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Are accountants ready to recognise that ‘Value is not a number, it’s a feeling’ for both clients and team?

To take the stage before Paul Dunn at last week’s QBConnect in San Jose, and then to share a stage with Ron Baker to talk value pricing was an honour (and a bit awe-inspiring).
From stage Ron then shared this inspired insight:
“Value is not a number, it’s a feeling”

When I heard this sentence last year it became a chapter heading in my book. This year the same phrase carries even more meaning and seems to underpin the whole future of the accountancy profession.
Here’s why...

The value your clients’ experience and the value your employees’ experience determines the stability and the success of your firm.

A stable and motivated team will deliver great work for your clients. Your clients will then have great feelings towards your firm.

I think Intuit QuickBooks get this.

3 hours after being on stage at QBConnect I’m walking around Intuit HQ, located at Mountain View California, with Ron’s quote ringing around my head still.

And then several numbers show up at Intuit.

The first is a really big one – 46 million people (in the picture above).

The second is a small one – 8 values.

The third number is big – 32 hours – and made it all feel that this is real.

“Powering prosperity for 46 million people and counting” sounds almost unbelievable.

But when you start connecting the dots you can see how Intuit, through QuickBooks Online, connects to 46 million people - 9000 employees at Intuit worldwide (200+ in the UK), serving thousands of accountancy firms and 2.4 million businesses, plus all their employees and the people dependent on those businesses adds up to a very large number!

But how does this make Intuit employees feel?

Gung Ho!

If you’ve read ‘Gung Ho!’ by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles they brilliantly show how to create a work environment so that you can build self-esteem, enthusiasm and motivation.

Their book starts by suggesting:

"Help the team understand how their work benefits the world.”

This refers to the social value of the work, which lies beyond the business value delivered by the team. From this idea of ‘worthwhile work’ comes self-esteem, which is a very powerful motivator.

So, Intuit are connecting numbers (46 million) and feelings by demonstrating the scale of the impact the team are having.

8 values underpin everything...

When Kim Amsbaugh showed me and my fellow international guests around Intuit HQ we came across a list of the 8 values by which Intuit claim to work by. It’s relatively easy to put a list up on the wall – not so easy to live by such values.

However, we’d all witnessed value #7 – Deliver Awesome – because QBConnect ‘delivered awesome’ over 3 days and to 5,000 plus visitors. We’d seen it delivered by every Intuit employee we met from across the organisation.

Don’t take my word for it...

The UK delegation were ‘awed’ by the 3 days. You can see and hear the thoughts in the 60-90 second videos from Will Farnell, James Ashford, Matt Flanagan, Heather Townsend, Rudi Jansen, Karen Rayburn, Aynsley Damery, Jon Stokdyk, Steve Briginshaw, Steve Pipe and yours truly.

But it was value #8 that stood out on the visit to HQ – We Care And Give Back.

The little things prove the point...


And it’s the little things that show this is for real, like the lines in the glass panels of the buildings to stop migrating birds crashing into the glass (you can see our delegation in the reflection).

​The allotments that employees have on site growing fresh vegetables are seriously cool too.

But the fact that every Intuit employee has 32 hours they can use to ‘give back’ turns the value – We Care And Give Back – into reality. 32 hours x 9000 employees is 288,000 hours of giving back – the equivalent to 156 full time employees (40 hrs x 46 weeks).

Following through on the promise...

​The management at Intuit realise that it’s easier for some employees to give time than others so they create on-site opportunities for their people to feel great about giving back and caring.​​

​Here are some of the team packing meal parcels for the homeless and needy in the local districts. Intuit finance the food and the staffing of this initiative 3 or 4 times a year this happens, 10,000 meals each time.

When we were there they’d just hit the 2,000 meal gong.

Listen to Steve Pipe talk about this here.

There were many other insights from the visit to Intuit HQ but this focus on values and the team’s feelings about working at Intuit struck home to me. And therefore delivered on Intuit’s primary (#1) value – Integrity Without Compromise.

If you get chance to go to QBConnect San Jose next year grab it with both hands. In the meantime, why not book yourself on QBConnect London on February 25th and 26th 2019? I’ll see you there.

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