October 25, 2023

Episode 93: Simon Chaplin, author and owner of Greenstones

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The Story

If you've led a six-person accounting firm with a turnover of £250,000 and built it over the years into a £1.5-million firm with 22 people, you'd rightly feel a sense of pride and satisfaction in what you'd achieved.

You might, though, be running out of energy, passion and ambition for your people, your clients and your business.

That's not the case with Simon Chaplin of Greenstones. Listen to this podcast discussion with Simon and you won't be able to help yourself in terms of buying into the passion he has for his team, his clients and the core purpose of his firm. There are huge lessons to be found within this discussion with Simon.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. It's easy for me to say that because I've known Simon for a long time, but it's the sheer commitment to the humanity within his firm that I enjoy so much in our discussion. I hope you do too.

Please scroll down this episode page for the contact information for Simon and for the additional, downloadable resources mentioned in this podcast.

The Solution:

Whether you call it support, customer service, care, whatever, once you've done the first two, whatever they choose to do off the back of that, you just need to sort... as long as it's legal, you need to support your client through that process as best you can, showing genuine interest and sharing relevant knowledge.

I'm going to say it's second nature, it's what we are, it's what we do. And as a profession, I think we are massively, and in lots of cases, overly, supporting of the clients that we work with, and in that case, I'm specifically talking about supportive financially, so at times we're not charging people what we think we should be charging them.





Connect with Simon

Connect with Paul

Resources relating to this podcast:

During the podcast, Paul and Simon discuss, not only the importance of challenging your clients and your team, but also the importance of getting it right. Simon talks about how challenge should come from the heart and not be about ego; it should not come across as bullying. Ultimately, it is important to allow the client or team member to do what they want - you can challenge their opinions and reasons but, in the end, you do have to accept their decision.

Paul discusses the importance of psychological safety in this space and how these conversations are much easier when a client or team member feels safe. If you want to know more about the process of building a conversation that helps create an environment where your client or team member feels safe, please click the button below to read the Business Breakthrough report, Build Psychological Safety. 

During this podcast, Paul and Simon talk about the value of KPIs for both your team and your clients.

Simon discusses a KPI centred around team development. Each team member must spend at least one hour a week on their own development - this enables them to be more human.

How much focus do you place on KPIs in your firm?

Simon is guided by his firm's mission:
Accountants Who Will Inspire, Challenge & Support You.

How do you measure this?

Most accountancy firm owners and managing partners measure what they think is right rather than what matters most.

We know accountants love to track and measure - let’s make sure you track and measure the right things in your firm. Click here to read this Business Breakthrough report - Healthy Heartfelt KPIs - and discover how to use them as key PREDICTIVE indicators.

Simon is a busy man, but he's also had time to write his own book: Banish the Bottleneck: 7 savvy steps to grow the (almost) perfect team for your accountancy practice.

This book is full of brilliant insights for accountancy firm owners looking to grow their firms in this ever-changing world. 

Click the button below to read Simon's book.

Towards the end of the podcast, Simon talks about how he has extracted himself from the day-to-day work being done in the firm.

How did he do this? He wrote a 'stop doing' list on a whiteboard in the office, visible to the rest of the team. This resulted in work being delegated, with some team members asking for the chance to do some of the tasks. It also resulted in unimportant tasks just not being done. Simon never took a task back - if someone was not right for the role, it was moved over to someone else, never back to Simon.

If you want to work ON your firm and not IN your firm, how do you make a start?

With a stop-doing list.

Time is both finite and precious. Choose what to stop doing and you’re then able to use your finite time more wisely, effectively and profitably.

Ignore your ‘stop doing’ list and you’ll continue to get the same old results.

If you want to know more about how to use your time better by using a 'stop doing' list, please read the Business Breakthrough report, Stop to Succeed. Click the button below to access the report.

Paul and Simon reflect on a number of books in this podcast, but here are two that stand out.

Simon mentions Radical Candor, by Kim Scott.

She says: "The hardest part of building this trust is inviting people to challenge you, just as directly as you are challenging them".

Simon talks about the importance of challenging people by asking great questions, but doing this in the right way and with an understanding of the person you're dealing with.

He believes that if a question is asked with care and support and achieves clarity around a particular issue, it is unlikely to be the wrong question.

Click the button below to read the book.

The second book mentioned is Influence - The Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert B. Cialdini.

Paul and Simon refer to this book when talking about the importance of questions and asking them in the right way. Simon suggests that sometimes it is necessary to qualify the question before you ask it. Paul calls this framing - it's what you say before you say what you want to say that really matters.

Click the button below to read the book.

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