Francis Clark, Chartered Accountants

Who are we?

Established over ninety years ago, we have grown to become the largest independent accountancy firm in the South West – bigger than the regional offices of the “Big Four” with the largest range of specialists in the area.

We focus on innovative strategic advice, coupled with strong client relationships and a friendly, down-to-earth approach to business. As a top 30 UK firm we work with our dedicated Corporate Services Team to deliver high-end, tactical corporate skills at realistic regional rates.

We have 7 offices throughout the region employing tax specialists able to proactively advise individuals and businesses alike.

With an award-winning tax department unparalleled in the region and nominated by our audit clients, without our knowledge and voted “Auditor of the Year” for mid tier firms in the FDs’ Excellence Awards 2011.

What was our challenge?

We have grown rapidly in recent years.  At the time Nicky started working with us on this project, the partners in one of our corporate teams, always focussed on meeting our high standards of client service, were at the same time involved in potential mergers, planning an office move and managing their growing team of staff.  There were signs of lower than usual staff morale and we were concerned that stress levels were increasing.

What did they do for us?

As a starting point Nicky ran a workshop using the insights discovery profiles for the partners to promote understanding of their own working styles better and in turn to appreciate the different styles of fellow partners.  She then facilitated the production of a detailed action plan that focussed on two key themes first refining roles and responsibilities within the partner team and secondly on managing communication with the staff.  During the implementation of the plan Nicky provided support where necessary and also ran a session for the whole team to enable us to involve the staff in the execution of the action plan.

What impact did it have?

Ultimately the team continued to be successful because the downward trend in morale was reversed.  The use of an external resource added discipline and made sure that we made time for this important work. The insights discovery model gave a greater understanding and respect for others’ strengths.  This in turn led to a reallocation of responsibilities within the partner team allowing each partner to focus more on areas of strength and greater confidence to delegate to other members of the team. It continues to give  a ‘safe’ language we can use in challenging discussions to diffuse the impact of different styles.  We improved communication with staff, in particular through improvements to our performance management process