:04:12] Paul Shrimpling: [00:04:12] Yes. I'll come to that environment that, that you want in the business in a second.
[00:04:17] So, how do you assess whether someone's genuinely enthusiastic in an interview, Steve? Cause they could be putting it on
[00:04:23] Steve Timmis: [00:04:23] difficult. It's difficult. I think, I think this is, I think certainly we probably adopted a skill over this time of these times. certainly we're working with, I guess I've got. 20 plus years in the industry.
[00:04:34]and you, you get to know, perhaps the types of people that you want to work with. you're not going to get it right every time. but I think probably one of the secrets of our success is that we have got it right more often than not. and I think that's helped us along the way, so
[00:04:50] Paul Shrimpling: [00:04:50] yeah. Yeah, yeah.
[00:04:50] Yeah. So I'm, I'm still, I'm not getting to a place where I understand what's going on in these interviews to determine the sort of [00:05:00] questions you're asking or we
[00:05:01] Steve Timmis: [00:05:01] do, we do some really different things in our interviews. So, we get, we have over the time got, some of the team when they've come for interview to stand and talk about.
[00:05:10] Themselves. and they're not allowed to mention things up that aren't on their CV. so, so that what happens is, is we get a, We get to see where the passion is. We get to see their face light up when they start to talk about something else. Cause not, you know, everyone has, w a career, but also the half things outside of that.
[00:05:32] And you know, that passion is harnessing that passion from perhaps another element of that life and seeing that it's naturally there and it's just getting them then to be excited about us. Not always is it their responsibility, you know, to be excited about. Working for some poets, it's for me to create that culture to them, then to see that they've got that passion, somewhere else to then harness it and use it here.
[00:05:56] And, you know, it's very much just seeing part [00:06:00] of, you know, seeing somebody become enthusiastic about something they care about. It's then my job to, to help them care about this and
[00:06:07] Paul Shrimpling: [00:06:07] then the connections between their passion and what you're doing a hundred percent as a firm. Right. So how do you do that then?
[00:06:15] How, how do you build that bridge between their natural passion for life, their life that you see in the interview, their enthusiasm. How do you build the bridge between that and the nature of the work that you do at senpai then?
[00:06:27] Steve Timmis: [00:06:27] So, so we create a synergy that, that, the senpai actually is, is a vehicle for actually our, for two, two sets of people.
[00:06:36]Sanford's a vehicle, for our clients to achieve their goals and dreams and aspirations. And it's a vehicle for our team to be the best version of themselves that can be. So they very quickly hopefully intrinsically linked, The business to being a driver towards them achieving their personal goals.
[00:06:54] Paul Shrimpling: [00:06:54] Okay. So, and, and I've, I've, I did do a little bit of research before we got on this [00:07:00] podcast and, and, and, and you've got a very different looking at website to most accountancy firms. you know, it's almost as if it's as if accountancy second.
[00:07:07] Steve Timmis: [00:07:07] Yeah.
[00:07:08] Paul Shrimpling: [00:07:08] And the, you know,
[00:07:09] Steve Timmis: [00:07:09] they see that first definitely.
[00:07:11] Paul Shrimpling: [00:07:11] And, which fits beautifully with our humanized, the numbers message, which is what I was really excited about talking to you today.
[00:07:18]so how, how do you then tap into, and we need to have two conversations. Now, one is about how do you tap into your, and connect to your team's personal goals to what's going on in the business. We'll deal with that one first, then we'll get on to your clients.
[00:07:32] Steve Timmis: [00:07:32] So when we do, when we do reviews, with team members, we, we, we talk about, we talk about that personal goals, as much as they want to share that information.
[00:07:42]and then we try and link their progress in their career here so they can see that one wins the other wins. so, but before that, we, we really just invest time. And when you get to know people and people, aren't just under the number, they're not just a processor. Sat at the desk churn in a number. And [00:08:00] we don't see people as a, well, as a, as an hourly rate, we don't see people as a while.
