After having taken some big steps, a beautiful journey lies ahead
By Roland Ogink, deJong & Laan
People take steps with a goal in mind. They want to get somewhere; reach a point on the horizon. The same applies to us. Sometimes, we move towards our goal in a straight line, while at other times, the road bends or has side paths. Straight ahead with a bend every now and again. The point on the horizon is clear to us; to become the best audit practice for SMEs!
One of my most important drives is to make the profession more attractive. Convey that we’re constructing a beautiful audit practice with an even more beautiful ambition. I energetically communicate what an interesting sector to work in our sector is. Especially in an office like ours, in which tremendous steps have been taken in recent years. We have an immense drive to realise our ambition. Our drive ensures that we embrace the changes we experience along the way.
This isn’t always easy, because we can’t do everything at the same time. Changes demand habituation. Sometimes, conflicts arise between the greater good and the interests of a service, branch or even an individual employee. But, we have a good work environment, and everybody clearly understand what is in our greater interest. This is beneficial in making the right choices.
“We have a good work environment, and everybody is clear about the general interest.”
‘Clearness’ is the starting point for every step we take. Clearness in our way of working, our adherence to rules and regulations, and in the way we treat each other. This ultimately increases the quality of the work we produce and our enjoyment at work. By providing more uniformity in the service we provide and our working method and operations, customers know what they can expect from us. At the same time, we also know which customers suit us and which don’t. Thus, clearness is of the utmost importance, and the reason for us releasing our quality report.
High quality through a critical view
Clearness can also be found in the three pillars that the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) uses to investigate the implementation and securing of change trajectories:
- Overview & control;
- Behaviour & culture;
Our steps for improvement have been set up in line with these subareas
A few examples of things we’ve been working on last year:
- Creating uniformity in our working method and rewarding system. From whichever office we assist the customer, he or she can always rely on the same support, working method and costs. The implementation of modern working with data analysis also contributes to this.
- By centralising back-office activities, there is more time to focus on the customer case itself. This is pleasant, because in addition to the continued implementation of automation, personal knowledge and connection with and attention for the customer (together making up what is often called “chemistry”) remain very important.
- This chemistry is just as important among colleagues. This is the only way for our auditteams to function optimally. More contact moments to exchange knowledge and experiences arose. In this, there is space to draw attention to our behaviour agreements. This might sound a little patronising, but these agreements create calmness and clarity concerning the framework within which we act, without harming our high quality standards.
- We critically evaluate our own actions, but also our customer portfolio. Based on clear guidelines, we determine whether we want to execute an audit assignment for a customer. We look at the assignment, cost, available knowledge, required team and impact on our employees. Our employees need the space to execute their work activities at a qualitatively high level, without placing too much pressure on their work-life balance.
Our profession and our audit practice is becoming increasingly appealing
Many of the steps we took in 2017 will be further rolled out and secured in 2018. We are already seeing clear results. We are working more efficiently, effectively and are more involved. We tackle bottlenecks sooner, produce good work, limit write-offs, and are seeing our revenue grow.
Using our ‘Quality Plan 2018’, we will also be focusing on these three subareas in 2018. We will continue implementing changes and launch various new projects. One step is the outsourcing of indirect work activities by further setting up our front and back office. By doing so, audit teams are given more time to attend to customers and process control is increased.
“I am very happy with the prevailing culture within our organisation.”
The further digitalisation and roll-out of data analysis will also contribute to this. Additionally, we will continue to consciously choose to invest time and attention on appealing customers that fit within our culture.
I am very happy with the prevailing culture within our organisation. We have a pragmatic approach, and the human dimension is a major asset. We have an eye for each other and the commitment to work on this challenge together. It is not always a paved road; there are loose clinkers, and sometimes it takes time and effort to find the right path again together. There is certainly room for improvement; we are continuing our development.
More connection between the audit practice and the other services of de Jong & Laan positively contribute to the speed with which we are approaching our point on the horizon. I am proud of our organisation and everything we have managed to set in motion and achieve together. Together, we are building an amazing company.
Recently we launched our second de Jong & Laan quality report. In this multimedia report we give transparency a deeper meening. At the moment there is really a lot of going on for audit companies in the Netherlands in e.g. business-, partner- and revenue model; quality; culture & behavior and innovation. In our multimedia report we give understanding and practical positive impact to those things in our ‘de Jong & Laan-way’! Be welcome to visit https://www.jonglaan.nl/kwaliteitsverslag-2017
Published: May 2018 l Photo: deJong & Laan