In 2020 the companies with great leadership easily outperformed the rest because of all the turbulence. Of course, “turbulent times” is a total understatement. Some good companies didn’t make it through and lots of old-fashioned ones bit the dust. It took some big companies weeks just to get people set up at home. Palm trees are flexible for a good reason.
No matter what your website says about the organisation’s values, you, the boss, set the values for the organisation by your actions. Your people see what you do.
If you want your organisation to be sales and delivery led, then spend your time on sales and delivery. If you spend your time on administration, that is what your staff will value.
Walk the talk, set goals, tease out and define the shared values of the organisation and then live those values.
Leaders concentrate on what is important, on what is going to “move the dial”, on the core functions that make your business strong and unique, on the functions that give you a competitive advantage. For most recruitment agencies, the focus is business development, delivery of recruitment services and (so good they named it twice) business development.
The machinery of time, payroll and billing has become too complex for most organisations to set up and manage inhouse. These days it’s best left to the specialists, not spreadsheets.
I first twigged to this when recruiters I met often talked a lot about technology, and there is indeed a lot to talk about, but I think it can mask the underlying problems. The technology on its own won’t save you.
Your business machine places contractors for a margin. Contractor payroll and billing is not back-office bookkeeping, payroll and billing is right next to your front office, impacting your clients and contractors.
Non-core, but critical, parts of your machine operate the most efficiently, and reliably, with expert assistance. Specialists who are right there as part of your crew, with their own dedicated tools. You can better focus on winning and delivering recruitment services. Your people can do the same.
Right now, swirling around the payroll function is the uncertainty of the employment status of casual and contract staff, and what contracts are valid and where responsibilities rest.
To be able to adapt to change, to stay in the game, you need to do three things: maintain a constant focus on performance, wage war on complexity and ensure vigorous compliance.
By doing what you value, others will value what you do. There are so many clichés about this stuff: “stick to your knitting”, “core values”, “client facing” – they are all true.
Thomas is a CPA qualified accountant, business advisor and on-demand CFO with over 20 years of experience running businesses. He has worked in senior finance roles with some of Australia’s biggest companies and best business leaders.
Thomas been an independent CFO for 20 years, working with B2B businesses from start-up to 30M turnover. Twenty years ago not many people knew what an Outsourced CFO was but they are becoming more widespread these days. Which Thomas thinks is a great thing.