Excuse me everyone while I tell you something you already know! Sometimes, life gets in the way of work, or of course, vice versa. All seems well, you’re nailing the work/life balance, you’ve settled into the rhythm of your routine, until suddenly and inevitably, seen or unforeseen circumstances arrive to throw you all out of whack. Cheers for that.
Recently, I was faced with just such an occasion. A family situation required me, my wife and my kids to pack our bags and head to South America to spend a total of six weeks in Argentina. It happened to be at a particularly busy time for RBK – though those times are becoming the norm – and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t view the prospect of the trip with mild trepidation. How was I going to conduct my business from the other side of the world, with minimal disruption to my productivity and performance?
That was the challenge before me, a challenge that I’m happy to say I not only overcame, but embraced. Now that I’m back in business HQ, I thought I’d share my trip’s tips and tricks; the key factors that allowed me to continue business as usual, even when life was anything but.
LIFE BY DESIGN
I’ll break no ground by telling you this; successfully confronting any challenge begins with attitude. I took my queues from the Life By Design thought process. Simply put, it recognises that yes, we all need to work, but questions how we can incorporate work into our lives in a way that enables us to achieve other goals, and engage in other passions and parts of our identity. Ultimately, this is what I was seeking- to fulfil many aspects of my life simultaneously.
It’s fundamental to the health of my family that we spend quality time together, and the health of my family is paramount. I consider it incredibly important that my kids have an appreciation of their mum’s side of their family, their country and their culture – which was the reason we decided to spend such an amount of time in Argentina.
Thankfully, with the awesome support of the RBK partners, staff, and clients, I was able to enjoy and contribute to my family and my work at the same time.
SOFTWARE FOR SUCCESS
The truth is, I was at quite an advantage from the outset. RBK Advisory is a business designed and operating in a manner that promotes adaptability. Of course you’ve heard from us more than once about our celebration of software, and our belief that embracing new technologies will truly free you to conduct your business more efficiently. Well, this trip was proof of that assertion.
I was powered by full cloud functionality and specific software tools. Trello was brilliant for managing workflow, Xero of course for accounting, workpapers and tax returns, while I employed Spotlight & AccountKit to keep on top of the monthly reporting. For real-time internal communications with RBK staff I used Slack – and was even lucky enough to attend the weekly staff meeting in my trusty Argentinian cowboy hat! I was able to have new client meetings, run staff meetings, review work and even had the initial job interview with one of our superstars Amy, all whilst I was walking through a forest in Southern Argentina. Additionally, I used Practice Ignition for the proposals for new clients that I was able to meet via Skype and Zoom.
Software – help it, help you. Embrace the interconnection, and physical location really diminishes into insignificance.
With such a dependence on technology, security is an understandable concern. Keeping client information safe is always a priority for our team and as such, we have an external IT company that helps to manage our systems. Computers are monitored (from anywhere in the world) to ensure there are no data breaches and we have developed layers of security authentications that each team member has to use in order to start work.
That’s a lot of security… but we went a step further. Static IP addresses set up on certain devices means that team members can only work on those devices from certain locations. In other words someone in another country trying to get into our systems will certainly fail.
We are constantly reviewing our security measures to ensure that we stay on top of changes within the industry.
WHENEVER, WHEREVER, WE’RE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER.
Another statement you hear from us often; you’ve got to enjoy how you spend your days, so you’ve got to love what you do. I was certainly able to do that. Traveling through Buenos Aries, I found myself grabbing a seat at a coffee shop, just for a couple of hours to keep on top of what was happening with RBK. Their café culture would rival our own, and while sitting in the beautiful marble surrounds of Café Tortoni – open since 1858 – I was able to bill with impressive regularity. So much so that the other partners would probably prefer me to be there, rather than at The Brown Cow in Hampton!
It occurred to me that many a revolution has been planned in Buenos Aries, how ironic that we are now in the midst of the accounting revolution!
What’s not so ironic? That RBK’s commitment to a business structure and culture that celebrates and empowers its people, afforded me not so much a 6 week challenge, but a 6 week opportunity.