Our next conversation in the series features Neil Reid, Board Director at William Duncan & Co, Chartered Accountants.
How do you keep your team motivated despite conflicts and obstacles?
Everything revolves around communication. Challenging times need the team together and working towards resolutions and goals. Feeling alone and isolated is one of the worst feelings you can have in a workplace and I am always keeping in close contact with my team to discuss job progression and any issues that are arising. I am a big supporter of showing staff that you have the trust in them to deal with conflicts and obstacles but that you are always there to give advice and assist when necessary.
How do you generate great ideas in your organisation?
There are many ways to generate great ideas, but the main thing is to listen. I always encourage discussion and have an open door policy to new ideas and suggested changes.
Sometimes you can generate ideas yourself, either through knowing what is happening within the business and standing back and assessing situations, or from research and CPD activities to improve knowledge and procedures.
However, many minds are better than one, so keeping in touch with the team, encouraging proactivity and thought along with developing a ‘Yes and’ approach rather than ‘Yes but’ will bring far more ideas to life.
What makes you most proud?
Seeing my two boys grow into adulthood as confident and positive young men and knowing I had something to do with it, is definitely my proudest achievement.
In the work environment, the day I was appointed Director was a very proud moment. If you work hard and enjoy the job and the people you work with, promotions will happen and you will be recognised when the positions become available.
I have been with William Duncan since I graduated and have never had any strong feelings about leaving because the team and the environment have always been so welcoming and supportive. Working my way through the firm, from trainee to Director, is something I will always be immensely proud of.
What are the most important traits to look for when you're hiring?
Enthusiasm. When recruiting, if I get the sense that the individual really wants the position, is excited about getting started and shows a willingness to learn, it’s a good start.
Rounded personality. I am always looking for someone that will be a team player and can develop good work relationships with all staff, no matter the level. It’s good to know what outside interests they have and their outlook on life. Communication is key in any role.
Work ethic and willingness to adapt. Situations can change, deadlines can vary, certain pieces of work can turn out to be very different to expectations and sometimes you have to juggle workloads.
Dealing with a changing environment and ensuring clients are serviced properly is very important. We all need to be able to manage a client portfolio or workload and communicate updates.
What is the biggest challenge facing the accountancy sector at present?
From a client perspective, many entities are recovering from the pandemic and now have the worry of interest rates and inflation rapidly rising with energy prices, fuel, materials and wages all significantly more expensive. Advising and helping clients through these periods when cash flow and profitability has dropped is a challenge we need to be proactive about.
From a firm perspective, the digital journey is a big challenge that you need to keep in front of. From advising clients on the HMRC making tax digital project and assisting them get ready before the compulsory deadlines to the hybrid working arrangements, cloud based software and paperless working, there is always something to be considering.
William Duncan have always been proud to be at the forefront of the digital revolution and were very fortunate when the pandemic hit that we could fairly seamlessly move to home working and continue to service our client’s needs.
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