[00:08:06] We'll make X amount of profile. That person we're just going to churn that person as hard as we can until they give up and somebody else comes in and we see that person as a human being. And, you know, w we genuinely care about that person. you know, that hopefully reflects that they then genuinely care about our business.
[00:08:23] Paul Shrimpling: [00:08:23] Right. Okay. Is that, is there, is there a story about one of your team you can share that demonstrates that process working Steve?
[00:08:30]Steve Timmis: [00:08:30] yeah, she'll probably she'll probably kill me for, but I think it's happened across, across the, across the time we've been operating really, but, you know, Everybody in their life is going to go through.
[00:08:45]good and bad times. not all of them are in our control. somebody, themselves, who's lost a parent, suddenly and tragically. we had one of our team, unfortunately at the start of the year, that that parent became very poorly, went into [00:09:00] palliative care. you know, for me, The answer was go home and go and spend that time.
[00:09:07] Don't don't come back really until you're ready. So we will pick it all up. There's no issue. The pressures, ours, not yours. The communication inwardly to the rest of the team was one day. This will be you. And we'll do, whatever pressure this creates for the rest of us. One day, this will be you and you will get the same.
[00:09:29]care and attention at that time. And I think that, that just indicates exactly how we, you know, we respond to two things that go on in someone's personal life. It was, it was no longer about the business about that person doing what they needed to do. That was great. Then the business it's, things like that.
[00:09:52]it's people, again, people first.
[00:09:54] Paul Shrimpling: [00:09:54] Yeah. Yeah. And it sounds as though, you know, you, you mentioned that those three words do the right thing. [00:10:00] That's, you know, you and the team in that decision, making opportunity doing the right thing. so H how, how do you determine what, and it's clear and obvious in that situation, Steve, what the right thing would be, but, you know, w what guides your, your judgment on, on doing the right thing consistently, whether it be so team,
[00:10:20]Steve Timmis: [00:10:20] That's the new integrity, isn't it?
[00:10:21] That's in your core really? I think it's, for us, it's unexperienced, as you know, we all, I think the experiences we've been through, as people and as professionals, drives you towards knowing what that is. And I think we all always know what that right thing is, is it's really just making sure that's at the forefront.
[00:10:42]You know, and I think as a, as a practice, we're, we're not, no, one's perfect. And you know, human error will creep into different things. and it's always about, taking the positivity into that, into that and saying, well, actually, if there has been an error of some description, [00:11:00] you know, how do you deal with that?
[00:11:01] What's the right thing to do. How do you find the opportunity. In that, to still add value. and, also having the freedom for, for, for the team to feel like I can, I can, I can make a mistake and I can. and, and it's not going to be the worst thing in the world, you know, cause actually it's always our mistakes that we learn from isn't it, it's always the things that make us better.
[00:11:24]and it's just having the compliant environment so that. Yeah, maybe that mistake is always caught by somebody higher up the chain. And, the review part of what we do is capturing that. But, but it's, it's, I think for me, freedom's massive part of people growing. If you don't give people freedom to grow, you will always stifle what they can do.
[00:11:47] So. And
[00:11:48] Paul Shrimpling: [00:11:48] that freedom to grow is coming from you, creating an environment where people are comfortable making mistakes. Is that what you're saying? So you're comfortable that they cost you and your business money.
[00:11:59] Steve Timmis: [00:11:59] Yeah, [00:12:00] I think conf comfortable making mistakes is a we're comfortable and we have systems and processes that will protect them.
[00:12:07]and those mistakes from, or protect our clients from those mistakes. But unless you are freedom, unless somebody has freedom to. To express themselves to, to grow. Then, then, then we're really not going to get the best out of them. So it's that kind of trade off of finding the, of creating the right environment.
[00:12:24] While still delivering the right level of service to, to the, to the clients.
[00:12:29] Paul Shrimpling: [00:12:29] So it's that blend of, systems and processes hire the right people and, and then throw in a, a dollar per freedom, to, to, to create the right, the right outcomes.
