The year after the night before

So come on….will it be drinking less, getting fit, losing weight? Will it be looking for a new job? Will it be a decision to move house?

The start of a new year is an odd time. It’s dark, cold and the parties and festivities are over. There’s been far more time than usual to sit and think and realise that something about your life isn’t quite right. It’s a time when people and businesses make changes. Firms have enjoyed (endured?) the conference season at the end of the year before. They’ll have had time to consider the ideas flung at them by the eager suppliers; Do you need a new system? Is your website up to scratch? Is your cashiering function tired, barely compliant and inefficient? The turn of the year often brings a renewed enthusiasm to consider a change.

Some of it is defensive, as a firm considers whether its performance is good enough, and looks at ways to protect its existence. Some thinking is more strategic and carries with it a sense of purpose and vigour. “We are going to become a better version of ourselves” is a refrain for both individuals and firms at this time of year.

And just like those classic resolutions made by individuals, there’s a danger that by February all the good intentions will have come to nothing. Change isn’t just a word. Just saying it won’t make it happen. It involves action and determination.

Here are six tips for making change work:

  1. Assess your starting point honestly and carefully.
  2. Once you’ve identified areas of weakness to strengthen, or opportunities to exploit, pull together a project plan with a timeline and with key actions given to individuals.
  3. Brief your employees – make the era of change and evolution one that is a shared project. The purpose should be understood and bought into by all.
  4. Involve more junior members of staff in the planning and implementation, so that they don’t just feel like the change is something being imposed upon them.
  5. Review progress weekly – when we run projects we have regular stand up meetings. Very short (often only ten minutes) but very focused, asking each team member where they are up to with their element of the project, any problems they are having, and the next steps they’ll be taking.
  6. Buy doughnuts – make those brief meetings lively and positive. Doughnuts do that for you.

Follow these steps and there’s a far better chance that the changes you’ve realised are necessary can be achieved. I’m going to try this for the first three resolutions I mentioned…

Alex Holt, The Cashroom 

The Cashroom Ltd. exists to deal with the day to day administration of a law firm’s finance function, ensure compliance with the Solicitor’s Accounts Rules, and provide firms with management information and Management Accounts.

Our legal cashiering service, for almost 150 clients in the UK, is delivered remotely by a team of qualified cashiers, working in our offices using the client’s own practice management system.

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