During the build up to launching our business in April 2013 we decided to set up partnership with a management company which provides us with a trade finance solution. This ensures that all contractors are paid on time.
This is of course very important and the system worked really well. Contractors would submit their online timesheets weekly, get paid fortnightly by our partner company. Momentum Search and Selection would invoice the client fortnightly and receive the funds into our bank account.
However, in July 2015 we decided to change this. The idea was to create more time for myself as I was spending around one day per week invoicing clients and chasing debt. This is not the best use of my time, although very important. We moved over to a solution where our partner pays the contractors, invoices the client and collects the debt.
Perfect! More time for me to focus on developing relationships.
This is where the problems started:
I would like to be 100% clear that we have a very strong relationship with the management company which we work with. Their help, support and patience have allowed us to have peace of mind of paying our contractors on time and their solution allows us to grow Momentum Search and Selection without fuss.
However, we did have the problems below:
- We sent letters out to all clients explaining what we had done, the reasons behind this and that they needed to pay the funds into a different account. Every client made the first payment of the new regime into the wrong bank account!
- We now have an online portal where I can check the candidate and client invoices. We had some teething problems with the testing of this system and some invoices were sent out with errors on them. This is because I was not trained on the new system and approved some invoices in error.
- One of our clients has moved their accounts department to an offshore location. This made communication which is largely by email difficult. We did not really take them through the transition to the new world. Invoices were not approved, debt increased and I was actually doing more work trying to resolve the payment issues.
I should have asked the advice of a Change Manager before embarking on our little change journey.
Instead, I had a meeting with the management company, reviewed the new solution and thought to myself. “How difficult could it be?”
What would a Change Manager have done differently?
- The Change Manager would have sought to understand the goal of the Change which was to create more time for myself and allow the experts to do what they do best. Initially I was doing more work not less.
- The Change Manager would have had a Change plan. We had an agreement to move to the new world on Monday 6th July and we sent a letter to our clients accounting departments to explain this. It certainly did not work smoothly in the weeks that followed.
- The Change Manager would have done a business impacts assessment. We did not consider the challenges of working with a client which has their accounting department offshore. We did not involve line managers in the change process so invoices were not getting approved.
- I did not really do any training on the new portal, mistakes were made and some invoices were sent out in error.
- We did not have a transition plan. We pretty much agreed that we would move over to the new world on 6th July and expected everything to work perfectly. Well, I did at least!
At this stage Momentum Search and Selection is a small company, we aim to grow over the next few years. Imagine dealing with these problems in a larger organisation, this did not bring our business to a halt but it did not help us either.
I hope that this gives you an insight into why Change Managers are worth their weight in gold. This process has certainly cost us time and possibly money. This is exactly the reason why organisations should not embark on a change initiative without the help of a proven Change Practitioner.
P.S. Momentum Search and Selection would like to confirm that all contractors were paid on time during this change experience.
Momentum Search and Selection is a recruitment partner which provides Executives and Independent contractors who excel at project, program and change management delivery.