This is podcast two of five of the ACCA strategy series.
What does an accountancy firm do to make strategy really come to life in their firm?
On this podcast, you'll hear Glen, Phil and Gareth, from two different accounting firms, talk about what has to happen in their firms so that their vision, their purpose, their values really come to life.
They’ve worked out how to make it mean something to the directors, the team and their clients.
It isn't 'corporate BS' - it’s actually happening in their firm!
They're living it.
I hope you enjoy the podcast.
"It makes my job as MD much easier to be able to consistently use the same terms and the same words - even the strategic goals can sit underneath them.
"So you've got vision, mission and strategic goals consistently with everyone talking about them. And that's a sign for me if my team are doing that, if my team are saying that, if my team are behaving in line with those strategic elements, I know that I've got that message across."
Connect with Gareth
Connect with Paul
Connect with Phil
Connect with Glyn
Resources relating to this podcast:
Click the images to access the resource
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Bitesize Business Breakthrough
Good Strategy For Your Firm
Bitesize Business Breakthrough
Lead Your Firm With Purpose
Paul Shrimpling: [00:00:00] This is podcast two of five of the ACCA Strategy Series. Welcome to the Humanise 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 firm’s results.
Glyn Davison: [00:00:24] With me, it makes my job as MD much easier to be able to consistently use the same terms and the same words and even the strategic goals can sit underneath them. So you've got vision, mission, strategic goals, consistently everyone talking about them, and that's a sign for me. If my team are doing that, if my team is saying that, if my team are behaving in line with those, I know that I've got that message across.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:00:50] What does an accountancy firm do to make strategy really come to life in their firm? Well, on this podcast, you'll hear Glyn, Phil and Gareth, from two different accounting firms, talk about, instead of a marketing strapline for strategy, they've worked out what has to happen in their firms so that their vision, their purpose, their values really come to life, so it means something, it isn't corporate BS. It's actually happening in their firm. They're living it.
Glyn Davison: [00:01:22] Hi, our firm is Harlands Accountants and my name is Glyn Davidson. My role is managing director and I've been with the firm since 1992, which is a long time. What I do now is run the firm and focus predominantly on strategy, execution of our strategy, as well as have my own client portfolio into key sectors, really, manufacturing and professional services.
And the big focus over the last few years has been all around our culture, which is a nice segue way into Phil.
Phil Murray: [00:01:56] So my name's Phil Murray, I'm commercial and cultural director of Harlands. Our aim is to help build better businesses across the UK, by constantly evolving the role and perception of what accountants do, and delighted to be able to talk a bit more about that today. My particular role is I have a bank of clients that I work with, high growth businesses, and work with them on strategy and taking control of their finances. But also my specific role in the business is implementing and developing our strategy, in particular, linked to winning the right type of businesses and bringing the right type of people in, and that culture, vision and mission are critical to that piece.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:02:39] Brilliant. Thanks, Phil. And I'll want to dive into definition of culture shortly, because what the heck does that mean? It's a question that a lot of firms ask. So Gareth, please, if you would give us your background and a little bit about your firm.
Gareth Pinder: [00:02:53] Yep. My name is Gareth Pinder and I'm the practice manager of Griffiths and James Accountants, which is based in Cwmbran. Griffiths and James is part of the Parker and Co group, which is an expanding accountancy practice where we intend to, we've got another few practices lined up to acquire within the next year. So my main role is to manage the Griffith and James firm, and it's also the transition between when we buy practices and bring them on board to try and align the whole group.
As well as the day job, it’s challenging, but that's my role in a nutshell.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:03:32] Well, it's interesting. It sounds like you've all got the day job. Which bit of it is the day job? Is it the culture piece or the strategy piece or is it the portfolio of clients? And Gareth, is it running Griffiths and James, or is it the transition piece?
So I'd like to start there. What's your definition of day job, Gareth?
Gareth Pinder: [00:03:51] At the moment it's everything, to be honest. Yeah. So when we, when we acquired this practice, there was three accountants working here, including the owner. But as soon as they, the other accountants heard that they were acquiring it, they left.
So at the moment, it's just me. And like speaking to Glyn earlier, just about sort of trying to get staff members and, at the moment, hiring, it's a challenging thing. But my role at the moment is the day job, doing the accounts, speaking to clients, but also ensuring that Griffith and James is becoming in line with Parker and Co and making sure all the processes and everything is the same, how we deal with clients and everything.
It's a stressful time.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:04:40] Exactly. It sounds like you've got your hands full. It does. But it's interesting. You signpost the, you know, there's that process management bit as well as the people management bit, there's the people development and the process development bit, and then there's the strategy that's laid on top of that, or underneath that, depending on how you want to look at it. But let's just get to Phil. I'll come back to you in a second, Gareth. So Phil, day job, which one?
Phil Murray: [00:05:03] Yeah, flitting, probably like most people in practice, it varies, but the aim is to try and split it up between, as best possible, leadership management.
So supporting, coaching the team in particular to get better and to deliver on the results. And then it's, you know, supporting clients to take control of their finances, spot good opportunities, have really good conversations. And then similar to what we've talked about before, you know, then at the moment we're looking at bringing the right type of people in.
So talking to really good accountants, advisors about potentially joining our firms so that we can grow. So it is varied. It's good fun. It's challenging. And you've got to wear the different hats depending on kind of who you're talking to and the key aims of that conversation.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:05:55] And I know we're not yet talking about vision, but I do think there's the, you know, there's the practical implementation of strategy. You know, you've got to apply dedicated time. How do you actually break the time down? You know, if you look at a working week, is it just all mixed in, Phil, or is it, you know, have you got blocks of time for blocks of work? What's your approach?
Phil Murray: [00:06:17] Yeah, I've tried, where best possible, you know, I wouldn't say I've nailed it, Paul, but to have some dedicated time, depending on the day. I think that COVID has forced me to do that, if I'm completely honest with you. So making sure there’s dedicated time in for one-to-ones with the team is a must for me.
That's first, and first in my diary is making sure that I've got those. I know when they're going to be in, I can prepare. Then making sure there's dedicated time for existing clients and then any new client conversations as well. So, where possible, Paul, having it scheduled. My diary is really important to me and it tells me exactly what I'm doing personally and in business.
But also having some flex, that's also been really important because we know that in practice you'll get sideswiped or there'll be some element of [ ]. But we’re really passionate about the seven habits.
Paul Shrimpling: From Steven Covey?
