Have you ever wondered what the winning formula is for a high achieving accountancy team?
Well first let’s consider the metrics by which we might evidence a high achieving team. It won’t be the same for all accountancy firms but in our expert opinion we think a firm that can provide the following output is a winning firm!
- Satisfied, surprised and delighted clients.
- A steady stream of word of mouth referrals and a new client pipeline.
- A happy, motivated and valued workforce.
- Low levels of operational stress.
- Happy, motivated and focused Partners in receipt of a healthy level of profit.
- A clear vision of the future shared by clients, employees and senior leaders.
So now we know what a high achieving team should be able to create, let’s consider the recipe for making one!
Here’s our 5 ingredients for successful teams.
1. The vision and the reward are crystal clear.
A great accountancy firm will have an over arching goal that is underpinned by every single action of every single person who works within it. Partners and staff will understand the values of the firm they work for and the distinctive picture of what success looks like. They will understand that their role in achieving that success is part of a complex network of team players, none of whom can succeed without the other.
Staff will also clearly recognise the reward of achieving that vision. And here we’re not just talking about bonus payments or salary increases (though of course they help!) More nuanced rewards might be the prestige of working for a high performing firm, pride in being part of something special and unique. The list goes on but take the time to work together as a team to identify the rewards of success. You might find our guide on Employee Value Proposition helpful.
2. Find the perfect skill mix.
Successful teams are created by finding a very delicate balance of skills, experience and personality types. It goes without saying that you’ll want enough accountants with the right kind of experience (audit, tax, accounts etc) to match your workload, and it always helps to have a few niche specialities too (like agricultural accountancy for example). But let’s not forget finding the right balance of extroverts and introverts, leaders and followers, people who work best autonomously and also those who thrive in a collaborative environment. You’ll need them all but the ratio will vary depending on how you operate and what your clients need and expect.
3. Empower and elevate your teams by providing the right tools.
Now is not the time to be holding back investment when it comes to equipment and software to support your teams to do their very best work. In fact this investment will improve your teams efficiency and output, their ability to communicate and collaborate and show your staff that you take pride in them and want to empower them to impress. And of course you’ll also dazzle your clients at the same time.
4. Always learn along the way.
Are all the very best accountancy firms we work with perfect all the time? Of course not… who or what ever is? But what makes the best stand out from the mediocre? The teams within them have a culture that encourages reflection and evolution. There’s no shame in making a mistake. But a team leader or team member who doesn’t reflect on their work and consider changes to how they work as a result of a mistake? That’s inexcusable in great teams.
5. Only bring in the very best.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of balance when it comes to skill mix, personalities and experience. But winning accountancy teams also know the value of outsourcing when it comes to niche tasks, recruitment being one of them! Great leaders of great teams will be busy creating their winning formula for success and they’ll know that the decision to outsource recruitment for further great members of their team is best left to the experts. Every minute they spend shuffling through inappropriate CVs and shortlisting candidates is time away from their teams that risks a shift in the success they’ve worked so hard to build.
“At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we’ve observed accountancy teams and learned what works and what doesn’t for more than a decade. Our objectivity and our carefully nurtured skills in looking at ALL that a candidate can bring to your team makes us perfectly placed to support you in writing the recipe for success for your firm.”
Garry Howling, MD.
Enjoyed this article? You might also be interested in our advice on attracting and retaining the very best accountants or our tips on getting the most from your recruiter.