Joining Practice Talk this week is Barrie Kenyon, who is a partner at the 2018 Accounting Excellence Medium Firm of the Year, Green & Co.
Kenyon left university with a maths degree and the ambition to build aeroplanes. While his aeroplane dreams didn’t take off, he’s now flying high at Green & Co.
The firm picked up the Accounting Excellence Medium Firm award last year due to the range of services that not only add value but enable clients to achieve their goals. This is reflected in the firm adding 95 new clients in that year and providing more services to existing clients.
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The firm also added value to clients through developing an in-house forecasting app, which has facilitated their transition to advisory services.
Green & Co’s success continues this year, with the firm bagging top five finalist positions in both the Client Service and Medium Firm categories.
Two years ago Kenyon became a partner at Green & Co. Here, he talks AccountingWEB through a typical working day at the firm.
How do you start a typical working day?
With coffee! My working day actually starts before I arrive at the office. When I get ready in the morning I go through my emails and my diary to see what is coming up. We try to clear the easy emails before we get in - it seems to be the biggest issue with technology at the moment. You tend to get 100 emails a day.
I like to do work in the car on my hands-free because I find travelling is wasted time. I'll talk to a client in the car if I know I don't have to be at my desk. I make use of every minute I've got. And then when I arrive at the office, I try to get the little things out of the way before meetings start at 9.30am.
How do you plan out your day?
It's pre-planned to a certain degree. Our office manager Sonia has bought me a little planner so any tasks I have are all planned out. But most of my days are planned anyway by meetings and ad hoc client work.
All of our clients have a fixed price agreement. If any of our clients have a query, all of their phone calls and emails are included. So rather than have them scratch around looking for the information, they know from the first meeting that they can pick up the phone and speak to me or whoever their query relates to.
How much of your time is spent on client work?
About 30-40% on current clients, but with meeting potential and non-clients it's about 70-80%. We offer all prospects a free initial meeting or phone call because we know that first initial meeting is so important. If they decide they don't want to come on board, we hope that if they need an accountant in the future, we're the first one they think of.
We recently had someone I met in February and they have just come back and decided to come on board with us. Initially, it wasn't chargeable. I do a lot of that and it ends up converting them to chargeable when they become clients.
How important is having a work-life balance at Green & Co?
Everyone here is on flexi-time and we’ve increased our holidays to 39 days including the bank holidays. We changed our working hours from 35 hours a week to 37.5 hours because our people would rather have the extra holidays to take bulk time off. They can build up their hours during the week and leave early on a Friday.
What time does a typical working day finish?
I will leave at different times of the day depending on what I do. On a Friday all the staff are allowed to leave at 2pm, so if I've had an easy week and haven't got much to do, I'll leave at 2pm as well.
Equally, I've been to meetings with clients in the evenings. I went to a board meeting a couple of weeks back which finished 7/8 pm, and then I'll come in later the next morning or finish early later on in the week