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Alternative Takeaways with Will Farnell, Director & Founder of Farnell Clarke

Here are three takeaways from Will Farnell, Director and Founder of Farnell Clarke, at our recent Accountancy Hangout where our panel discussed how accountancy firms can best support people and clients, and use technology to do so, in the current and post-Covid environment of remote working.

NURTURE A CULTURE THAT CAN WITHSTAND CHANGE

Will shared the steps Farnell Clarke had taken to help their team transition to working from home.

“We gave our staff the nod to start working from home before the official government mandate. We’d moved to a ‘work from where you want, when you want, how you want’ approach anyway. So we had a culture that was fairly well aligned to what we’ve had to do during the course of lockdown. We had the tech and processes in place that made it very easy for us to suggest that people work from home. That, however, doesn’t overnight just work in itself. We had to change the way that we communicated with the team. For example, we used to do quarterly town hall meetings and that became a weekly zoom check-in for the whole team. Some people are able to work from home more easily than others, so it’s about understanding how different people deal with the individual circumstances that create challenges along the way.”

Ensuring tech and processes can be used flexibly is a key part of adapting smoothly to new situations.

YOU CAN NEVER COMMUNICATE TOO MUCH

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“We rely heavily on the culture to drive the way we work with our teams. So, it just increases the importance of communication. You can never communicate too much. I think as we move through whatever the rest of this Covid-19 era creates, it’s going to drive firms to have to look closely at their entire business model in terms of service delivery, vision, values, positioning, technology, and process because we’re not going to be where we were pre-lockdown. It’s going to be interesting to see what firms choose to do when they don’t have to do what they’re doing now. And that’s the bit that I’m really interested to see because it is a choice. Nobody has to go back to what they did in February.”

When a company invests in its team’s culture by seeking to understand individuals and build strong communication, it becomes resilient in the face of changes to the working environment.

KEEP CLIENTS IN THE LOOP

Consistent communication with clients fosters trust and loyalty, even in the most trying times.

“Client experience sits at the heart of being a digital firm should do. I’ve spoken to lots of firms about what they’re doing and the general response is that even if they’re not growing they’re getting really positive feedback and building strong goodwill. It’s because they’re talking to their clients more regularly. That’s the big lesson for firms in all of this. Suddenly, clients value what you do more than before because you’re speaking proactively and regularly. What does that tell us about the way we should be delivering our services to our clients? It reinforces the value of communication.”

Will Farnell said the key to improving business is being in closer contact with clients – accountancy practices have been forced to do this during lockdown and need to hold on to this in the future.

For full details of the Alternative Hangouts series please click here.