Our Guest Mentor:
Patrick Leavy is a manager at Farnell Clarke, a Norwich and London based digital accountancy firm that automates clients’ bookkeeping as much as possible, allowing more time on advisory work to create more value for their clients. Patrick previously worked as a Schools Finance Advisor, Management Accountant and Bursar within industry and the public sector before moving into practice.
Patrick also holds an AAT designation, is an ACCA finalist, has a BSc in psychology and lives in Norfolk, England with his family.
Key Quotes From the Episode:
“[On making an impact as a schools finance leader] It’s not just the numbers in the system, obviously we do use them to explain this is what this means and this is what could be down the track but it was really more about bringing in that HR data in particular (as so much of the costs were staff), that non-financial data and turning them into insights and the relationships … becoming a trusted other.” [09:05]
“[On being a ‘trusted other’] You quickly realise being at the top of an organisation can be quite a lonely spot for headteachers … and them realising that they could really talk through what they felt was really important to someone who they felt was not biased because there’s a lot of politics going on.” [10:10]
“[On translating numbers for leaders] it’s much better to think of how the other person thinks, what’s important to them, and quantify the figure you just gave them in terms of something they can relate to. So in schools it was, your figures have dropped by this, that relates to 1 ½ teachers and they immediately go, oh right! Oh my god! What am I going to do, whereas before they would have been glazing over the numbers.” [15:34]
(Other resources and how to connect with Patrick below).
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Key Points From the Episode:
- Patrick goes through the common threads between being a finance professional and his experience of visual direction and music
- Some great practical ways on how to get clients and leaders to engage more with their finance professionals
- The 3 main challenges facing Patrick’s clients and a straightforward bit of advice to reduce business failures.
Time Stamped Show Notes
[02:15] – Patrick shares his fascinating journey from engineering, psychology, a career performing and writing music having 15 documentaries on TV, qualifying as an accountant in the public sector and then becoming a financial consultant to schools before joining one of the most forward thinking accounting firms in the UK.
[06:13] – Patrick goes through the common threads between being a finance professional and his experience of visual direction and music.
[08:47] – Patrick deconstructs what he enjoyed most about being a Schools Finance Advisor and how he made an impact each month.
[11:30] – The biggest challenge Finance can help their leaders and business partners overcome.
[13:37] – A couple tips on how to ensure leaders are getting and understanding their financial information, what he used to do that didn’t work and what he changed to bring the numbers to life.
[16:22] – What’s exciting Patrick about his current role.
[17:40] – What advisory means for Patrick.
[20:00] – The 3 main challenges facing Patrick’s clients
- Money: short term cashflow, keeping on top of it.
- Time: Win back some time for them
- Peace of Mind
[22:00] – A great piece of advice on how to reduce the number of business failures or difficulties.
[22:54] – Some great practical ways on how to get clients and leaders to engage more with their finance professionals.
[28:07] – The resources Patrick recommends finance professionals check out and why.
[30:55] – How best to connect with Patrick.
[31:38] – Patrick’s parting thoughts.
- How to win friends and influence people, by Dale Carnegie
- The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life (2002), by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
- Thinking, Fast and Slow (2012), by Daniel Kahneman
- The Digital Firm: How to change your accounting firm to remain competitive (2018), by Will Farnell
- Strength in the Numbers Show (podcast)
- The Cloud Accounting podcast (podcast)
- Cloud Stories (podcast)
- The CFO podcast (podcast)
- Generation CFO (website)
Connect with today’s guest:
- LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrick-leavy-14874772/
- Website: https://www.farnellclarke.co.uk/