"The biggest challenge is getting people on board in the change process"

'Conversation about Growth' with Steef Visser, partner and CEO of Visser & Visser

What is the vision and approach of Visser & Visser accountants and tax advisors when it comes to growth? Talked about this Steef Visser, partner and CEO of Fisherman & Fisherman, with Rob Meijers, partner at 4Future.

This conversation is part of the series 'Conversation about Growth', an initiative of 4Future where we talk to business service providers about growth: what is their vision, what are the challenges, how do they deal with this, and what are their priorities for the future?

Growth through cell division  

“We once started in pairs. And after a few years we came into contact with a very exciting entrepreneur, Eckart Wintzen. He has written a fantastic beautiful book: Eckart's Notes. In it he describes the cell division philosophy. When you talk about cell division, you also talk about growth.
We wanted growth and we did that according to the cell division strategy. This means that an establishment was allowed to grow to about 30, 40 people, and then it was split into two locations. These can then also grow again and then split. And so we have continued to 11 branches in the Netherlands. ”

"We have had the discussion about 'geographic growth is no longer up to date, because growth is done digitally and where you sit does not matter that much.' However, we notice that you will realize growth the moment you sit between a group of clients or potential clients. Otherwise it will not happen. So we are going to start the discussion again in the very short term about how many branches should be added to achieve our growth objectives. "

"Nevertheless, we notice that you will realize growth the moment you sit between a group of clients or potential clients. ”

"Why do we want growth? Because we just can't help it! That is in us and in the DNA of the organization. When Ger Visser and I once started, we said: "We are going to start something, we are going to achieve something, we are going to work on something." And that has never been different. So whether you are two or ten, with 100 or 200 people; the same ambition, the same drive, the same genes, you have them in you and you keep taking them with you.
Then you also see that you gather people around you that suit you. You achieve this by radiating who you are and what you stand for. And you see that new people come to you who appeal to this. Last year we hired 50 new employees. They know what we want and they feel great about it. "

Geographic growth in a world that is digitizing  

“So we have grown geographically. But you can also grow in quality and in differentiation. Because we go for growth, we always take a step different than is usual in the industry. "

“When you digitize, you have to do it completely, and not just a little bit” 

“For example, we asked ourselves the question: could there be another way to create annual accounts that are completely online and that are easily accessible to the customer? What added value can we still offer for the customer? We said, "Yes, we believe in that." I think we were the first office to really get started. And we said rücksichtslos: the whole office is about. If you digitize, if you organize a process differently, then you have to do it completely, and not just a little bit. ”

Growth in quality and in differentiation  

“There is tension in the labor market. But there is also tension to customers. Why? Because the services we provide are being digitized even further, they may feel that they are losing value. How do we keep our customers happy? And how do we keep that customer satisfaction very high? To do this, we must first work on something else, namely the satisfaction, enthusiasm and commitment of our employees.

We have therefore called this year 'the year of the employee'. We work on this in many ways. I will mention one thing: we have a big kick-off of 'Innovation Lab' in Rotterdam tomorrow. We challenged people through videos distributed internally. We ask them questions such as: "Where do you want to go? What do you want to change? What is good for the customer? What is good for the employees? What is good for the process? What are you good at? ” Tomorrow there will be presentations on various subjects. One is talking about process, another about customer approach, yet another about digitization. ”

“We ask our employees questions such as: where do you want to go? What do you want to change? What are you good at? ”  

About Visser & Visser accountants and advisors
Visser & Visser was founded 29 years ago and has since grown to nearly 300 employees. The accountants and consultants work from eleven branches, close to the clients, so that they always know what lives and plays in the region. Visser & Visser not only wants to deliver figures, but also wants to ensure that these customers deliver something. With strategic advice, management information and coaching, always based on the conviction that cooperation is the best way to move forward.

Satisfied, passionate and committed employees  

“We also determined the DNA last year: who exactly are we? In doing so, we have defined that we believe that every person is blessed with a talent. It's about using that talent and sharing it with others. Then you are in your own strength and that automatically means that others can also share in it. That DNA applies to an international specialist, but also to the person who takes care of the coffee. It doesn't matter at all.
Then we asked the question: how do you get that secured in your organization? We will now determine our 'cultural values' within the club. What are the values on which they can appeal to us? We place responsibilities low in the organization: we have confidence in the employees, the management does not participate. Quite exciting, but I have every confidence in it. "

The DNA of Visser & Visser  

“The way we work has changed completely since the online annual accounts. Instead of quietly working out the annual accounts, it has become much more: 'The administration is completely in agreement, but what risks are still in the annual accounts?' You have to focus on that now. Then you really have to get to the core. Not everyone can keep up with that change.

I think that is the biggest challenge for the coming period: getting people to participate in the change. I think we are in the bottom part of the hockey stick. And that the real change that we can realize based on data is yet to come. I think it is sometimes overestimated what will change in five years while underestimated what will change in 10 years.

And can people come along? We will have to invest a great deal of time and energy in this. If that succeeds, then the organization will be doing great. "

"I think the real change we can make from data is yet to come. ”  

About 'Conversation about Growth'

Even now that business services are doing well, growth is still high on the agenda. It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract (and retain) good people. Or the growth is not going fast enough, or insufficient in the desired (future-proof) areas. In addition, professionals often lack the commercial skills and drive to make the most of growth opportunities. In addition, the sector is faced with many new developments in areas such as technology and revenue models, shortages on the labor market and changing wishes of 'millennials'.

'Conversation about Growth' is an initiative of 4Future in which we talk to directors of accountancy firms, consultancy firms and law firms about growth: what is their vision, what are the challenges, how do they deal with this, and what are their priorities for the future?