No one could’ve predicted just how much of an impact the Coronavirus would have on the UK. Businesses and society as a whole have had to adapt very quickly to respond to the crisis. BTCSoftware CEO and co-founder, Rob Ellis, sat down to talk about how the company has been managing with such a rapidly shifting business landscape.
What is the most important company value right now?
Rob: Togetherness. Which may sound odd in our distanced world but as soon as we decided to have everyone working from home – we made that call that a week earlier than Mr Johnson! – Ian, Paul and I were determined to keep everyone talking to each other to ensure that no one felt isolated or cut off.
How is BTCSoftware overcoming challenges?
Rob: All our teams have daily catch-up meetings on Zoom to ensure everyone has what they need to both work and relax. We’ve also set up various company and team level WhatsApp groups to keep everyone connected. The daily chorus of “morning” from everyone on the company WhatsApp is almost as good as being in the office.
Our Senior Management Team has been active in ensuring everyone has a healthy home working environment and work/life balance. The work/life balance issue is particularly important to us. We’ve always prided ourselves on having a strict 8.5 working hours per day environment, and we are doing everything we can to help people switch off and not work 24/7 now that they are stuck at home all of the time.
Finally, our weekly Friday afternoon all-hands Zoom meetings have proved to be a great success. We tend to alternate the weeks between business and social, with the social ones obviously being the best! So far we’ve had quizzes, board games and even had a magician, all washed down with a beer, G&T or perhaps a Coke (other colas are available!)
And how are you supporting your customers?
Rob: This is business as usual all round and, hopefully, our customers haven’t noticed any difference – we certainly haven’t had any complaints.
Our New Business, Customer Care, and Support teams are all working their socks off to ensure our customers have what they need – be that switching an existing customer to our cloud-based products or onboarding new customers to a more flexible way of working.
When lockdown started, we obviously had a lot of demand to migrate from our in-house to cloud offerings. Our Support team were excellent in ensuring the migrations went without issues, and our customers certainly appreciated having all of their data in the cloud without having to learn new a product set.
What are your responsibilities as a leader?
Rob: Staff safety is our #1 priority at the moment. That was why we closed the office a full week before the official lockdown, and it will remain closed until people want to return. We may have people that choose to work from home forever while others will want to get back to the daily office routine.
Whichever way people want to go is fine with us. It’s a complete culture change for us, but everyone is working so well right so why force a change. It comes down to trust, and we trust our people to deliver, and no one has let us down on that front.
Are you still excited about the future?
Rob: Definitely. We’ve never been busier or working harder, and we have some really exciting announcements just around the corner (more on that coming soon!).
If anything the pandemic has fueled us for the future – we now know more than ever that the move to Cloud Computing with more flexible and collaborative working methods is a must and that just goes to underpin everything we’ve been working on to keep our customers connected with their clients now and in the future.
Who is Rob Ellis?
Rob founded BTCSoftware in 1999 with his longtime friend Ian Katté. The first iteration of the software was coded by Rob, which was launched as CorpTax in 2002. Since then, Rob has lead the company to become a multi-award-winning and highly regarded tax and compliance software provider.
Rob enjoys his hands-on role in the company and values the connection he maintains with customers. Listening to feedback is a priority for Rob. As well as being directly involved with the suggestions email address, he attends Accountex each year to understand what BTCSoftware needs to focus on to meet their customers’ needs.
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