[00:12:40] Steve Timmis: [00:12:40] we will always forget forego profit for the right, for tap the right business.
[00:12:45] So I went. Drive this business to be profitable before at the expense of having the right culture and environment, what, what it should do, as we move forward is, is the two should work together. [00:13:00] But, if I had to choose between the two, I would always choose the culture and the environment over the profit.
[00:13:06] Paul Shrimpling: [00:13:06] Right. But ultimately, if he did that all of the time, you would have a, a loss-making business. So isn't there a trade off than a compromise at some point.
[00:13:16]Steve Timmis: [00:13:16] you don't have to choose all the assigned because you, because of the other elements, do you, but, so you've got the right people. You've created the right culture, which largely in place, or most of the time, those times that you have to choose.
[00:13:29]you are taking fragments out of your profit, but I'm choosing culture and environment rather than choosing that, that Pam note really. and, and, and by giving the team the freedom to express themselves, I give by having that right culture and environment, we have happy relationships with clients, which means that we get recommended.
[00:13:50]those clients are, don't consider us a cost. They consider it part of their business. and actually, all of, all of the positivity from the culture, [00:14:00] creates far more profit, positive motives than, than the, those, those times where you have to pick your culture and defend your culture over in making an extra extra pounds.
[00:14:12] Paul Shrimpling: [00:14:12] Yeah, no, that's fascinating. So what, I've just, I've just captured a note, which is, it sounds as though what you're doing is you're investing those. Pound notes in the culture, which is just as you would invest in a marketing campaign through SEO wallpaper click, or, you know, an event or whatever, you seeing the investment in the culture is actually a marketing spend almost.
[00:14:33] Steve Timmis: [00:14:33] Yeah. Yeah. And it works and it works on both sides. So, you know, we talked about people first, so we have two sets of people, our theme, and our clients. we do exactly what the form of the clients. So we invested in the client. We spend time with the client. We get to know the client. And again, all of that is it the cost of the, of the bottom line, but it's that investment that means then.
[00:14:55] We get, we get the reward and the reward is that the client then is your marketing [00:15:00] budget. Really? They go out and sing your praises. They go out and recommend you.
[00:15:04] Paul Shrimpling: [00:15:04] So, in what ways are you investing in the client then? Steve? I agree, by the way, I agree with you. In fact, just before we dive at the client thing, there's one question that, I I've said for a long time, that if you don't, if you don't grow your people, you won't grow your practice.
[00:15:16] And it sounds as though what you're doing is you're, you're creating that. Freedom culture space almost for your team to, to work in that enables them to, grow. now I'm putting words in your mouth there, which I don't mean to, but how do you respond to that safe? You don't grow your people, you won't grow your practice.
[00:15:32] What does that mean to
[00:15:33] Steve Timmis: [00:15:33] you? I think that, I think you're absolutely right. and I think it has to be, you have to have that kind of, I guess without, without focusing in on your people, what you end up then is in my view is of a two dimensional business. So you're going to have people in people out, and, and that is going to reflect that onto the client relationship.
[00:15:54] And the client relationship is going to be people in people out. What we've always had a division here [00:16:00] is, is to almost look out the window and see two queues of people. Well, what a queue on the right that's, you know, put in entrepreneurial accountants who want to have a real willingness to come and be part of our culture and be part of our team.
[00:16:14] And then the queue on the left, which is, high growth business owners that are waiting for the next opportunity to work with us. Yeah. Brilliant. And that's, that's what success means to us and look out the window and see that queue rather than. to sit at the end of the year and go off and we made a lot of money.
[00:16:31] Paul Shrimpling: [00:16:31] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Fantastic. So how do you, how do you avoid not working with low grade, low growth companies? Steve, how do you turn the turning them away?
[00:16:42] Steve Timmis: [00:16:42] We have, I think in the main, because people get to know. Who we like to work with and what, where we're best working with these people with that type of person.
