Padraic Ferguson, Partner, JPA Brenson Lawlor
JPA Brenson Lawlor loyalists
If you’re one of those nice people who have been clients of ours for a while, you’ll know that similarly I’ve been around for a while too. In that time, I have advised, mentored, cajoled, chastened and encouraged hundreds of start-up and early stage companies. And I can distil the essence of all of that advice to just one word or more correctly, an acronym, KISS.
I just want your KISS
Yes, we’ve all heard of KISS - keep it simple stupid. But if we were better kissers in business it’s amazing the difference it could make. That’s why the KISS Theory should be applied always. Basically, if you have a plan, to grow, to cut, to export, to pivot, anything to do with your business, you should be able to explain both your intentions and your wished-for outcomes in a one-page report.
Time is of the essence
If the subject matter cannot be stated simply in a short report, the report is either missing the point or overly complicating the matter. Now, of course I understand complex circumstances demand complicated reports and the necessary documentation cannot be reduced to a short summary – however a report should begin with an Executive Summary which gives a clear, concise and intelligent outline of the conclusion reached.
The learnings of a Taoiseach
The Executive Summary is the most important part of a report and should be simplest. That summary is my ‘Albert Reynolds’, as this was the short form briefing favoured by the late former Taoiseach. All other documentation that follows and is attached to the report should directly relate and be capable of being understood based on the Executive Summary.
We accountants and our fellow professional lawyers can be guilty as hell of unnecessarily complicating matters. On mature reflection I wonder is that because we may suffer from a little insecurity? If I give a client that one-page summary of my thoughts on a business project will he or she feel I didn’t give it enough time? Or is it me, worrying that I haven’t covered all angles, with an added, unstated, psychological requirement to show the client how much I know?
KISS me quick
If my client can give me the bones of an idea on a page and if I can give accurate and helpful feedback on a single page all I can think is that both sides win. And so should the business. Now is the time to send me a one page KISS? firstname.lastname@example.org