Phil Murray: [00:07:13] Yeah, absolutely. You know, trying where possible to be in the top right around planning, coaching, developing has been a real thing that Glyn's been trying to get us to do and he's trying to do personally, and that I've taken as a real responsibility for myself to make sure that the managers are trying to do the same. We're not experts and we're not saying we've nailed it, Paul, but we talk about it a lot,
Paul Shrimpling: [00:07:33] But I guess, Phil, if you’re actually applying time to it as well, you’re doing stuff about it as well. Glyn, what's your day job versus strategy job, where does it lie for you?
Glyn Davison: [00:07:48] Again, similarly I think, having worked in professional services in the firm and progressed to running it for a number of years, as well as having a number of clients in this sector, I do think professional services is a little unique because it is client time with senior people that pays a lot of the bills.
So, yeah, being realistic, trying to move those relationships has been the toughest challenge for us as a firm. Where Gareth is now, once you have done someone's accounts and engage with them around it, it's really hard, especially if you're good, to pass that onto someone else, because they actually want to deal with you, rather than anyone else.
Paul Shrimpling: Have you found it to be relatively easy then, Glyn?
Glyn Davison: No.
Paul Shrimpling: That was me being glib and funny.
Glyn Davison: [00:08:39] The biggest problem is, I actually love that part of my job. And again, yeah, whether I see that as a problem or not, I don't see it as a problem. Maybe it did in the past, I don't now.
I actually want to do what I love because it comes natural. The challenge is therefore how much time can you make sure every week you're putting in to the role that is the most important for the firms [xxxx]. And there's a few things along the years that have really stuck in my mind. If you don't do those things as managing director, then who else is going to do them?
The answer is no one. You have to devote time, and the way I do that is priorities. I always prioritize every week and I will mix those priorities. I will have some client ones and there will be some weeks where majority of my priorities are client led, but there will always be some managing director type tasks that I'm working on in a week.
And I'll prioritize those every week and also have looked at how that factors monthly, quarterly in terms of where we're heading. And probably one thing in that, that we did that has been successful is set some clear strategic goals that we stick towards. That gives you a basis of what your tasks are around driving towards those and trying to get some movement every week towards them. We’ve been very clear on that and much better on that over the last two or three years, and it's worked well. So it gives the guys some framework to work and be clear about what is it that those that, you like, the question you asked, what are those things you do every week that actually are about strategy and culture and all those leadership bits. They're hard to define. So you've got to break down and those goals have been fairly influential.
So they're a big part of my thinking and my priorities every week, as well as accepting and enjoying the client role that I've got and looking to move those relationships on to capable people over a period of time. That's how it sits at the moment.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:10:22] And it is a time piece. I work with firms who have got, you know, senior partners, senior owners who are, you know, two or three years away from retiring.
And if they've got two or three years, you can transition a relationship reasonably successfully to someone else, as long as that person is of a reasonable calibre and has got the right processes and frameworks that they're working to. If you’re leaving it to, if you want to do it in six months, then you're making a rod for your own back, which will backfire in terms of lost clients, ultimately.
But what I love about what you just said there in terms of the nitty gritty detail, Glyn, is this weekly approach. There's some time every week without fail, that's applied to the managing director, strategic or cultural, if that’s your perspective, Phil. Gareth, have you got that sense so that you add allocating dedicated time to the strategy stuff, to the vision stuff, to the incorporating this firm into the bigger firm?
Gareth Pinder: [00:11:20] Yeah, it's difficult to do. It’s something that I'm very aware of that needs to be done, to be honest. The thing is, the strategy, for me, it has to change all the time because if you want to keep on board with how the clients are, especially in this sort of practice, where, in terms of like, by acquiring a practice in a pandemic, it's probably not the best time to be doing it. And it's been a real difficult sort of situation to sort of get clients on board, to be honest, to buy in to the whole ethos of the Parker and Co, because that's what I'm trying to deliver, to be honest.
So the strategy for me, I suppose, on a client basis has to change because I've changed a few times, to be honest, how I think I'm going to approach clients and clients in Newport, which is where the practice is. In Newport it’s different to Cwmbran completely. I mean, this is a new sort of position for me and maybe in a naïve….
Paul Shrimpling: You’re finding your feet a little by the sound of it.
Gareth Pinder: [00:12:21] Yeah. I’m finding my feet, definitely. And maybe a little bit of naivety, sort of assuming that what it was like, you could use one trick for all sorts of thing, but it's not that, is it? Like I have to dedicate time every week definitely to the strategy and how we're moving forward. And we've changed things around so much here all the time.
And trying to, sometimes when you're working with like a managing director, the vision that I may have might not be that what they're expecting and it's a challenging conversation you have to have, isn't it. But…
Paul Shrimpling: [00:12:53] Absolutely. And if it's a moving target as well, Gareth, and that can now undermine the motivation and drive of the of the team, including your good self.
So. Glyn, let's go to, and Gareth’s teed that up lovely, you mentioned goals of your team, goals of your people, but the goals of the firm that we would class as the vision of the firm, how clear is that to you and your team?
Glyn Davison: [00:13:22] Yeah, it's been a big part of the last three, four years, in reality, because your point, Gareth, is valid.
If you are not clear on exactly, as the managing director, if you cannot articulate where we're going very quickly and very concisely and get that down to everyone who's got a job of moving it forward, then they don't know what they're moving forward towards. So it's a real change once we've, and again, vision and mission are hard, because what you want is something simple, but actually you've got to go through the detail and a real soul search into actually creating for the firm what do you stand for, what is important? What are you doing? Where are you going? That isn't as easy as it sounds. And a lot of people talk about that, and that took me personally, as well as us as a team, a long time to drill down to something.
And again, a few people said to me, stuff that sticks, so you want it to be there forever. And I felt at first it was quite a lot of pressure, but it's bang on because you have to get it right, so it doesn't change. If your vision and mission change every year, you've got no chance. You will flounder.
You will move all over the place. So you've got to nail those things. It was really hard to do. It's not simple. It's got to actually resonate and we have that now, it sits really well with me. It makes my job as MD much easier to be able to consistently use the same terms and the same words, and even the strategic goals can sit underneath them. So you've got vision, mission, strategic goals, consistently everyone talking about them. And that's a sign for me if my team are doing that, if my team are saying that, if my team are behaving in line with those, I know that I've got that message across, but that's only come over the last three or four years.
Prior to that, sometimes you'd look back and say what the hell were we doing? I don't even know what I was doing, but again, it causes confusion. And exactly what you're saying is that you don't realize that at the time, how important it is. And you do have people like Paul saying, you really need to nail this, and you go, yes, I know Paul, but I've got this bandwidth to do.