[00:16:52]we tend to like-minded people recommend us to like-minded people. So in the main, we don't have to turn many [00:17:00] people away from our business, right. Because, because most of the time we're very good at communicating what we're good at. And so when we are getting recommendations, they usually for, for, to work with people that would fit our model.
[00:17:13] Clearly, we're not for everybody. And, and, and I think, you know, that that's absolutely fine. And, you know, sometimes we'll, we'll, we'll sit down with people and, they'll leave with the aspiration that they want to work with us at some point, but it might not be today. Right. and, and, and that's fine.
[00:17:29] So you
[00:17:29] Paul Shrimpling: [00:17:29] have walked away from businesses that aren't in that high growth space and therefore aren't suited to your business.
[00:17:35] Steve Timmis: [00:17:35] Yeah, we've got, we've got, I would say, our focus, our, our plethora of services fits very nicely with, with, with people who are trying to grow their business and really want to just, have somebody else focus on that finance element, but have all the, at their fingertips, have everything they need.
[00:17:53]that if we do have clients that come in and don't take on all of those services, and so they might, [00:18:00] and of course you, you know, very rarely are businesses, high growth forever. so you know, you might have a high growth business for two or three years, and then they become an established.
[00:18:09] Business that growth curve.
[00:18:11] Paul Shrimpling: [00:18:11] and you don't boot them out then at that stage,
[00:18:12] Steve Timmis: [00:18:12] we don't move them out now, you know, you know, a lot of the time for us it's then it's just the next part of the journey. And, you know, we're that finance partner for, for, for all of that, part of the journey. What we have built though, is.
[00:18:27] We want to see, we like to see success, whether that be with our team or with our clients, we like to see everybody do well. And, we share in that success in terms of that, it makes us proud to have, have, have clients that are, that are succeeded in. So, we go out purposely to look for that, that kind of high growing business, but it will, it will evolve.
[00:18:47] You know, that high growth business will turn into an established business. It might go through another period of high growth in the future. and what we say to our clients is we're here to help you. So, you know, from whether that be [00:19:00] a sort of startup, that's got a really good business plan, needs an outsourced finance function, for a period of time, until they are able to recruit and take people on internally to do that work.
[00:19:11]you know, whether it's that the commercial, strategy or the financial direction that they require, we're there to give them that support. So what,
[00:19:20] Paul Shrimpling: [00:19:20] what's the definition of high growth then Steve too, to center
[00:19:23] Steve Timmis: [00:19:23] that's, that's individual to the clients. So someone's high growth might be, you know, on one hand, you know, for them, this is high growth.
[00:19:32] I think, I think probably saying high growth. Isn't always, perhaps the best way of describing it. What we're looking for is, is clients with an entrepreneurial mindset. and, and I guess what we've seen of our clients, in these kinds of uncertain times is that entrepreneurial mindset come right to the forefront.
[00:19:50] So we've seen businesses that have been immensely agile, in this time, because they've got that mindset. and that enabled them to, you know, some [00:20:00] of our clients have had that kind of production line stopped because of the service, maybe food service industry, and all of a sudden, within a week they've got a plum, they're now producing something different and now got completely different products.
[00:20:15] And then in April and may they actually beat their own budget that was set for their old products. You know, and the thing, you know, that's and it's moments like that, that make you proud that you've got these people around you. And, and I think it's, what I love with working with. You know, entrepreneurial mindset people is that I learn as well as they learn from us.
[00:20:36] We learn from them because actually there's always a lesson.
[00:20:39] Paul Shrimpling: [00:20:39] Yeah, brilliant. which is back to that, you know, if you grow your people, you'll grow your business. If you grow yourself, you'll grow your business. If you clients grow in terms of knowledge, insight. so how, how do you know you've got, a potential customer in front of you?
[00:20:54] That's not got that entrepreneurial mindset.
[00:20:57]Steve Timmis: [00:20:57] It's difficult, isn't it? It's I think, [00:21:00] I think, again, going back to like that, team interview is, is there's a little bit of good feeling. certainly, people, you know, track record can give you credibility. I think, again, you're looking for that natural enthusiasm, in somebody.
