A waste of your time

Green grass in the foreground with a blue whispy cloud sky in the background. In the foreground is a dandelion that has gone to seed and a column of the seeds has started to blow away on a gentle breeze.

There are very few authors I read religiously, but marketing guru Seth Godin is one of them.

His daily blog posts are short, but always packed with value. I try my hardest not to miss them. (By the way, is there anyone else whose emails or blogs you consider unmissable? I’d love to get some recommendations – please hit ‘reply’ and let me know!)

A couple of weeks ago, Seth’s message resonated particularly deeply with me.

He wrote:

If you’re a writer, it probably doesn’t pay to chop down trees and make your own paper, or even to set up a little machine shop to make your own pens. That’s pretty obvious.

“Should the smoothie shop make its own almond milk?

It’s pretty clear that Starbucks should have a team of architects, lawyers and graphic artists on staff, but does it pay for them to make their own cups?

“Ford makes engines but they don’t make tires…

“Consider:

Is there a reliable way for you to purchase the inputs as a commodity…

“Does buying a commodity input free you up to focus on something your customers value instead?…

How many of those hours [in your day] are spent replicating something you could buy, the way Ford buys tires?”

The same question applies to the way you get your accounting and financial management done.

Is managing your own team of bookkeepers and accountants really the best use of your time?

This is a task that involves figuring out who to hire for these roles…

Establishing what work they should be doing…

Judging whether they have the right tools for the job…

Supervising them day-to-day…

Evaluating whether they’re doing their role well, and helping them improve the results they deliver for you.

Is being in charge of a finance function really your core competence?

And if not, is this really where you want to focus? Is this really the most important thing you could be doing, to drive your business forward?

In almost every case I’ve ever come across, the answer is straightforward: “No”. 

Most business owners are not qualified to supervise an accounting function and to judge its performance. (The only exceptions are where the business owner has a background in accounting themselves.)

Many business owners actually find it stressful to take on a role that is so far out of their skillset. And it can become a huge distraction from their ‘zone of genius’ and from the activities they should be carrying out in order to grow.

Happily, Seth Godin has already shown the way forward.

You can buy these services in, instead, allowing someone else – like Insight Associates – to build and manage your company’s finance function instead.

On one point I disagree with him. Or rather, our service does not quite fit his model.

You see, when you work with us, you are not buying a commodity. That’s because we’re not run-of-the-mill accountants who simply do your year-end accounts and taxes. We run your entire finance department, and offer full financial management, as if you had an in-house finance director.

This involves working with you extremely closely; getting to know your business inside out; building relationships with you and your team; installing state-of-the-art financial processes and systems in your business so everything is run extremely professionally and smoothly; and then using the data and insights we generate to provide you with bespoke financial advice that helps your company maximise its profitability.

There are actually very few firms that do what we do. Much of it is bespoke work. And for almost every company that partners with us, working together involves a serious upgrade to their financial management.

So if you’re spending too much time trying to run your own financial affairs, remember: This is a service you can buy in, from us. You do not have to do this yourself.

To find out more, call us on 01279 647 447. Or hit ‘reply’ to this blog to get in touch.

Warmly,

Garry

PS. Anyone other than Seth Godin whose emails or blogs you think I should read? I’m always on the lookout for inspiring material and would love it if you could share your recommendations. Simply hit ‘reply’ to drop me a line.

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In this blog archive our Managing Director, Garry Mumford simplifies all things financial and shares with us a lifetime of practical financial business advice.

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