Monthly Archives: February 2012

Accountants have to work harder too

ACCOUNTANCY firm RSM Tenon has seen a drop in revenues and an increase in debts but insists the underlying business remains resilient in a “challenging market”.  The firm, which has a number of offices in the North West including a large operations in Manchester, Preston and Chorley, saw its chief executive Andy Raynor axed at the end of January as a result of “disappointing” financial performance. Now with the release of its interim results for the six months to the end of 2011, the size of the task facing his successor Chris Merry has become apparent. Revenue is down 9.3% to £107.8m and net debt is now £76.5m compared to the 2010 figure of £73.3m. 

The firm also reports a loss on continuing operations of £70.6m after impairment of goodwill of £60.7m.  On the plus side the firm says it has agreed in principle bank facilities of £88m to October 2012 and is having positive negotiations regarding long-term funding. Chairman Adrian Martin said: “Significant progress has been made since our 23 January 2012 trading update.

The financial review has been completed, the prior year accounts restated, funding is in place to October and a new CEO has been appointed. Our executive team is fully focused on restoring the business to profitability.” Merry added: “Our underlying business performance has been resilient in the face of a tough market environment. We have a clear action plan to drive near- term profitability and cash generation. “The majority of our revenues and cash generation arise in the second half of our financial year and this trend is set to continue. RSM Tenon is fundamentally a sound business. It now has a solid base to build for the future and to deliver an appropriate return for shareholders.”

Courtesy of TheBusinesssDesk

If you don't have a meaningful marketing plan to enable you to be proactive, it's time to get one now

In today’s economic climate, to enable your practice to be proactive in tapping into opportunities as the market for legal services changes, every law firm needs a meaningful marketing plan so everyone (even if it’s just you) knows what has to be done, when, with the time set aside to make it happen.

A marketing plan lays out the steps you’ll take to create the business you want.  Think of it as a to-do list, to move your practice the first steps towards your vision of how you want to see your business in a few years time and to achieving the goals you have set for your practice.  It converts your business strategy into the actions you (and your colleagues) have to take to make it happen.

The plan will assign specific tasks to individuals (even if it’s just you) and give them a sequence, timescale and deadlines to achieve them.  It’s not rocket science, but it needs to be done, which takes time, discipline and some detachment from day-to-day work to get it done.

An effective marketing plan requires you to take a step back to review you business afresh (and your strategy) to make sure you have all the components and resources lined up to enable you to achieve the objectives you have set.

So you can get focused and get anyone else involved that needs to be, it will make clear and very specific: a)  What you want to achieve with in the next 12 months (your business plan and strategy should be for a longer period of say 3 to 5 years); b) What steps you and your colleagues are going to take to make it happen; c) The resources you realistically need to do it – so you can make sue they are available and committted (otherwise it won’t happen); and, d)   The key actions you and colleagues will take each month, week and as a matter of daily routine to help keep the momentum and perisistence that is needed going.

Even now most smaller firms don’t have a meaningful marketing plan.  To get something in place that is workable is not a big job – particularly if you are prepared to get a third party like us involved who can lead you through the process with candid, objective insight.  Gathering even just a little feedback from clients and referrers you want to work with can make the exercise invaluable – it enables you to make decisions about what to do faster, with confidence.

For more information, contact Allan Carton  We can get you started (which could be just a half day or our time to get you on the right track )and provide you with guidance (online, by video conference, with telephone support) as you work your own way through the process or we work with you to take you through the process.  It’s your choice on what is most cost effective for you.

Good pointers – where to start with "lean thinking"

If you’re on LinkedIn, it’s worth checking out the comments in this discussion about first steps in introducing lean business processes.  For us, getting leadership from the top and engagement with the people doing the work are the key to implementing lean, focused on improving the working environment, reducing stress, reducing costs and delivering better value to clients. Some background here about our work on lean in law firms.  To find out more and how we could start to work with your practice, contact us here or call +44 (0)161 929 8355.