These are the values upon which our business success has been built and on which our future success should be built.
Our work experience has to be sufficiently varied to give all team members exposure to all of the types of work that general practice, and our practice in particular, can give. The work we do has to be challenging and enjoyable.
Our office hours are 9:00 am to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and we should present in the office during those hours so that we can meet our commitments to our clients. If anyone is out of the office, for example, visiting clients, it is his/her responsibility to ensure a deputy is available to take calls and our reception team are aware who that deputy is.
Team members will be aware that if they are away from the office, someone else will have to cover for them and they will need to reciprocate as well.
At all times, we have to maintain personal relationships with our clients. They must be made to feel welcome on every contact with our practice.
They must always be aware of the work we are performing for them, the desired results, anticipated time scale and, most importantly, the progress we are making on their behalf.
Clients will always come first. We understand that our clients judge us not by the quality of our professional work, but how we deal with them as people. We should always look at things from our client's point of view and make sure that we have properly fulfilled their wishes on every occasion they have contact with us.
Client contact will always take precedence over anything else that we are doing at the time. (But note that if you are carrying out urgent work, you can appoint a deputy to take client calls so you can work uninterrupted).
However, we must always remember that it takes two to make a relationship. If a client is unwilling to reciprocate and is unpleasant, rude, unappreciative etc, we must terminate the relationship. In such situations we will rarely feel like giving our best and trouble will eventually come. It is much better for that trouble to go to another accountant.
Team Management, Development and Relationships
The personal development of all of our team members is vital for our own self esteem and for our future as a practice.
We have to regard learning as a lifetime commitment. Our internal procedures must ensure that every team member always has a personal development programme and given every assistance necessary to carry it out.
Our Practice Administrator needs to act as coach to all team members. Team members must always be aware of the objectives of the practice and their role in its fulfillment.
When you talk about a person who is not present, speak as if they are listening to your conversation so that you treat team members and clients with respect at all times.
We will always be aware of the maxim that 'business creates life' in the sense that we go to work to provide the means to make a better life for ourselves. We will always remember that our responsibilities to our families always take precedence over our professional ones as the latter can be delegated in times of need.
We have to maintain the highest levels of independence, integrity and honesty expected of a professional office. This means that we must never let our judgement be compromised in any way.
It is always best to be honest and truthful with clients even when the information we have to provide may not be welcomed by our clients.
We should not accept any appointment that we think we cannot fulfill satisfactorily. In a technical sense we can deal with most things using the consultants and networks that are available to us. But a client's records may be so incomplete that reconstruction is very difficult or even impossible. It is inevitable that financial statements will be incorrect and we are better not being involved in preparing them.
Greet and farewell clients by name, with eye contact and handshake if appropriate. Always speak politely using a person's name, 'please' and 'thank you' as appropriate.
If you have an issue with someone, talk about it with them and in private and resolve the issue. If this is not possible, refer the matter to the Principal at the earliest possible opportunity. Apologise and make restitution if someone is rightfully upset by your actions.
Blame a system, not a person for errors or omissions. When things go wrong it is inevitably because our procedures have not been documented properly rather than individual incompetence. When you discover errors or omissions examine our operations manual relating to that particular task. If it is adequate refer the erring team member to it, if not propose amendments to the system notes.
Always tell the truth. Trust is one of the most important factors in professional relationships. Once it is lost, the relationship is likely to be lost too. Most situations, however dire, can be improved by mutual recognition of the problem and a joint effort to resolve it.
Use positive conversation and avoid negatives at ALL times. We have to be recognised as being solution providers and consistently having a negative outlook does not portray that. Using positive language all the time will give you a positive outlook on life which will ultimately benefit us all.
Remember the saying:
Watch your thoughts because you thoughts become your words; watch your words, because your words become your actions; watch your actions because your actions become your habits; watch your habits because your habits determine your character; watch your character, because your character determines your destiny.
The financial rewards of all team members has to reflect the value that we provide to our clients. Our aim is to have a highest level of remuneration for out team members compared to others in the same profession in the same area as we intend to give the highest value of service to our clients.
The quality and accuracy of our work should always be the highest level possible commensurate with its value to our client and naturally the amount they are prepared to pay for it.
All of the work we do must be subject to review before it is submitted to our clients. (This can, in most circumstances, be a process of self review provided that some time elapses between carrying out the work and reviewing it and the working papers reflect the nature of the review).
We will only recruit team members who have the qualifications which are necessary for them to carry out their duties with us.
Business Profile and Image
We intend to be recognised as the pre-eminent accountancy firm in the geographical areas of our operations. Our image should be one of a progressive firm at the cutting edge of business and professional development.
We have to be innovative in our service delivery. We have to always be aware that our clients’ needs will change over time so we must always observe those changes and amend our service offering where necessary.
The role of leader is to provide the vision of our business progression, to carry out the necessary research, communicate it to the team members and provide them with the means to carry it out.
Our team development programme should be designed to ensure that senior appointments can be promotive from within the practice.
Our management (and other) processes have to be documented sufficiently well so that they can be carried on by a successor or substitute with the minimum of disruption.