And then, that's the point. So how do you nail your vision and mission? I can't answer that question and, but we've done it. And it's been a fundamental building block in terms of moving forward. I know we can take the firm further now that we have this, and I know those things won't change.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:15:39] So you're making it sound very hard for anyone listening to this.
It just sounds like that's way, way too much like hard work for me. But what, so what's the payoff? Phil, how would you respond to that? I'm conscious because you connected with the culture piece. That's why I'm looking for a, you know, a piece here. Where's the payoff for getting clarity on vision?
Phil Murray: [00:16:00] It's massive, Paul, and we've talked a little bit about the kind of that journey that we've been on. So we did a buyout 10, 11 years ago. A couple of years after we were, we're kind of like, right, we're ready to go and win some clients, let's go and market, come on. And then we were stopped in our tracks, actually, and said, well, what's your why?
You know, what's your brand about? And we went, well, we've got a logo, thanks very much. And a strap line that said achieving your goals. And then again, we were stopped. But what about your why, you know, who you're looking for? What's the key parts here? And we were taken on a really good journey about vision, mission, core values, which, as Glyn’s alluded to, has been massive because it gives clarity on two key parts.
One, you know, from a team point of view and culture, it helps you align your core values, where you're looking to go with your team. And if that fits, fantastic, they come along and they can be part of some of the words and some of the way in which you're kind of developing the culture, which has them feeling accountable and responsible and feel a real purpose around what they're doing. Building a better business was a big thing for us, you know, that everyone really resonated well, because it's something that we do every day.
So from a people point of view, that was great with existing people, but also as importantly, with anybody new coming in, how do you differentiate in a professional services business? Well, that was big for us, being able to actually articulate our culture and someone being able to resonate that that's a culture that they believe in about building businesses and evolving the role of what accountants do. This has meant that actually we're having fantastic conversations with people that, let's be clear, we probably wouldn't been able to have with before. They wouldn't have known about us, and if they did, they’ll have looked and gone, oh well, they’re a firm up in County Durham and, okay, lovely people, but not sure if that fits for me. So more recently we've been able to bring in some absolutely awesome people that we would have, I'm clear on this, we would never have been able to, without this culture and the vision and the mission and strategy we’ve created.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:18:07] Are you talking clients there, Phil?
Phil Murray: [00:18:09] I'm talking both. I’m talking right team members, and then at the same time point, Paul, with my commercial hat on, originally it was jack-of-all-trades, let’s go and kind of weigh in on whatever business we want to and let's win.
But actually what's happened is, we found a couple of years after we were really clear on our vision, mission, purpose and the strategy that actually the people that were coming through our door from a client perspective were more of the right type of clients. So the payoff of that was we were having much better conversations with businesses that definitely we could help.
And then also the payoff from that was that the average client value grew substantially because we were able to actually win clients who needed our services, not just compliance, but advisory, which is where we were looking to drive. So the two key payoffs for us were both in terms of people and getting buy in from existing and bringing some quality in and working with some absolutely awesome clients that, again, I don't think we would have been able to, without a really clear vision, mission and strategy.
Glyn Davison: [00:19:12] Can I just add on that, Paul, just referencing Phil’s two points there. So on people, we built and revisited our recruitment process over the last 18 months, and we were able to do that using our core values, what we stand for, our vision and mission.
I don't need to be involved in that in any massive detail because I know the framework is set. So the questions we ask, the process we follow, the system for recruitment, is tied into what we stand for. That's why we've been able to bring in people that match what we want, culturally, moving forward. And on the client side, it's the same.
Our sales process can be built off the back of those building blocks of vision, mission, core values. So we build systems off the back of those building blocks. But if you haven't got those building blocks clear enough, you get decent systems, but they don't necessarily all follow the same principles at the top.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:20:06] And they’ll take you where you want to go.
Glyn Davison: [00:20:08] Yeah. Oh, they do. But not as far as if you've got those building blocks nailed on, so it’s faster.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:20:15] Yeah, but I think, I'm just wondering, if there's a bit that's missing there, gents, which is this piece about when you've got clarity on, as you call, you know, values, vision, mission and sense of purpose, it enables you to work out clearly who you don't want to work with.
It's the decisions about who you choose not to work with that almost matter more than the ones that you choose to work with, isn't it or have I got that wrong?
Glyn Davison: [00:20:40] No, you're right. We created, again, we like terminology, well I do, because then I can see that if people are using it, they understand.
So we used a red flag system. So we red flag clients that don't take advisory services from us. That's what we did. We went through the client base and said, right, are there any clients that don't pay for an advisory service line? We defined what our advisory service lines were and we identified a number of clients that don't take advisory services.
We went to them and said, moving forward this year, this is the new package. The minimum package that we offer is this, which we would be delighted if joined up to. If that's not for you, we'll find you another accountant who will fit what you want, because we are about advisory.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:21:25] So you've actually built a process for exiting clients that don't fit your vision, your values, your purpose, your mission.
Glyn Davison: Yeah, exactly.
Paul Shrimpling: Brilliant.
Glyn Davison: [00:21:35] And the team really liked that too because they felt that that was a way of dealing with those clients that are been around a long time, but not really great to deal with.
Gareth Pinder: [00:21:50] Can I ask you guys a question? So you guys, you seem like you're obviously invested quite heavily in the whole vision and the firm. And I think where we are as a practice, we're very much at the earliest stage and making sure we cement the foundation of the vision and that. I mean, you guys, you sound like you're way ahead and like, it's nice to hear you talking about it, to be honest.
What sort of challenges did you have with staff members and that, cause you mentioned that you acquired a practice, didn't you? When you integrated the two of them together, what sort of challenges did you come up with and how did you overcome them? Because it's something I'm finding at the moment and it would be good to get somebody else's viewpoints on it, to be honest, how you overcome the challenges.
Glyn Davison: [00:22:35] I'll pick one off first, then I'll let Phil talk. For me, people, not just on integration, but people in general, the further up the organization, the more important. You've got to get real depth on how those individuals behave, how they're built. That would be my real advice.
That's a real challenge. And for myself, I'm quite a, I tend to see the best in people. And again, understanding yourself is important, which I, I adore that about myself, but it can mask where something may not be right. You want to see the best. You don't want to see the bits that maybe aren't right. So I would say go down that route, make sure that you…for me, it was building a team and one of the key changes was putting Phil into a more people facing role so that I could get better clarity on our people to be able to make the right decisions, because if you're going to grow and move forward, those at the top of the ones who are going to do it.
