Image to represent article about teaching an old dog new tricks in business
Category: Expert Opinion
Topic: Accounting

Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

We have all heard, and probably said, such things as: you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; stuck in a rut; set in their ways.

All of these paint a picture of a person that has developed a way of working that may well have been efficient and suited to a set of circumstances but over time things have changed yet the way of working has remained the same.

The key is to have an open mind; to be prepared to consider a new way of tackling a problem; to be prepared to change.

Whilst there may be nothing wrong in sticking with a tried and tested methodology, you can run the risk of missing out on the opportunities offered by a new approach to dealing with an old problem.

You don’t need to be a pioneer striving to imagine new and innovative ways to overcome a problem; the costs and risks associated with such an approach may not be suitable for your business, but cherry picking those ideas and methods that have been developed by others that are most suited to your business can keep your practices refreshed and up to date. Think about it, if your competitors are evolving new ways of tackling a problem such as cost control or delivery of their product or service to the market place and you are not open to change will you lose business because of it?

When I meet clients to discuss their accounts and their tax bills there is the opportunity for much more. We can review the performance of the business, make suggestions or provide recommendations from examples that I have seen from businesses in the same sector. We can share our experiences to try to stimulate change or an environment where change is at least considered.

Earlier this year Randall & Payne merged with Little and Company. Little and Company have been advising individuals and businesses on accountancy, taxation and business matters for over 50 years and I have been with the firm for 15 years.

Never has it been more obvious to me that I, along with my Little and Company colleagues, need to be open to change! Just because the way we have worked for many years got the job done, since joining the Randall & Payne team, it became clear that we could work smarter for ourselves and for our clients.

An obvious example is the less paper working environment of Randall & Payne. I would like to say paperless but the merger of the two firms and the mountain of files we have brought with us has had a big impact on the overall “match statistics”, at least until a lengthy process of scanning the files has been completed!

Randall & Payne have been investing in working in a shared electronic manner utilising the flexibility offered by the cloud for some time. The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has only served to accelerate that process to enable a safe working environment to be created to ensure that client service has been maintained in the most testing of circumstances.

All of this has only been possible by having a mind that is open to change.

This “old dog” is determined to embrace the possibilities on offer; to have an open mind. Even though I know I will need to remind myself of this on occasion.

So, can you teach an old dog new tricks? You can if they have an open mind!

Flexibility and the willingness to embrace change could make you and your business more desirable and keep you ahead of the competition, but it is all too easy to be unsure if the changes offered are right for you. Using your business’ financial reports and talking to an advisor can help ensure that you are making the changes that will benefit you and realise continued success. If you would like to talk your situation through with Nicholas, please arrange to have a chat with him on 01242 776000 or