When contemplating your practice succession, it is essential to consider the potential risks in your business and how your successor views them.
If your successor is likely to be external to your practice, you will want to make an excellent first impression when they visit your office. We all understand the value of creating a positive first impression. If you work in an office environment that is tired in appearance, or perhaps there is a build-up of paper and clutter in your office, or your office floor is where you keep client files, then it is time to make a few changes.
Presenting your office and business as tired, run-down, cluttered and disorganised will create a poor first impression and put you on the back foot from the start.
I recall visiting a practitioner contemplating their practice succession in 2 - 3 years. During my initial meeting, my first impressions could have been better. There was paper and junk throughout the office area. Every area of the office was tired and outdated. To the practitioner’s credit, eighteen months later, I was delighted by the transformation when I returned to advance the succession process. The whole office was repainted and refreshed, new carpet was laid through each office area, new furniture was purchased, and all the excess paper and junk was removed. The office was completely transformed into a modern, professional office.
If your practice has gotten into some (bad) habits of storing client files across your office floor as you look to complete client work, now is the time to rectify this issue. Cleanse your office space and tidy up your office environment and return all client files to their proper storage location (i.e. get them off your office floor).
A messy office can lead to several issues for a professional service firm, including:
Finding important documents and information can lead to delays and errors in client work
Reduced productivity and efficiency, as employees may waste time searching for things or become distracted by clutter
Difficulty maintaining confidentiality and security of client information, as sensitive documents may be left out in the open or mixed in with other materials
Difficulty maintaining a professional image, as clients and visitors may be turned off by the disorganisation and may question the competence of the practice
Difficulty maintaining a positive work environment, as employees may become stressed or frustrated by the mess.
Overall, a messy office can impede the smooth functioning of an accounting practice and reflect poorly on its reputation and professional image.
There are several simple changes you can make to create a great impression in an old or cluttered office environment:
Declutter: Remove any unnecessary items and organise the remaining items to create a clean and tidy workspace
Add plants: Plants can help improve the office's overall aesthetic and create a more positive and productive environment
Update the lighting: Poor lighting can make an office feel old and dingy. Consider adding new light fixtures or replacing old ones to create a brighter and more inviting space
Add colour: Color and decorate the office with artwork, curtains, or accessories. This can help brighten the space and create a more pleasant atmosphere
Use natural light: Open the blinds and let natural light flood the office. It can create a more inviting and energising environment
Personalise your space: Add personal touches to your office, such as photographs or artwork, to make it feel like your own
Keep it clean: Regularly clean and maintain the office to keep it looking its best and make a great impression.
A professional-looking office will help create a great first impression during your succession discussions, enhancing your ability to select the right fit as your successor.