So you're going to integrate and bring a practice on board – who are the senior people? Get inside them, know them. Are they aligned with where you're going? Are they the type of people who really want to do that for their own reasons? Not for yours, for theirs. So that's a big challenge and still is. And still is.
I've made hundreds of mistakes in terms of people. And I still will, which is why we spent two years revisiting every single part of the people side of the business. Because I can't add 15, 20 people to this business, unless I know that they're going to behave in a way that is aligned with our values.
And we couldn't do that until we got much more depth on what does that mean? How does our systems evolve to be able to do that? And in the HR and the people side, it's a huge, huge area. It's totally underestimated. And I always felt, do things early while you're a smaller firm. If I do them now, I know we can add 20, 30 people and I'll get much more consistent behaviour. If I wait and get the 50 people and then start, it's a nightmare. It's impossible.
Gareth Pinder: [00:24:30] How did you ensure that these people sort of invested into your culture? Because they come in and I suppose it’s like two different cultures, isn't it? That they need to…
Glyn Davison: [00:24:41] Observation. Observe them closely. And I don't mean like follow them around in a stalking way. That would be weird. Human behaviour will give that away all day long. One, use some sort of personality profile and again, for your senior people. And align that with…, now we did some work with, what was what was it called, OPQ? Yeah, so we use a fairly bespoke one, but it's the HR guys that we use. But we then put the OPQ analysis together in a team format so we could see which skills that we were really strong in, which ones we weren't. One, develop those skills and also any changes to that team, make sure you're bringing in the skillset that fills the gaps. So I would say, and by that, I mean, observation, just, just be closer to exactly how people are built and watch behaviour, watch language, watch what they do, not what they say.
And build a team of people who are open to be able to challenge each other on that, which is not easy at all.
Gareth Pinder: [00:25:35] We've found difficulties between the two offices because this office, I think we're quite open and honest and have had a few discussions with people about change and that, but in the other office it’s a little bit more quiet, sort of eggshells or worried about standing on eggshells and stuff.
So it's interesting to see from your point of view, how you manage that.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:25:58] I'm working with a couple of firms at the minute who are trying to integrate firms and, you know, being crystal clear on the, and I know this podcast is meant to be about vision, and all of a sudden we're in that, how we do stuff value space, but they're also connected at the hip, aren't they anyway?
But it’s being clear on what the values of your firm are, and then you observe the language, the skill and the way people actually behave, which dictates whether they fit the values or not. If you're buying a firm, it's almost as if you haven't got any choice over the people that have come in with the firm and then we've got to work with some or all of them to get them to reflect your values. Not an easy job that, is it, Phil?
Phil Murray: [00:26:42] No, Paul, and answering one of your questions there, our biggest challenge and probably our biggest regret is not challenging that behaviour that didn't fit with our vision, mission and values earlier. You know, if we're really true to ourselves, we were really clear on vision, mission and purpose, but like Glyn's alluded to, we probably gave people second, third, fourth, fifth chances that they could change. And by not tackling that earlier, it's meant that our ability to move on and move faster has been tainted.
So I think being really true to yourself about, if it's looking like someone doesn't align, that's okay. And being open and honest and transparent upfront is better. That's something that we've learned over the last few years and we still don’t get it right.
But what’s recently been so true and especially further up the business because in particular, you know, you're going out and marketing this fantastic vision, mission and core values. If then actually you're not living and breathing it every day, then what's the point, you know. You're at risk of massively tainting your brand. You've spent so much time doing it, and then you bring in some brilliant people, whether it's clients or people and they go, well, that's not what I was sold, thanks very much. And you've spent so much time doing it and then tackling those behaviours. And like Glyn's alluded to, you know, observing, not kind of really looking at what people are doing rather than what people are saying with one-to-ones, you know, regular one-to-ones that really kind of ask good questions, listening to the team, doing 360 reviews, those things. It’s not just fluff, it actually makes a massive difference. But I tell you what, it bloody, it takes time. And you've got to dedicate that time and believe that that time is going to get you where you want to, which is where we've had some battles, in fairness.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:28:38] Yeah. And I, you know, what I'm hearing from both you, Gareth, in terms of your perspective, as well as, you know, Glyn and Phil's, is that this strategies piece, isn't something that you go, oh yeah, we'll deal with that.
And then, you know, 13 weeks later, it's sorted. That’s not how it works. What I'm also hearing there also is that, you know, having worked in the profession for the last 18 years is, everyone's really nice. And that accountability to the behavioural standards and values that you're setting is actually a real challenge.
But what you’re saying there, Phil, is it pays off. And it would pay off quicker if we were better at actually applying that accountability piece.
Phil Murray: [00:29:18] And actually, Paul, what we found is when, you know, we've built up this fact of going, I need to, I'm going to have to have a really tough conversation with someone about behaviours and those bits.
And actually once you've had it, one, you feel great because you've gone, well that, you know, it was based on values and is based what we're trying to do. And actually the team members that you're talking to fully appreciate it because you've been open and honest and upfront, and either that leads to potentially someone going that's great, I'm not actually the right fit here and we'll work together, or someone goes, I'm clear now you've not kind of danced around the handbags. You've been really, really clear with it. But again, the thought process of doing that and challenging somebody on behaviour is alien to us, especially as in the UK, you know, we're nice.
And we don't like to have those, but actually having them…
Paul Shrimpling: I think people are nice in other countries, Phil.
Phil Murray: [00:30:09] I meant it seems that we just find those, you know, we don't like to be a bit more kind of up front about kind of challenging situations. Because we think that conflict is a bad thing, but actually in the right way with a really good framework, like Glyn's alluded to, it doesn't then become personal or you can make sure it's not personal.
Glyn Davison: [00:30:27] Turning it more to fact-based conversations is something we've worked hard on. We want to be talking about facts, not judgment, judgements don't work. So again, back to systems, once you have some core values and you can define them, and that isn't easy, and again, something useful, Gareth, to think about is facilitating some of the harder stuff, so strategic goals and values.
We facilitated those sessions, so we bring people in to help facilitate that. And that's one way I've learned, I'll do that stuff. So if I've got a facilitator in, that's going to cost us some money, we've got some time set aside, they're going to help with the agenda. They're going to follow up the notes. Then it happens.
