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Practice Tips - repaint the office

15th Jul 2005
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"There’s a firm of accountants in a town not that far from where I live that have their offices in a quite impressive looking building. And they’ve invested in some attractive signage to tell the world of their existence. The only trouble is that however impressive that building might be, none of the woodwork in it looks to have been painted for at least twenty years. The windows are rotting and the door is simply flaking away.

I often wonder how that firm ever gets clients. What do they think as they go through that door? My reaction would be simple. If the firm can’t look after its premises:
1)    will it be around for long enough to look after me?
2)    will it look after me?
3)    will they care either way?

The fact that there are some of the dirtiest blinds I’ve ever seen hanging at the windows only add to the overall feeling of squalor that seems to pervade the place.

I know looking after premises is not cheap. But it’s always a false economy not to, and if you’re seeking to impress your clients it’s an outright disaster not to do so. With a thorough lick of paint, a bit of tidying up and a new set of blinds I bet that firm could increase its fees by 10%. More than enough to pay for the repairs, I’d say.

Now this case might be extreme, but after you’ve read this go outside and look at your premises. And then walk in slowly and note everything that looks a bit jaded from the paint to the carpet and the reception desk. And if anything doesn’t look up to scratch resolve to replace it now. Successful businesses do not work from tatty premises.

Richard Murphy
AccountingWEB contributing editor Richard Murphy is a sole practitioner chartered accountant but was previously senior partner of a firm for 11 years. He has also been chairman, chief executive or finance director of 10 SMEs. A collection of previous articles by Richard on practice management themes is available in Practice Management Zone


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