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Culture talks

“If we take PKF’s five values, they pinpoint what we as a network care about. If we can create the link between personal and company values, then we can have greater team cohesion and productivity”

Understanding how individuals’ values align with corporate strategy formed a key part of discussions between PKF member firms in November, during our virtual International Assurance and Tax Meeting + Techfest sessions.

The ‘Cultural health check’ session featured illuminating talks from PKF Sydney & Newcastle non-executive director Kylee Dare and David McBain of PKF member firm Johnston Carmichael.

Kylee spoke about firms being open to new ideas and thinking – creating an environment where people can be themselves and not feel they have to conform, fighting against unconscious bias and adapting to change and new ideas.

“If we take PKF’s five values, they pinpoint what we as a network care about. If we can create the link between personal and company values, then we can have greater team cohesion and productivity,” said Kylee.

David looked to break down culture into something that we can all understand – and from that point, act to improve it. Culture, he said, is about the day-to-day behaviours and actions that individuals take. Systems, processes, and an organisation’s strategy will influence those behaviours.

He used the example of the tension faced by the audit profession: it is under regulatory and market pressure to adapt and improve, but the methodologies and processes that underpin audit work lend itself to be more rigid and less open to change. But technology can be leveraged to free up auditors and potentially adopt different working patterns.

“What are the things we can do today or tomorrow that will help us achieve a more agile culture? … If you could pick one item of tech that would make a difference to your organisation, then do it,” said David.

The ‘Take your firm’s culture to the next level’ session involved various PKF member firms looking at the different types of culture an organisation can follow, such as being ‘people-led’ or ‘performance-focused’. Each of the key cultural directions were than analysed and discussed among the session attendees, outlining the positives and negatives of these in context of the direction of a professional services firm.

“What are the things we can do today or tomorrow that will help us achieve a more agile culture? … If you could pick one item of tech that would make a difference to your organisation, then do it”

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