If it's left to me to organize that, then I've got 17 clients ringing the phone, going I need you for this and I'll say right, I’ll sort that first, then it doesn't happen. So facilitate key things like that. And then once you've got those things in place, it just makes it easier to build systems off the back of it, which is what Phil's talking about there. Performance reviews, one-to-ones, the conversations have a consistency to them about how are you behaving in line with our core values? And if you aren't, what are those examples? How can we bring an example to the party to say, right, you handled this this way. How do you think we could have handled that much more in line with our values, and people get that, it's much better. It's not a confrontational conversation. It's a fact-based conversation and it nudges people more towards the kind of behaviour and they understand, right, that's the type of behaviour they're looking for.
It just nudgles behaviour. It doesn't change it overnight.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:31:58] How do you resolve the, I'm going to refer to Michael Gerber, E-Myth Revisited, where he goes, there's a system failure, not a people failure, but what you're actually talking about there, Glyn, is there are people failures, and actually we need to be open and candid and have constructive conflict conversations.
Not rows, not fisticuffs. How do you square that circle, where actually Gerber would say, well, there isn't a people failure, there's just system failures.
Glyn Davison: [00:32:27] Yeah, I think there's a bit in the middle. I think, one, you do have to have systems and without doubt, Gerber's ethos changed my life.
I'm a logical person so immediately my head goes, this makes complete sense. However, still a person has to interpret that system. Doesn't matter how detailed it is, a person has to interpret it. So how that person's built will dictate and also their background and how they come together will determine how they execute that system.
So I think observation, just watching and talking, once something’s happened, sit down, have a conversation. You'll learn a lot from that, as will the person, if it's all about understanding. So if we asked 10 people to execute that system, I guarantee, it doesn't matter how detailed the system is, there will be differences in how they execute it.
Why? What are those differences? And if what we want is more consistent behaviour, but we want people to use their own personality, we don't want them to be robots, then you have to encourage your leadership team to go there, have those conversations, listen and encourage people to behave the way they do. But if it isn't in line with our values, understand why. Do they understand? Did they clearly understand? There will be stuff that happens, that hasn't happened before, so encourage more conversations about the behaviours you're looking for. And those behaviours sit underneath our core values and it starts with a good piece of work to be very clear on what values are, which again comes from, what are we trying to achieve?
Paul Shrimpling: [00:33:54] Well, I mean, I'm going to ask specifically what that is for Harland’s in a second, but I just want to turn to Gareth – how clear to you is the vision of the business that you're working in?
Gareth Pinder: [00:34:03] So the Parker & Co vision is pretty clear.
Paul Shrimpling: What is it?
Gareth Pinder: I mean, it's, it's pardon?
Paul Shrimpling: What is it?
Gareth Pinder: [00:34:17] It’s, the whole ethos is the adventure in business, isn't it? Which you've probably seen through the website. The actual, the full vision, and in terms of the strategy, I say it's clear, and it's a difficult one, really, because I'm, because I'm not in the Parker & Co, I’m very much here trying to mould everything into it. I suppose I'm out of it really. And maybe it's brought to the front that the vision actually might need to be a bit clearer.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:34:52] Well, let me ask a better question then. Let me ask a better question. Cause you've got a team that you’re the leader of. What's your vision for that team for that office?
Gareth Pinder: [00:35:02] So my vision for this team is basically we want to ensure that we provide the clients with the best service they can get, to be honest. That's the foundation of my vision for this firm trying to mould the clients.
So if I say mould them, I mean bring them in line with the Parker & Co ethos is essential, which is the whole sort of adventure in business. We want to make sure that the clients are completely happy, that's what I need to do at the moment, to be honest. I haven't really had time to look at the future vision cause we're in the middle of a pandemic. It is difficult and not having, it's slightly strange, not having face to face contacts with clients because you're a face to face service, aren't you, you see clients face-to-face, that's where you to go meetings and stuff. And I think on Tuesday next week, I've got my, maybe my second meeting with a client, so it is very difficult and it's something we need to cement in a bit more detail, I think, isthe whole vision.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:36:07] What you flag up brilliantly there, Gareth, is
there are really lumpy issues, difficulties that we face in, you know, COVID, pandemic, you know, new office, new team come in. There's those things that are happening, and I would argue, and I'd like Phil's views on this, that it doesn't matter what moment in time you choose, there's always going to be some, what looks like to use your reference, Gareth, a mountain in the way of you getting absolute clarity over your vision, your values, your mission. Phil, I'm trying to get Phil to read into what Gareth has just shared there. What are your thoughts?
Phil Murray: [00:36:44] Yeah. You know that if we go back to when we were originally pressed on vision and mission, like the thought of having to wait a period of time before we were going to go and market the hell out of our business and win more clients, which is alien to me, you know, I'm going to miss some opportunities. But actually going back to it, it is critical in particular, even more so over the last year in COVID, having a clear purpose and vision and mission made it much easier for us to articulate to our team and our clients what we're trying to achieve.
And it might be that actually in this, in this next kind of 12 months, it's less about, you know, kind of growing and kind of driving cause nobody knows, but actually it's still about building better businesses. It just might mean that that's not necessarily for every business growing turnover and profit, it might be becoming more agile, you know, and in terms of evolving the role and perception of accountants right now that is different to where it was last year and the year before.
But Glyn's alluded to it, you know, your vision and mission won't change, your tactics and potentially what those key objectives and goals are, will, because that will depend on where you're at as a business and where you're going. But yeah, I think it's something that we also talk to other clients about is that it's always, whether we like it or not, strategy, people development, it's usually the thing that goes to the bottom of the list.
Well, actually I tell a lie, for clients actually it's sometimes, it's a lot of the time, it's finance control, of course as well. But that's why we're in business, but usually it's the stuff that happens last because we think it's less important, but actually it needs to be turned on its head. It's the stuff that has to happen, that should be first on your priorities, because if not, you'll be setting off on a journey without any idea on where you're going, and you might get there. Great. But actually, if you set off with a clear map, a clear indication of where you're going, you've got a much better chance of getting there.
It won't be dead easy. There will be ups and downs, but actually that is massive to me in my role. And to be able to articulate to my team, makes it easier for me to do my job, I believe.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:38:48] You don't set off to wander up and around a mountain, you know exactly where the top of the mountain is in terms of the map and you choose your tactics to get up the mountain.
Phil Murray: [00:39:01] And you've checked the weather beforehand and you've kind of made sure that in your backpack, that, that's the whole bit, but actually go and we know we're going to get there, how we'd like to get there would be having fun and with your friends and stuff like that and that’s where the vision and mission comes and then the tactical. Absolutely.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:39:14] Yeah. So where's Harland’s going then, Glyn?
