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Bringing others along for the ride | AccountingWEB | An illustration from the Practice Innovation special report

Bringing others along for the ride


Ensuring that staff and clients remain onboard with the firm’s vision is all about consistency, says Ad Valorem co-founder Nikki Adams. That’s why the firm’s mission statement remains the same while the business evolves.

20th Nov 2023
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Change is a necessary part of growth for the forward-thinking accounting firm. This can be an exciting time for businesses, as they take that next step up the ladder of success, however, others may not share your optimism.

For staff, who may have worked a certain way for years, and clients, who have received the same service for just as long, a shake-up can be a worrying prospect. With that said, how can you ensure that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to practice growth?

This is something Nikki Adams, co-founder of Ad Valorem and previous Practice Pioneer Award winner, has contended with multiple times as her firm has evolved. Striving for continuous improvement with a particular focus on modernising small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) accounting, Adams has seen her firm change a multitude of times over the years, meaning that ensuring everyone has bought into her firm’s changing vision has been essential.

Setting out the vision

For Adams, the very base of any strategy is setting out the vision. In doing so, Adams argues that both staff and clients have something tangible to believe in, and that vision starts with you. 

“Last year we bought a more traditional firm and we thought, ‘You would not put our two firms together.’ But they chose us out of a choice of five. And when I asked them, ‘Why did you pick us?’ they said that when they came to our office they could see our vision and see the future of the profession,” Adams said.

And its this focus on building that vision from its “embryonic stage” as Adams notes, into a mission that can be seen across the business in a ‘show, don’t tell’ way that then trickles down and inspires the team to reach new heights.

“For our staff, all they have to do is look at the senior management team. All of them started in different roles and worked their way up the ladder into new specialisms, which highlights our commitment to developing a great team. That’s where we’ve seen the buy-in from our staff.”

Consistency is key

Yet, even after setting out the vision for the firm, Adams admits getting people on board wasn’t a smooth process, adding that Ad Valorem “100% has come up against resistance when making changes.”

However, Ad Valorem has employed a range of strategies to ensure that staff and clients remain onboard with the firm’s vision, with Adams adding that consistency is key.

“It’s always about having that consistent message. We’ve always been about modernising SMEs and, across the senior management, our core vision hasn’t ever changed.”

To ensure this consistency, Adams and the team engrain the message into every facet of the business and are in constant communication with the team and their clients when things change. “Whether it’s in our weekly ‘town hall’ meetings as a team, inductions for new employees or onboarding new clients our message and mission statement stays the same.”

Adams finished by noting that while consistency is key, it means nothing unless there is passion from those who set out a firm’s vision. “It’s very difficult sometimes when you’re doing the work, getting beaten up by clients, and are right on the front line the whole time. Which is why you need to be passionate about what you’re doing. Discover what excites you and that will be seen by everyone you work with.”

This article is an extract from our new editorial special report: “The practice innovation handbook”. Download it now to access expert advice and real-life examples to help you identify areas for improvement in your firm and make changes that will drive innovation and boost efficiency.


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