Joining Practice Talk this week to talk about her typical working day is Sharon Pocock, the MD and chief innovator at Hereford-based firm Kinder Pocock.
Pocock set up Kinder Pocock in 2005 with the aim of building a practice which was down-to-earth and accessible to our clients.
It’s no surprise to learn then how a substantial amount of Pocock’s working week is dedicated to “extraordinary” client service, with weekly client service planning sessions and calendar time blocked out to ensure she’s available for clients.
Kinder Pocock is acclaimed for its client service, having picked up the client service firm of the year award at the 2017 Accounting Excellence awards and Sharon was invited this year to judge the category.
How do you start your working day?
Generally, I check a few emails and social media at about 7.30am and then when I arrive at the office we have a quick daily catch up. We have a planning board so we all know what we are doing all week. Obviously, that can change day-to-day, so we have a check-in: what do I need to know, what do you need to know etc. That's like five or ten minutes and then I am catching up on emails or work.
How does the weekly planning differ from any other working day?
Every Monday we have an hour-long planning meeting where we go through targets, deadlines, client requests and anything out of the ordinary that doesn't fit with our normal work. We also go through new clients, potential clients and any clients who are leaving.
We then talk about extraordinary client service and we also look at bad client service. Hopefully, there'll be nothing, but if there is any, we're massively honest and look at how it happened and what we can do so it never happens again.
How do you organise your time throughout the day?
I block time out in my calendar. It's to the point where our client co-ordinator Kelly said the worst thing about her job is my calendar if she's trying to manage meetings or phone calls. But we’ve decided to block one day a week out for urgent stuff. Part of the reason is inspired by our local chiropractor. I know how busy she is, but she can always fit you in. So I've decided that she must have blocks kept free for emergencies.
I've started working from home on Friday, so I'll catch up on loose ends on client work then do focus on Marketing, like blogs and branding.
How much of your day is spent with clients?
Some days I have meetings all day but I have some days when I am at a client's all day. I visit a few clients once a month in a CFO capacity doing whatever they need, whether it's helping with an award application, funding, or as a sounding board to help with the direction of the business. And I'll put management reports together while I am there.
Those CFO days also allow me to speak to my clients and ask questions and make future plans. And then other days I have time blocked out every afternoon for chargeable client work such as accounts reviews and forecasting for clients.
What does your workspace look like?
We're all on one floor and we’re all on one big workspace. Along the corridor by our meeting room, we've got all our Xero certificates and framed t-shirts of our favourite apps. We've also got a breakout room with a bright coloured sofa and on the wall is Simon Sinek’s quote: “Listen to your drum and your drum only. It’s the one that makes the sweetest sound.”
Above the door is the Dr Suess quote: "You're off to great places! Today is your day!" People will only see when they leave.
What do you do to escape tax and accounts?
I have a little passion for Zumba. I try and do it three times a week. I love it. In terms of being an accountant and sitting at a desk, I love Zumba because it's really loud music and it's up to how much or little you want to go for it. But I really do go for it.
Can you remember your first calculator?
Apart from the school calculator, I had a big machine with the till roll and massive buttons. It made a really satisfying noise when you pressed 'ADD' or 'EQUALS'.
If you're on a normal calculator you lose your place adding a big column of numbers you’ve got to start again, but with the big adding machines you could just look at where you were, minus that figure and start again. When I was starting out, I used to quite enjoy adding up big columns of numbers. But the software does it all now.