[00:21:14] That spark, I think if we could, if we could completely define it, we'd all be aiming for it, but it's, it's, it, it comes in, in different shapes and sizes, doesn't it in, you know, not, no entrepreneur is the same. They all have drivers and different passions. So, but, but largely, you know, the way we offer our services and the way that we engage.
[00:21:36] It certainly gives us a flavor that they're looking for, the right things from us. Tell us a little bit about what they really want out of the relationship and what, what they are as individuals as well.
[00:21:50] Paul Shrimpling: [00:21:50] Right? It sounds like you, you, you, you you're, you're hunting out the, that Holy grail of it. You want, you want to work with an ambitious business owner and it's their definition of ambition, not yours.
[00:22:00] [00:22:00] Steve Timmis: [00:22:00] Yes. That definition
[00:22:01] Paul Shrimpling: [00:22:01] of it. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:22:03] Steve Timmis: [00:22:03] To set that, is it in the end? Like it's in the same way. It's not for us to set somebody else's growth. It's not for us to set their objectives or dreams. It's first. I, I like to describe as perhaps as, you know, a, an advisory kind of woven into that tapestry.
[00:22:20] So we're there as part of that. you know, with the, with air to sort of try and help them achieve those dreams. and that, but us the same for the clients as it is for the team member, you know, with that to try and help. Everybody become a better version of themselves. and along the way, we will become a Babish and about, you know, as perhaps the founders will, will grow with that as well.
[00:22:42] Paul Shrimpling: [00:22:42] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Does, does does saying that. to audiences and to prospective clients, not turn some of them off Steve, you know, they're coming to you because they want a decent accountant and you go now, I want to help you become a better version of yourself. Is that, is it not a turn off to some people?
[00:22:58]Steve Timmis: [00:22:58] I don't think so. And if it [00:23:00] is probably just not the right people to work with, you know, and I think, I think our passion and our delivery, lead what we. What we really try and do with those clients. And sometimes, like I say, we're not for everybody, but that's absolutely fine. That's absolutely fine.
[00:23:17]you know, we wouldn't go out of our way to be some indifferent, to convince somebody to come and work with us. It's not going to be right. we have to be who we are. They have to be who they are and, and ultimately will, No. Well, w why they work together. We won't, what, what we can say is if we do work with somebody, we put our, our heart and soul into that.
[00:23:39] Paul Shrimpling: [00:23:39] Yeah. Yeah. So how, how good are you at winkling out clients that you think are right at the beginning, and then you realize that actually they're not right for you and you offer them, how good are you at, asking them to exit senpai?
[00:23:51] Steve Timmis: [00:23:51] We're probably better at that now than we were at the start. I think, I think experience tells you that, I guess, as you start in this journey, [00:24:00] I think you think that everybody can evolve to be, a good client for the practice.
[00:24:05]but I think your experience tells you that, that, that, that isn't always the case. but also I think one of the things we try and, we have kind of three hallmarks that we talk often. We'll mention in a, in a, in a, in a meeting with a prospective client, which is. The three things that we need to see that exist in that relationship is there's rapport, commerciality, and an added value.
[00:24:27] So I've, we got a genuine rapport. Can we work together? Can we have good and bad conversations? when, when, when, when things aren't going great for that business, will they listen to us and will they allow us to advise them, Is it commercial. So, so, you know, can we, can we do this work, a commercial rate for us?
[00:24:48] That's going to mean that we do add to the bottom line, but in a way, that's going to give us the freedom to express ourselves with that client and deliver the type of service that we want to do. And can we add value? [00:25:00] and I think, I think the way we, the way in which we perhaps think about the clients now is that we ask that question, those questions.
[00:25:08] You know, on a periodic basis, there's not just that the start is throughout the relationship, but also we encourage the clients, come back to those questions, you know, have they got a genuine rapport with us? Is it commercial for them? The cost they've paid? Do they get that benefit, cost relationship there for them?
