February’s blog comes from Neil Raynsford, Portfolio Director for Langdowns DFK. Neil works with all kinds of SMEs and specialises in international businesses, and is the firm’s representative for the DFK International Association of Accountants.
Neil is an enthusiastic skier, and we all hope that his booming voice does not set off an avalanche! As a passionate Spurs supporter he is hoping that ‘Arry will not be departing the club before they have successfully secured a place in the Champions League.
Times are Changing
I heard a commentator about three years ago say “Europe could become the new 3rd World if it is not careful”. I remember thinking at the time, “what sort of idiot peddles that opinion, that’ll never happen!”
I have just returned from the DFK European Conference in Barcelona (yes, accountants’ conferences can be fun too!) where the hot topic was not the trouble and strife across the Euro Zone, but the need for innovation and modernisation, not only in our industry but across the continent, as this will be the key to future success.
There was a time when the Europeans were the great conquerors of the world and at that time they represented 20% of the global population, now that statistic is more like 7% and is fast approaching 5%. The growth of the emerging markets in China, India and others is staggering. I can’t help thinking that over the last 20 to 30 years Europe has been resting on its laurels and not moving with the changing world economy.
The problem with Europe is of course the differences in cultures, traditions and attitudes; whilst the German economy is growing at 2%, others are shrinking at far faster rates. How do you reconcile all that?
At the conference there were no such difficulties. There was one opinion that the way to improve the whole, is to concentrate on what you as an individual can influence and improve your cog in the mechanism so it runs as smoothly and as efficiently as it can. We heard several speakers say:
Your clients/customers are the key to your future success
Outperform their expectation
Improve timeliness and efficiency
Constantly innovate your product or offering
Focus on areas you can excel in
Challenge the conventional wisdom
Do not be afraid to try something different
So this is exactly what we shall be doing. Working closely with our clients we continually look to improve our service offering and how we deliver these services to make it efficient as possible.
We’re accountants that like to understand our clients’ aspirations and how we can help them achieve their goals. If we can relieve a businessman of his bookkeeping, so that he can focus on the next big development or look at improving the efficiency of the business, then we are doing our bit to help innovate and modernise the areas that we can control.
And if you are looking to expand your business into Europe or globally we are ideally placed to help. DFK is a global association of accountants and advisers, able to give you local expertises wherever you or your business may need it; be it the local taxes if you are emigrating or the implications of setting up a new company.
So, it doesn’t matter what industry you work in, SME’s are the vital to any economy. The emerging countries will not be immune to the same economic cycles, and Europe’s time will come again. We just need to do the very best we can and improvements will happen.
The DFK Conference is not renowned for an evangelical style, but there was a level of optimism and determination that I haven’t seen at the last few events. There was a strong feeling of “rolling up sleeves” and “if you do not help yourself, no one else will”.
So here endeth the lesson, jump to it…!