Paula on March for Diversity

10 March 2010

March for Diversity – a month full of People Network events across the country combined with a big poster campaign.  The Parents Network is launching our new database – a one-stop-shop for policy, guidance, discussion, seminars, first aid courses, mentoring...  We are having demonstrations in offices across the country from Reading to Glasgow, Belfast to Norwich.


The most exciting thing is that all the demonstrations are being run by volunteers, working parents who feel passionately enough about what the network offers to take the time to share it.


There was a posting on the database last week from a member of staff saying goodbye as she left to freelance and spend more time with her kids:

“It's been a real pleasure being part of your community and you've all taught me a lot.  More than anything I will miss the sheer sense of being in a place where someone, somewhere, has the answer to just about any question you choose to ask. This network has shown me that that is true whether your question is professional or personal, serious or trivial, weird or just wonderful.”

The Parents Network will be one of the things that sticks in her mind about her time with the firm and maybe when her kids are older that might influence her choice to return.  Another recent posting from the mum of a teen started “Help me, my 14 year old has her first boyfriend…” so it’s not just parents of toddlers who turn to the network for advice.


In Partner Affairs we are getting a lot of advice from IT experts at the moment.  We are consolidating access control lists, mainstreaming isolated databases onto the main server, redesigning the electronic Partner Manual, considering how to share technology systems with the Middle East, improving data quality and consistency of partner HR records, and generally streamlining and automating processes and looking to combine partner and staff systems wherever possible.  It’s an amazing education!


No matter what you do you have to be prepared to keep pace with changing technology and changing customer needs.  Then of course you have to follow through any changes you make to one area to ensure you’ve considered the impacts elsewhere.


I’ve put in place a process to combine the monthly drawings paid to partners with the monthly car scheme cash alternative payments.  However, that means I have to change the way the car scheme cash alternative is calculated to pro-rata part months at the time rather than adjusting at the end of the year.  That’s not an issue – I’ve set up an automated process to do that.  However, in the monthly year-to-date drawings statements for partners I will need to show them how their monthly receipts are made up, and that requires a new SAP (our general ledger system) program to report on the ledger postings in a different way.  I’ve designed what I need – now I just need to prepare a convincing business case in order for the funding to be approved, and then explain the requirements clearly enough for the developers to produce the report.


People tell me they could never be an accountant because they don’t like numbers.  In fact I spend most of my time writing (business cases / reports) and designing new processes to push all the number-work away from people and onto computers.


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