In his eleventh blog, Ethan continues to write about experiences from his Business Officer Apprenticeship at Leeds East Academy:
Evolution, adaptation, dynamic, progressive are all synonyms of the word change. We all face change. In our business, staff change, selected suppliers change, student’s grades change, classes change, management changes. A wise man once told me “Changes happen, the question is what are you going to do about it?” I hope through this blog I can show how I have changed and what I have learnt because of life’s experiences.
As a member of the administration team, we experienced a big change as one of the receptionists left at the Christmas break. Due to these circumstances, I have had to cover main reception. The most important skill for covering main reception is communication; a high level of communication. It seemed at first, that either you knew where to direct calls and queries or you did not. As I was sat on reception, I remembered that communication is just as much about listening than it is about talking. We have two ears and one mouth; sometimes we should use them in that ratio. I did exactly that, listening carefully to whomever I was speaking to and asking the correct questions. By doing this, I was able to be concise, clear and effective in responding quickly to the changing situations.
Accountancy is a dynamic profession. The data produced is highly unlikely to ever be identical; however, the processes may be similar. This half term, at college I am learning about the different elements of costing. Costs of a business behave in different ways. Some costs are set at a fixed price and some are variable dependent on the activity level. At college, I am learning about how budgets help a business plan for the future by looking at variances in past spending. Variance is just another way of saying change. Our business is dynamic because we look to maximise the expenditure of the business and get best value on purchases.
Further to my learning about budgets and forecasting, our finance manager gave me practical training on purchase commitments. As in most jobs, mistakes are made and it often leaves a trail. When an order is placed, the organisation commits to spending that value against a budget and ultimately the school’s finances. If an invoice is not processed against the relevant order, that order remains a commitment to the business until it is cancelled. In order to report accurate budgets the commitments must be up to date and the business must still be awaiting an invoice for goods ordered. By ensuring that the business has accurate up to date budgets, we can also ensure a more accurate financial position ready for potential growth and change.
During a training meeting I had last week, myself along with the other apprentices were faced with a number of different scenarios. However, there were no right answers, a key component of leadership kept coming up in each of the questions. Staff are your number one priority. I learnt that maintaining trust between you as a leader and the staff is essential particularly through changes in the organisation. As we discussed different scenarios, someone commented that no member of staff is irreplaceable, regardless of position or performance, if they cannot meet basic standards or comply with company policy. Each time I am present at the apprentice training meetings I learn at least one valuable lesson and this time it was through change staff trust is the most important thing.