• Register
Return to: Home > Comments > Comment: Connectivity and confidence is about trust

Comment: Connectivity and confidence is about trust

I write this having just returned from the Praxity Global Tax Conference in Lisbon. Not personally being a Tax Geek, I really can’t comment on the content except to say that the evaluation reports all seem to rate it highly.

However, I can say that the one thing that stood out was how interconnected the delegates seemed. OK, some will have worked with each other already, but that’s not what I mean.

Currently, almost all professional firms will say they are their clients’ ‘trusted advisors’ – we even do that confidently within the Praxity Alliance – although as Mandy Rice-Davies said, ‘they would say that, wouldn’t they?’.

Being trusted by your clients is important for the continued success of your firm, for sure.

In today’s interlinked and cross-border markets, where even the corner shop has suppliers from other states or countries, it’s vital to be able to pick up the phone or drop an e-mail to a colleague in another jurisdiction and be confident they’ll support you and your client in the manner you would want.

Such confidence only comes with trust. And this form of trust is not generated by just looking up a name in a directory. Sometimes, you have to rely on a person you trust to connect you with a third person they trust in the jurisdiction you need. But this brings its own challenges.

How do you interact and create this key element of trust? Well, we are all now ‘slaves’ to e-mails, some (even amongst the powerful) to tweets or videoconferencing and, of course, the telephone in one form or another. These do generate varying limited levels of connectivity but, for me, absolutely nothing can compare with face-to-face meetings.

Further, I believe that deep trust and understanding can best be developed if you have shared at least one purely social encounter with a person face to face as well as interacted in a business environment. Perhaps a meal, a sporting event or some other enjoyable non-business-orientated episode.

Which is one reason why, when I travel, I always try to build in time to talk and socialise with my colleagues if at all possible.

Think about it. How often do you ‘bash out’ an e-mail to a colleague or friend or, more fashionably, send an update via Instagram, Snapchat or other social media?

Too often an e-mail can be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Even more likely with messages in social media – just think of what the Twittersphere produces.

When it would be much more effective to talk. Believe it or not, that is what phones, even mobile or cell phones, were initially invented for. Amazing that now we seem to use them for so many other things and forget their prime purpose. There was an old telecoms advertising strapline ‘It’s good to talk’. I totally agree, and I’d go a little further, especially in these days of computer-generated responses and at the dawn of AI.

‘It’s good to talk face to face’.

So, next time you are about to send an e-mail, snap or tweet, stop and think.  Would a phone call be better? Better still, can I arrange to meet the person I’m sending this too and really discuss the issues in depth to our mutual benefit?  And be sure to use every opportunity that’s offered to meet with your colleagues in a non-business environment, so they can truly be called trusted collaborators.  Talk to them.  Face to face.

By Græme Gordon, Executive Director, Praxity

Top Content

    South Africa: sensing new opportunities

    It has been an interesting couple of years for the profession in South Africa. A number of high-profile scandals have brought the profession and the role of auditors into sharp public focus, brewing a distrust towards accountants and a large expectations gap. Joe Pickard reports.

    read more

    Ghana: a quest for consistency

    Ghana’s current economic profile would suggest a fertile landscape for purveyors of accounting services. But inconsistent approaches to compliance and application of standards – coupled with problems in the banking sector and consequent liquidity constraints – have created a challenging environment. Paul Golden writes.

    read more

    Drone technology: audit takes to the skies

    The movement towards a digitised era has already impacted the auditing profession in a number of ways, from blockchain to artificial intelligence. Now firms are taking to sky and using drone technology in their audits. Mishelle Thurai speaks to Big Four firms to find out more.

    read more

    SBC: a new alliance joins the market

    Jonathan Minter speaks to Paul Tutin, chair of founding firm Streets Chartered Accountants, about why the business and its European partners took the decision to launch their own association.

    read more
Privacy Policy

We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.