[00:25:25] And do we add value to that business? Yeah. And, and, you know, clearly if we're not, then, then, you know, that's, it, that's something for them to challenge or, or take that view. And surely if we're in the same position and we feel like we, can't no longer add value and, you know, I think things evolve. So, you know, we've had clients we'll talk about high growth.
[00:25:46] We've had clients who've gone on meteoric growth rises and, and our relationship has ultimately changed through that time because. You know, you you've got businesses that have started off as, as a bedroom [00:26:00] business or a small business and, and gone to employing 200 people. And, and I'm really sort of, you know, in that sort of meteoric rise throughout time, our, our relationship with that client, ultimately changes, but in our view, We'll always have that integrity to say, hang on a minute.
[00:26:17] We're not, we're not adding value anymore. You know, this is, this is different. You've now got an FDA is spend a hundred grand a year on them. they're really, they're really great. Cause we've, you know, we've helped you recruit them or, you know, we we've we've we've seen that person come in and, and, and part of that transition, you know, there's no point.
[00:26:36] Us being here anymore because you've got everything you need or we're now just that compliance partner, or however that falls out. So it's having the kind of, not having the fear of sort of holding onto that relationship. The same, actually the best thing we can do is just let that relationship go.
[00:26:52] But in the right way, Yeah. We just transitioned into a different partner for them. you know, so it, [00:27:00] and because we've got the growth because we've got the influx of new work and, and recommendation, we're always free to do that. We've never got a panic that, Oh, well, if we let go of that, that means, you know, again, do the right thing.
[00:27:14] The right thing is to let that client go because they've, they've grown their business to a point we've been, you know, Rob a stay is a really integral part of that business's journey then. Hold onto that relationship. And then, and then it goes sour because you can't deliver it because you're no longer adding value.
[00:27:31] Paul Shrimpling: [00:27:31] Yeah. So is that an active part if I heard you, right. It sounds like that, asking a prospective client about, you know, that, okay. You're not necessarily gonna ask them about rapport because you either, you know, you, you get that or you don't get that, but at least you can tell them that that's one of your assessment pieces.
[00:27:45] I'm just, when is this. You know, three-part conversation about rapport, commerciality and added value. Does it actually show up in a prospect discussion and, you know, meet in a meeting with a potential new client?
[00:27:56] Steve Timmis: [00:27:56] It does because when I, when [00:28:00] I'm making my notes in that meeting, I always draw three boxes at the top of my, my page.
[00:28:05] And I have an RSC and a V and I tick the boxes when I realized that we can. and that gives me the indication. If I can tick all three boxes. that gives me the indication that we can work with them. sometimes we get asked what the boxes mean, and, share that with them and say, actually, there's a really good.
[00:28:21] Boxes for you to write at the top of your page. And I'd, I'd hope at the end of that conversation, you can tick all three as well. If they can take all three and we can tickle through them where we've got really good starting point to work together,
[00:28:32] Paul Shrimpling: [00:28:32] why don't you put, why don't you put a number out, a score out of 10 in the box, Steven provoking, even more interesting
[00:28:36] Steve Timmis: [00:28:36] conversation.
[00:28:38] It's really interesting though, because when you do explain what those, those boxes mean, you find the person that you're chatting to is constantly looking at them and waiting for you to take them because we all want to win. And actually they, they want you to tick those boxes. And it's quite interesting when you start.
[00:28:57] Paul Shrimpling: [00:28:57] Yeah. It's like, if they're an ambitious business owner, then they're [00:29:00] going to want the ticks aren't they? But then again, they might
[00:29:02] Steve Timmis: [00:29:02] be stealing you take
[00:29:08]Paul Shrimpling: [00:29:08] so it's interesting. we've almost come full circle because what you just said is you, you, you're willing to walk away from a substantial client in the right way, in a professional way, in a caring way and pass them on to a firm who can perhaps do. Yeah. A job that suits that firm because you're no longer adding value and you're comfortable doing that because you've got that flow of new work coming through the door.