Glyn Davison: [00:39:18] Again, our vision and mission won't change at the end of the day. We, to drill those down again, there is a bit of branding work here, what Phil's touched on here, I would suggest that Gareth think about, and any firm looking to pin down vision and mission. Given that one of my skill sets is I’m very logical and that's why I'm good at being an accountant; the creative aspect, I have to work hard on to bring others in to do that. So our vision and mission won't change and it drives everything we do, how we apply it, where we go, it will change. But in terms of in terms of vision, helping clients everywhere build a better business, every single word of that in my mind means, and the one that I'm focused on at the moment, is everywhere. So we were a local firm. Most of our clients were built up locally around the Northeast. But ‘everywhere’ takes us into a different ballgame. And we've been working on this over the last couple of years. I see that as an extension. So how do we build everything around servicing a client, advising a client, so that we don't have to be physically on site, so that we have a team that's wherever.
It brings all of those things in and constantly evolving in the role and perception of accountant, which is our mission at the moment. Again, there you go, COVID has brought in this flexible working. And for me, that flexible working means that we can work from anywhere. The office environment, where does that start to feature? And also, what do we do for our clients? Over the last year I've had more conversations than I ever have had that are not anything about business, nothing. The leader of a business wants to talk to me and I also want to talk to them about how they're handling things. How are you? What are you feeling?
So I see that as a feature over the next couple of years. How do you plan that in? What are you going to put in your time sheet, if you're still measuring time sheets? They're irrelevant. It's how do we train our team, build our team, to be able to deal with that and make revenue from that and get real good feedback from those clients and help them build a better business.
That helping build a better business, you have a conversation, and I've had many, for half an hour with someone who mentions nothing about what we do for them. All they want is someone they trust and respect to be able to go [xxx] and they feel better and they're more effective to be able to go run their business. So I see that as a feature over the next couple of years and not just for me, for my whole team. I'd want to be able to build skills and our team, particularly in our advisory team, where that becomes the norm.
That's what we do, and we’re comfortable with it.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:41:52] Yeah, so Glyn, one of my challenges in and around this vision piece is, I get the, you know, core purpose or mission, and we can argue over the semantic labels, but you know, build a better business. But for me, a vision has got numbers attached to it as well, you know, in terms of how many offices, how many clients, how many team members, you know, fees or profit per full-time employee and so forth.
How have you built that out? Because where I want to take this conversation is to, cause then what we want to do is every quarter, every 13 weeks, is have a, you know, a significant strategic win. Because we hit a particular milestone in a 13 week period, which is sort of what Google and Intel do around their concept called OKR, objectives and key results every quarter.
So what about the numbers? Cause you guys are accountants, we’re going to have a vision which has got numbers attached to it, don’t we?
Glyn Davison: [00:42:40] Yep, we do. So the key numbers and the key drivers for us and one of the strategic goals we set was in terms of turnover, so being the largest independent firm in the Northeast by turnover.
So we do measure turnover fairly well. Also gross profit. We want to be in top 25 nationally. So benchmark against other accounting firms to make sure our GP is top quarter. So those themselves strategically won't change – how we do that and how we make that up, there's a whole load of other metrics underneath that.
And the other key one. So if we want to help build better businesses, how do you measure that? We measure it counting GVA, gross value add. So if you actually look at our client base, add up their GVA, and then monitor the growth in that, year on year, so every time we draw up a set of year-end accounts, then we add a metric, which means we can work out what their GVA growth is, what our client base is, we have to be above local and national averages because then we can say we're doing that, we're helping you build a better business, and this is how we're measuring it. We're using GVA. So those for me are key, as well as to less quantitative, but feedback led, customer service led, how do your clients feel?
So we use net promoter and we use a net promoter for how our team feel. Those are the main metrics that we measure on a regular basis. And Phil delivers a debrief and a communication of those KPIs every month. So we share them all with the team, we go through them with the team and we help them understand what do those mean. When we haven't done so well, we talk about why, where we've done brilliantly, we give some examples. So that's what underpins them. And again, we chose those metrics too, off the back of having the building blocks of the vision and the mission in place and some strategic goals, which I've referenced. So it does cascade through.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:44:25] Yeah. Gareth, I'm just wondering if you've got a question for Phil or Glyn around what they just shared on those numbers.
Gareth Pinder: [00:44:30] It's difficult because you guys, you're obviously very, very led into the strategy of your practice, which is, you know, just from my point of view, it's amazing to hear, to be honest. And I’m going to take away a lot from this. So how long has it taken you guys to solidify this into your management structure, because like, this is something which like, you know, I'm listening to, and I'm thinking, God, these guys actually, they've done a lot of work into this and I'm literally, I don't even think I'm on the first rung, to be honest, that's the way you are.
But how long does it, you obviously invested a lot of time, but how long did it take you to sort of get to the point and think, yeah, we’re at a good place now? We're here.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:45:19] Can I change that question very slightly? Phil, answer the question, but also answer the question, not just how long has it taken, but how much time and effort every week or every month does it take?
Phil Murray: [00:45:30] Yeah. So it's still happening, you know, we're still not there. We sometimes were excellent and therefore, the biggest challenge for us is consistency. And making sure, as you've alluded to, that the management team continue to do the things that we want them to do, and that they want to do to ensure that that's kind of just front and centre.
So to give you an idea from a timescale point of view, though, so we bought the business 10 years ago, we then did a rebrand of it two years after that that helped more from a commercial point of view, if I'm honest, at that particular time. Then we had another few years of kind of commercially starting to enact that plan.
Then Glyn's alluded to about two or three years ago, the big aha moment around the vision and mission and integrating with our business was our people plan. And that's taken probably a couple of years, two and a bit years, for it to fully be implemented. And what I mean by that, we've done lots of work around processes and bringing in, then making sure that the management team believe in it and integrate it is our current biggest challenge in all honesty.
You know, it's all right saying it and it's that, you know, but it's believing it. And it's making sure that the managers that you've got believe in it and the managers you're bringing in believe that it's the right thing to do. And in terms of how much time on a day by day or week by week basis, to give you an indication of the type of stuff that we're doing, so Glyn's alluded to it, monthly KPIs, sharing that with the team. We also have as a leadership team, as well as individual teams, regular huddles. So you're talking like a couple of a couple of times a week dropping in huddles, talking about KPIs, talking about the key things. Again, I'm not saying we've aced it.
