Show us an example of a family business and we can almost guarantee that the phrase “but that’s not how we used to do it” will have cropped up at some stage during any inter-generational handover! And we are not being critical here, both parties to this discussion will actually be correct. In the past, processes and procedures will have been honed to meet the needs of the customers in the best way at that time. However, the world never stands still and constant change creates both problems and new opportunities in equal measure.
With over 20 years’ experience of bookkeeping for many hundreds of different clients in a variety of different industry sectors, CJ Bookkeeping has lived at the heart of most businesses as their team assists their clients on their financial journey. This unrivalled and confidential access has also given them a unique insight into how businesses work well and, occasionally, where improvement could benefit the bottom line.
One of our family business clients is Jake Lee, Managing Director of Didcot Glass and Glazing Ltd. Didcot Glass and Glazing is a well-established business that started in 1979 to supply and install windows, doors, conservatories and other glazing solutions across Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties.
Jake was appointed to this role in the family business just over two years ago. Jake was well prepared for this role when working with the family and his natural attributes also make him well suited for the task in hand. However, he does acknowledge that there was a steep learning curve when he first took on the job.
Anyone who has managed a business for any length of time will have noticed that business evolution often happens sporadically and faster in some areas of the business than in others. For example, when online banking first became available, submitting payments and receiving revenue became faster and easier than ever before. However, at this time, the management of invoices, orders, quotations and other financial paperwork was run by various software packages that didn’t easily integrate with these brand new online bank accounts.
Therefore, a new process had to be developed quickly to reconcile all of the payments in the online bank account. For example, with Jake’s business, he needed to know which payments were for completed projects and which payments were deposits, or advance payments, for scheduled work about to commence.
So, as one part of the business develops positively there is always the danger of a disconnect occurring with more established procedures that will also need to be adapted to the change.
And this example is exactly where CJ Bookkeeping’s “Operational Procedure Review” adds tremendous value to any business.
Clare and her team sat down with Jake and discussed exactly what views of the business that the Managing Director needs to be able to see at any one time. They then went through every aspect of the business understanding every step in each process. Whilst this exploration may start with the key financials, it also encompasses the sales and marketing functions, the manufacturing, supply chains, and delivery aspects of the business, and the ongoing relationships with customers and suppliers etc. It also looks at HR procedures and all aspects of staff performance, retention and morale etc.
Whilst Jake’s business was in great shape and working really well, the online world, reliability and availability of 4G broadband and the development of new online management systems gave huge opportunities for new improvements. Jake was able to implement subtle but effective changes in almost every department, increasing efficiency and improving the bottom line.
“Clare made a tremendous difference,” says Jake. “At the touch of a button, I can now see the number of sales quotations currently being discussed and their value. I can see all of the follow-up activity and can report that our quotation acceptance rate has dramatically increased since we updated some of our processes.”
“Whilst our financial procedures were working well, having immediate dashboard access to every aspect of the business makes decision making so much easier. Our decisions are based on actual numbers and hard facts and on tracking performance across the business. With a more detailed view on delivery and installation timeframes we can improve the customer experience and look after them even better than before. I am delighted to have Clare and her team in my corner.”
So many businesses would benefit from an Operational Procedure Review so to find out more, please contact Clare and her team on 01327 262453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.