[00:29:29] So you're not stressed about or so stressed about we're all somewhat uncomfortable. Aren't we losing lumpy clients. But, it's a, you know, we've got to stick to our knitting as my mother would say, in terms of, you know, what, what what's right about our business,
[00:29:41] Steve Timmis: [00:29:41] a hundred percent, I think, establishing your practice and, building.
[00:29:45] That practice gives you the strength to do that. I think sometimes if you're trying to grow, in the early days, I think it's, it's, it's a harder decision to make. And it's something that, you know, ultimately we'll, we'll all have made, [00:30:00] calls that perhaps weren't the right calls over the time, but it's that experience from those things and how they play out.
[00:30:06] But then make the lessons, you learn the lessons you learn and it brings us to today where we're very much comfortable with that.
[00:30:12] Paul Shrimpling: [00:30:12] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. but the reason I say we've come full circle is because we've gone. Well. How, how do you ensure that you've got a positive flow of new work through while it's still, what you're saying is you invest in your people, you invest in the culture that a new hire, the right people in order to generate that, client engagement.
[00:30:28] That means they want to stay. And, and, and also say they want to talk about you as well.
[00:30:34] Steve Timmis: [00:30:34] A hundred percent and, we've, we've grown, I don't know, 30 to 50% year on year. so it's, it's it's Testament that th th that does work.
[00:30:45] Paul Shrimpling: [00:30:45] Isn't that stressful I've saved, grown at that rate.
[00:30:50] Steve Timmis: [00:30:50] I'd be lying if I said no, no, it is. It is. But I think, I think you you're either all in or you're not. and, [00:31:00] and this is like a real part of my heartbeat. It's, it's probably secondary only to my family and, you know, really for me, that kind of sense of enthusiasm. I can't sit here and look for other people to be naturally enthusiastic about Sempra.
[00:31:16] If I'm not naturally enthusiastic committed, a hundred percent. Yeah, a hundred percent of the time. So, yes, it, yes, it creates, it can create stress at times and, and it can require hard work and graft. but again, it's demonstrating to people that they're important. And so it's all part of the message.
[00:31:35]are we working hard now that we've got some establishment and where we've got some size to us that we're trying to create? you know, we're always going through like a business improvement strategy. We're always trying to automate where we can. And, I think, I think the other part of what we do is we bring technology in where we can.
[00:31:55]at any point, to make things easier and better. So I think this [00:32:00] evolution of growth of our people, growth of our automation and our technical side, just, just hopefully come together and create improvement strategies that, that take that stress away. the accountancy profession as a whole is stressful, you know, I'm sure you've seen that, across many of your interviews and things that.
[00:32:19] It, it, it's not, it's never been, in my experiences, wherever I've worked, there's been stresses and long hours and, and things like that, you know, we're, we're trying our very best to create an environment where that isn't required. there's always going to be times where it is required, but I think.
[00:32:37]you know, the better we get at that that's I think that's our biggest challenge is creating. And as part of our culture, all of the other bits that we, we can put in and, and create that care and environment, that's, that's at our heart anyway. So that becomes really natural and making sure that the work kind of environment for everybody is that it continually improves.
[00:32:57] And we strive to, to make that as [00:33:00] stress free as possible. And that's that's the next, next big part.
[00:33:04] Paul Shrimpling: [00:33:04] Brilliant. Brilliant. Steve. That's been fantastic. Really appreciate you taking time out and sharing some of the insights about Semper and your team. That's been brilliant.
[00:33:16] Steve Timmis: [00:33:16] Thank you. Lovely to work with you this morning.
[00:33:18] Paul Shrimpling: [00:33:18] All right. Thank you very much. Thank you.
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Enthusiastic team members
People First (Investing in your business' culture)
Grow your people, Grow your practice
Choosing the right clients
Rapport, Commerciality, Added Value
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