You know, it's consistently, we need to get better at it. And fortnightly one-to-ones, fortnightly, or at the very, very least monthly one-to-ones, where you're talking about people development and you're not talking about client related stuff. You're talking about what matters to that individual, where are they moving towards, where's their development moving, and really focusing on the KPIs on those bits.
Gareth Pinder: [00:47:47] Is that something you do [xxxxxx] every month? Do you have a meet with your employees every week? Is it that regularly? Because I'm used to having like a six monthly meet or something like that, but you guys are really, really on top of it then, with your employees.
Glyn Davison: [00:48:02] So for me, I want to see momentum more regularly. If it's every six months that that happened, what happens if in that six month periods nothing's happened, you get there and say, oh, I've had a bad six months. You've lost six months, so I want to see that we’re moving those things forward regularly as a team.
And it does depend on the size of your team, because we still have a relatively small management team and that's been the issue. We've had managers, who've said we're doing this, but they don't really understand how to carry out a one to one conversation to move a TNA forward. How would they, if they're inexperienced managers, so we've had to evolve and we're still evolving.
Phil Murray: [00:48:36] And if I can add a little bit around that, Paul and Gareth, it's around the Gallup 12, there's 12 questions effectively around, you know, having an engaged team and all the stats tell us that an engaged team tells us that like profitability, productivity improves, but there's a core number. There's a core number of questions.
And one is around, you know, where your role fits. So role portraits, KPIs, are critical to that. And regular positive interaction and recognition weekly, it says, which is crazy when you think about it. You know, when you're talking about six monthly performance reviews, you know, it's the traditional stuff.
All the stats say that you should be having positive recognition and regular conversations with your team about what's worked really well. And not just, you've done a good job this week. It' has to be really specific. Like, that report was fantastic, because, because, because. And if you do that, it builds a fantastically engaged team.
And again, one of the other core ones is that having a manager that cares about me and my business, you can't do that if you're just talking to them about their personal development every six months, that's just crazy. You know, it has to be regular. And it doesn't have to be too formal either. That's the thing that people fall down on – I have a checklist and I've got to do it.
You've got to capture key actions, don't get me wrong. But giving a damn about your team is like, it's just listening. It's about asking good questions and stepping back to say, why am I listening? And again, I sound like we're awesome at this. We're trying, and we're doing our best. It's a consistency bit now. And doing it regularly is where we’re trying to get to.
Glyn Davison: [00:50:11] [xxxxxxx] And then when you get down to, and again, that's observation from me learning how important observation is. We've only got 20 odd people. So it's not that hard to actually have a conversation with somebody who's had some one-to-one and has a TNA just to kind of pick up.
Is that being handled right? Are they moving in the right direction? And that's what I've got better at it, because … everyone's saying they're doing these things, I can see them happening, but no, we're not, not moving where we should do. So what's going wrong? Getting some upward comms and trust.
Psychological safety is another aspect, people need to feel safe, that they can say stuff. And that's where we've had some troubles, and then, you know, well, I know where the challenges are, it's our management there. If the people aren’t safe to say it, they won’t, or they'll say some stuff later.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:51:02] Yeah, that's brilliant because if you're having, even if it was quarterly appraisals, you're not going to get that, you know, sense of psychological safety being open. But if you're having weekly or fortnightly one to ones, they'll get that you're serious about having an open, candid conflict conversation that actually helps them drive forward.
Glyn Davison: [00:51:20] That's been the key. Cause you can set these things out and people do see, put stickers and whatever you want on the wall, it's your actions that everyone will watch. So if you don't follow that through every single day, and that's where we haven't been strong enough, Phil and I, and that's … we’re back at the client stuff.
Yeah, in my own mind it’s well, I can't, I can't do all that kind of stuff and all that. If you're in that manager director role, then you have to walk the talk.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:51:49] Blocks of time for blocks of work has got it. And what's lovely from this conversation is every week without fail, there's a block of time that gets applied to, whether it be a vision piece or a values piece or whatever it is strategically, you know, we're talking vision and, you know, quarterly priorities here.
And I just want to flag up the, you know, objectives and key results is, as you know, a John Doerr piece from his lessons at Intel, which was a massive contributor to Intel being brilliantly successful. And then he walked into Google, shared it with Google. They said, oh yeah, we'll run with that.
And so John Doerr bought 11% of Google stock when there was only 30 people in Google on the back of them saying, yes, let's do this. I think he probably did rather well out of that. And I've got two last questions. Can you have two last questions? That's an oxymoron. And I can't do that.
That's just, anyway, I've got two more questions. What's the strategic focus, the singular priority for your two respective firms at this moment? If there was one thing without fail you are going to do within this quarter, this 13-week window, what is it? How clear is it? And if you haven't got it and it's not clear, then let's have that conversation.
Glyn Davison: [00:53:04] We're building a new five-year strategic plan from 2022 to 2027. So that is in the pipeline. So making sure that we've got that in focus would be where I am. But if you ask me for in the next three months, what's the most important thing to progress, I would go back to what I've just referenced – the team, get the team all on one page.
You've got some people come back to the office, some working remotely, we need engagement. We need to be close to them. We need to be sure that everyone's clear what's happening because there’s a lot of change going on in our organization and new people are going to be coming in. So we need to be very, very close.
Again, make sure all of that. What we just talked about, one-to-ones, that's happening genuinely. I mean, that's my focus over the next three months.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:53:48] So very elegantly what you said is that we've got a strategic priority, which is build the 22 to 27 plan, and then tactically let's make sure all our team are fully engaged with the way the business is now going to work going forward.
And we've got to get that working from home, working from the office balance and blend work in brilliantly Gareth, what's your without fail singular strategic focus for this quarter. It's a swine of a question, isn’t it?
Gareth Pinder: [00:54:11] No, no. For this quarter, it's literally, we've had a lot of changes in terms of the practice that was acquired, plus the IT infrastructure has completely changed. The Newport office has literally just gone paperless, to be honest. So like they're literally really behind, so our strategic sort of goal at the moment, it's to making sure that we are one office, ultimately.
We’re one office, we are ready to move on and start getting to the place where Paul and Phil are, to be honest, to build upon. We need to cement the foundations before we start moving on, to be honest, that's our next call to go on. And then we're going to look, we'll look forward to the growth..
Paul Shrimpling: [00:54:50] Yeah. Cause priority is a singular reference. You know, people say I've got three priorities. No, no, no. What's your one without fail priority. A really good question. So last question to you, Glyn, people are listening and saying yeah, I get this strategic stuff. Vision. Yes. Values. Yes.
