27 Mar Business Brains: Faye Watts of Fuse Accounting
Business Masterminds: An Interview With Faye Watts
In the next in my series of interviews with business owners that I admire for their ability to just get on with it, I am interviewing Faye Watts, one of the founding partners of Fuse Accountants, with her own business strategy and performance consultancy service at www.fayewatts.com
Faye, tell us about what you do…
I’m one of the founding partners of FUSE Accountants, a small accountancy and business advisory firm in London. As much as the accounting element is fundamental to what we do, my role is to develop corporate strategy and tax planning opportunities with our clients and help them with business growth. As managing partner, I’m responsible for ensuring the business sends out the right message to our clients and prospects and that our fantastic team of people believe in and feel part of the values of our brand.
How many people do you have working with you?
We currently have a core team of 6 in charge of client interaction and engagement, and have another 3 team members with other part-time equally important designated roles We are currently recruiting for 2 more excellent people to join our core team but we’re always looking for the right people to join us.
How do you set your business goals – e.g. every 90 days etc?
We believe in setting specific annual and quarterly financial targets. These are then broken down into monthly targets which enable us to focus on the jobs that we need to do each month and the turnaround and billing thereof. This is shared throughout the team and we are very transparent about this with the team so that we all work together to meet the targets for the growth of the firm. We have monthly overheads and staff costs to sustain which are our priority, and this is why financial targets are so important to fulfil. Although other goal setting allows for creativity we have to be commercial when responsible for our valuable team of staff. We do of course set non-financial goals alongside our financial targets, and these are set out to enable us to improve systems, motivation, turnaround, debtor recovery and autonomy within the workplace.
How far ahead do you plan?
We always plan at least 12 months in advance with actual targets but beyond that we consider more flexible targets. This keeps us focused on the immediate task in hand but with a subtle eye on the future. It is possible to over-plan so anything beyond 12 months is quite casual, but at least documented.
How do you measure your achievements?
Personally I like to set goals that encourage better self-belief and opportunities. I’m naturally a creative thinker and like to focus on experiences in life being a measure of success and achievement.
What would you say is the main driver behind what you do?
Strangely I still love what I do but not always the mundane routine that comes with it so I’m a keen delegator; this way I get to keep doing what I love doing, giving advice and helping businesses and individuals for financial growth. I’m very commercially driven but that doesn’t mean I only chase the money, as I want to have the freedom to help people at any level. I believe in systems and structure and cannot cope with mess, chaos and uncertainly so I’m always planning and looking for improvement, and I don’t suppose I’ll ever stop. My mum always said if you gave me the moon, I’d want the stars, as I love doing new things and pushing myself into new challenges.
What tasks do you hate and how do you make sure you get them done?
I dislike doing or being involved in anything that has a negative impact and I hate not delivering or meeting expectations made of me. I am human of course! But I have always said if you hate doing something you must stop it straight away, as hate is not something anyone should have time for in life.
What are your best tips for hiring the right staff?
Honestly, I’m still finding this out. I think profiling is essential, as is gut instinct. For me, attitude is more important than ability overall. I now do all initial interviews over the phone as this gives you a real picture of attitude and avoids initial judgement, and then follow up with a face to face interview if they have the right attitude. I look for the key attributes in a person that I think are best suited for the role by mind-mapping personality attributes we want and then choose the most important 3-5 from that list.
What are your best tips for motivating staff?
Ensuring the team work together, and we all have something to look forward to and celebrate after each key deadline. We listen to our staff and involve them in all decisions so they feel an integral part of the team. We give them independence and trust their initiatives and build a good relationship with the team.
What’s the best business decision you’ve ever made?
Setting up a business. It has been the hardest and best thing I’ve done but it is not for the faint hearted, I’ve worked long hours and had to focus good and hard on every decision and I’ve never taken things lightly, and sometimes I’ve wanted to quit! But then I remember why I did it and the independence it has given me. I still have hard days and sometimes I’m on cloud 9, so you have to learn to take the rough with the smooth (and either can be extreme).
What’s your biggest challenge (anything from raising money to something personal you have to work on)…
Delegating. I’ve always been a control freak and like to do things 100% and that is a hard habit to break. To be successful and have the freedom in life I want I have to let go more, and I’m working on that.
What’s been your biggest step outside your comfort zone and how did that work out for you?
Asking for help, I’ve always had strong conviction and beliefs and I still do, so it has been sometimes alien to me to ask for help. I have a great collection of business friends and resources around me and knowing people in the same boat as me has been life changing. I’m still learning new things about myself and one of them is asking for help is ok!
Finally, what piece of advice have you been given has been the most helpful?
Be true to who you are and what you do, never chase the money, success comes from a good heart and a strong mind.
You can find out more about Faye Watts here