September 1, 2023

Episode 88: Katie Hawking, Global Head of Practice Solutions and Sales Enablement at Dext

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The Story

I found it profoundly and remarkably valuable to enter into a podcast discussion with someone who has a really broad perspective across the profession, someone who spent 15 years in practice, someone who has worked at technology companies such as Xero and Dext and who works now with literally hundreds of leaders and managers of accounting firms.

Someone who can signpost what the best firms are doing compared with the other firms in the industry when it comes to brilliantly connecting with their team to get the best from them and brilliantly connecting with their clients so that they can make a big difference, feel pride in their work and generate great profits for the firm.

But also doing something special around – and Katie Hawking uses a phrase on this podcast discussion about ‘choosing your ending’, which I thought was brilliant – connecting with vision and goals. What are the goals and vision of your people, of each individual within your firm?

Katie talks about personalisation as well, connecting with the ending in mind, the vision of your clients, having a conversation with them about the future of their business and about the future of the firm as a whole.

I'm sure you'll find this podcast both entertaining and valuable, listening in to what Katie's got to say about the accountancy profession and how it can have a positive and meaningful impact on you and your firm.

Scroll down on this episode page for the contact information for Katie and for the additional, downloadable resources mentioned in this podcast.

The Solution:

I don't know about you, but I've never had an accountant come to me and complain that they've not got enough clients or enough team members and that they've not got enough people to actually service the number of clients that they have.

Accountants very rarely lose clients hand over fist unless they've made a real mistake. I can remember a few firms who decided for themselves that MTD for VAT wasn't going to happen and so didn't move very quickly around that change and they did lose clients because that was a fundamental legislation piece. But not many firms lose clients.

I'll tell you what I do love is the number of firms that when I ask how they won their clients, always proudly say, as if they're the only firm in the entire world to do this - “Oh, it's always by word of mouth, it's always by referral, we don't need to do any marketing”.

And I just think, you're not unique, everybody's the same because, when we find a good supplier or a good service, we want to tell everyone about it and everyone's always looking for a good accountant.

So, I've never had an accountant come to me and say, we're just really struggling to win more work. It's always, we're really struggling to service the amount of work that we've got coming in. Now I’ve seen accountants happy to come together, even in the same towns, and spend time together discussing the best ways of working and the best apps that they've discovered. The cross-collaboration between firms now is better than I've ever known it.





Connect with Katie

Connect with Paul

Resources relating to this podcast:

During this podcast discussion, Paul and Katie discuss how fear can hold people back from being willing to change. Katie talks about accountants as a risk-averse demographic of people who therefore naturally fear change and find it difficult.

Paul mentions some recent research into psychological safety and the importance of your team feeling safe, including research done at large businesses such as Google. Teams that had a high level of psychological safety performed better than teams that didn't.

The link between psychological safety and success is relatively new but, according to the research, it is the most important factor when it comes to a successful team. Given that accountants are generally anxious about change, the importance of developing an environment where people feel safe and can perform at their best is crucial.

If you want to know more about this subject, please click the button below to read the Business Breakthrough report on psychological safety and discover how to create an environment for honesty, openness and judgement-free conversations in your firm.

Paul and Katie talk about DISC profiling, with Katie discussing it in terms of herself, her role within her team, the surprises it revealed and what it tells you about accountants.

Paul and Katie both believe that DISC is a great profiling tool which can help you recruit and retain the right people.

Paul mentions Elaine Godley, a profiler, wellness expert and DISC trainer - and a guest on one of our recent podcasts. During her chat with Paul, she shares some fantastic insights on how to ensure, not only that you have the right people in your team, but that those people are doing what they love. Here is a link to that podcast.

Paul and Katie talk about the importance of vision, values and core purpose when it comes to the overall strategy of your firm.

Do you have a strategy for your firm?

Are you communicating it to your team and clients?

Is it being lived and breathed within your firm by all members of your team?

And are you doing something about it - focusing on one thing every 13 weeks to bring that strategy to life?

Here are 2 great Business Breakthrough reports to help you understand the importance of a clear strategy for the future of your firm and to help you bring it to life.

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