Purpose, mission. Yes. A team engagement. Yes. You've already acknowledged you made lots of mistakes. If you were to do it again, where would you start? What's the step one, step two, maybe step three, starting points based on all the, if I can colloquially call them, cockups.
Glyn Davison: [00:55:23] Yeah. I would say pinning down the mission and vision earlier, I could have done that. That would have been, we would have been further on if we’d done that.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:55:38] How do you know that then, Phil? Sorry, Glyn, how do you know that?
Glyn Davison: [00:55:41] Because we're now after the event. So there was no reason why I couldn't have done that earlier if I'd made the time and brought the right people in to facilitate that, we would have, I know that we would have moved faster than we have.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:55:57] So what stopped you seeing that as the priority at that time, because that's where people who are listening into this are going to be focused. What stopped you seeing it?
Glyn Davison: [00:56:01] Clients. We bought the practice in 2011. We had to keep all the clients, some of the relationships weren't with us. We had to build those relationships. We had debt, we had a business to run. You've got to keep the clients. So that's the honesty. And, but we did that for a couple of years. And at that point is when we should have nailed the mission and vision and we didn't, we left it a bit longer and we stumbled across it through brand and looking back.
Sometimes it's the big things, it's the calls you make. And when you make them, I don't regret anything we've done at all, because we've learned a load. But if I'd done that earlier, we definitely could have grown faster.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:56:35] Glyn, do you think you could really have invested half a day, a week in the mission vision earlier?
Glyn Davison: [00:56:43] Yes. I could have. Whether I could have seen that yet ... I'm a big believer in a time and a place. Sometimes you're not ready and it was just, I wasn't quite ready, but that's just me. If a different leader and different person had been in this business and they'd done that then, this business would have grown faster, I know that. But you learn. I don't beat myself up over it. I also understand that where I am now, I only know very little. So just try and watch for those big things that maybe I might not be missing and get other input on that. I do that all the time and look at bigger firms that have gone through this and talk to people who've been there and done it.
I'm a big fan of that. Keep them around the business, definitely. Talk to people who've been there and done it. They will, they will help get there faster.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:57:31] Learn from others, which I guess is the purpose of this podcast series as well, isn't it? So last question, definitely, to all three of you, what's been of most value in this conversation today?
What is it that you look at it and go, oh right, that's stood out for me, that's going to help me? Gareth, how would you answer that.
Gareth Pinder: [00:57:44] For me, it's just listening to Phil and Glyn, they obviously have gone through it all before. And I'm really, really glad that I've come to this podcast because it's been such a valuable experience for me, listening to you guys and I’ve been making notes on the side, if you haven't noticed anything.
So I'm going to take a lot away from you guys. So thank you very much.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:58:09] I'm going to push you on that. So if there was one thing you’re physically going to do as a consequence of what you've discovered today, Gareth, what is it?
Gareth Pinder: [00:58:15] Vision, build the vision, build the purpose of where we're going and stuff.
Definitely. Cause I think that's from what you just said, Glyn, that is the main focus of what you would have done earlier, isn't it? And to be honest, I think that's something that we need to do definitely to make sure that we can move forward.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:58:30] How much diary time are you going to allocate to that then, Gareth?
Gareth Pinder: [00:58:33] As much as I can at the moment, at least half a day. Like you say, though, it is difficult, isn't it, like you've got to build these relationships and I haven't met some of these clients, so now moving forward out of the pandemic I'm gonna have a lot more meetings, but I definitely gonna, at least at least half a day a week, I think is what, what I'm going to need to. I'm going to invest in the employees as well, in the people as well, definitely more. Cause it's like, I see the benefits for sure.
Paul Shrimpling: [00:59:01] Well, you know, even if it was an hour a week Gareth, you'll get something out of that. And sometimes we can go wrong, but it makes sense, doesn't it, investing half a day, but when you're spinning so many plates, juggling so many balls, one high-quality hour a week can then earn you the place where you've got to two hours a week which now earns you to the place where you've got half a day a week.
And so you might want to, you know, manage your expectations a little bit, which if you think I'm damping you down, then just ignore me completely. But it makes a difference. Phil, what stood out to have been of most value to you, do you think in this conversation?
Phil Murray: [00:59:31] Reflecting, actually, it's always good to reflect on where you've come but also the big thing for me is our ability to do it consistently. We've got a big hundred days ahead with new people coming in, and it's just made me think about how it’s even more important just revisiting our systems on our induction processes of new people coming in to make sure that everything that I'm saying verbally is in there and that we're going to give our new team members the most awesome experience when they start.
Cause it is where it's let us down in the past, that's the element. We sell ourselves incredibly well, but you'll have heard Gareth, you know, we talk really passionately about it, doing it consistently, both in terms of people coming into our business and clients is something that I need to get my teeth into these next couple of months.
Paul Shrimpling: [01:00:23] Thanks, Phil. Glyn, what stood out as being of value for you today?
Glyn Davison: [01:00:27] I like Phil’s part about reflection. I was thinking that we're just talking through what we've been through and how we've been through it. And some of the key things have really been really useful from a confidence point of view. But the one thing I'll pin down is OKRs/KPIs were a little bit off where I would like us to be. Haven't thought about that. And you pushing us on those things. We've probably drifted on that because of our focus on people which has been good. We just need to not take our eye off those balls. Especially if we're transitioning into a new period of growth, we need to make sure we're still sharp on the stuff that we said we were going to do in those results. So that's the thing I'll take away and just think about – right, how are we going to sharpen those up and make sure we've got them as we want them to be.
Paul Shrimpling: [01:01:06] Yeah, brilliant. Brilliant. For me, it's been, this is a podcast about strategy, vision.
Okay. Ours and yes, but purpose, mission, values always shows you can't separate them all out. We've got to get clarity on all of them, but actually we've talked about weekly implementation. What do we do a little bit every week without fail in and around the strategic stuff, as well as the client care stuff and the team care stuff and so on. We can do a little bit on strategy every week without fail and we will build a momentum around that.
That's what stood out for me, brilliantly. Gentlemen, I really, really appreciate you investing your time and your energy today. And it's been a real joy for me and I thank you very, very much.,
Glyn Davison: [01:01:49] No problem, likewise Paul.
Paul Shrimpling: [01:01:52] You'll find more valuable discussions with the leaders of ambitious accounting firms at HumaniseTheNumbers.online. Go to the show notes for this podcast and click the link to get access to the full series on strategy for accountants. You can also sign up to be notified each time a new podcast is made available.
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