Building a great finance function needs a quality relationship.
Not a one-night stand.
To keep our promises to keep you legal, to help you reduce your stress, and to make accounting enjoyable, we need to be working together as a team.
That takes effort.
GREAT RELATIONSHIPS NEED GOOD COMMUNICATION
Whoever “they” are, they say that good communication is key to building great relationships.
And in this day and age communication comes from all angles, in many different ways, all day and all night.
Sometimes it’s hard to manage the neverending notifications from emails, texts, whatsapps, voicenotes, and voicemails.
And with such a variety of ways of connecting, it can be harder still to keep track of what’s truly going on, unless you deliberately take a moment to really understand and acknowledge the message, and the message behind the message.
We were in exactly that position.
We had lots of data – emails, messages, notes – but no real information about the quality of the relationships with our clients.
Going on memory and gut feel is useful, but we wanted something more robust.
We needed a system.
Enter the Traffic Lights
Traffic lights are useful indicators of safety.
On the road, red is for danger. Stop. Do not continue.
Amber means proceed with caution. It’s not, despite the actions of too many drivers on my cycle commute, a sign to race through as fast as possible to beat the red!
And as my youngest shouts excitedly in his bike trailer (every SINGLE time!),
Green means Go! (I think it’s from Paw Patrol…?!)
To help you to the very best of our abilities, we created a traffic light system of our own.
This explains how to optimise the way we work together, and allows us all to understand things that might need a minor tweak, to move through the traffic lights and get more greens!
The categories; 1 – video
Scott (it’s usually Scott!) will record and share videos through the year, to highlight key issues and suggest solutions. These usually contain critical information about taxes, VAT, or your year end accounts.
And it’s vital that these videos are watched and responded to in a timely manner, otherwise our work is delayed, causing us and you avoidable extra stress.
2 – spreadsheets
Sarah’s in charge of the bookkeeping side of things here, and her role includes being the disciplinarian and chasing for missing paperwork!
This is crucial in building a strong financial foundation – with incomplete data we can’t rely on the information in the system.
So if we help manage your bookkeeping, Sarah will send a spreadsheet summary highlighting missing paperwork, for you to address promptly.
Inaction here could mean your VAT return is wrong, or your year end accounts. So it’s really important.
3 – attitude / relationship
This might be a slightly unprecedented category but for us it is everything.
We’re not in the business of one-night stands. We aim to serve, with love, to the best of our ability. To build a team with you, alongside you. To be part of something amazing.
Relationship like that takes work. And kindness and compassion. And at times, courage.
We’re happy to put in the effort – hard work is part of the translation of “kung fu” after all!
But if there are signs that things are no longer working as well as it could be for all of us, we will do our very best to bring that to your attention as soon as possible.
Of course, sometimes things happen which affect our work. We’re all human after all.
So if our humanity is always “on”, and we are actively working together, we’ll go far.
And that’s a relationship we want to be part of!
|The videos we’ve created have not been viewed, after a month.
|You’ve watched the video, or acknowledged the email, but haven’t been able to deal with it fully yet.
|You have watched, replied, dealt with the issues and we’re golden – well done!
|The spreadsheets we’ve created have not been viewed, after a month.
|After two weeks the issues are partially answered, or you’ve acknowledged the email and asked for more time.
Work in progress…
|Emails read, replied to, all issues 100% dealt with, within two weeks.
Gold star! (or green light!)
|There is frustration, rudeness, aggression or anger apparent (on either or both sides).
This is unacceptable for all of us.
|There’s a hint of tension in our relationship.
We may be a bit short or impatient with each other, and there will be a reason – something to nip in the bud.
|We love working with you – it’s easy, enjoyable, and stuff just gets done!
Ideally, we want a clean sweep of green lights across the board! Imagine how powerful that relationship would be for us all!
Amber lights are inevitable; we live with lots of things going on in the world, and being human means sometimes things might get a little too much. But it’s ok, and together we can work through most things.
Too many red lights suggest significant issues in our ability to work effectively together, which need to be addressed before things get too bad.
If we see ambers or reds cropping up we flag them right away to help build and maintain a great working relationship.
And together, united, we will create a strong financial foundation on which you can build a thriving, enjoyable, rewarding and impactful business.
This really should go without saying; if we are asked to break the law or do something else which is ethically questionable, we will resign as soon as possible.
Some things are clear cut, like complying with tax law for example.
Even if it’s something Dave down the pub did (like his dodgy R and D tax credit claim); if it’s illegal, unlawful, unethical, or against the spirit of the rules, we aren’t interested.
No Red, Amber, Green needed.
We will not support, endorse, condone or otherwise facilitate unethical or illegal business practices.
Here’s to better business relationships!
We think this is a really simple yet powerful way to assess, monitor and improve all our working relationships.
Could you implement something similar in your business?