The FORUS Board 6 Month Blog Update

29 September 2022


We’re officially six months into our time as Cohort 2 of the FORUS Board… where has the time gone?!

Great progress has been made on all projects, with more and more actions being implemented at every monthly meeting. Even with small progress being made on the much larger projects, the aim and hope’s still for it to have an impact on the wider business and continuing to make Fortus a great place to work.

So, what updates do we have to give you at our half way point?


Euan Davies – R&D Technical Analyst – Northampton

We've finally cleaned all national data to identify exactly who our MID clients are and who owns the relationship! This is an exercise that'll always be ongoing and evolving to ensure the quality of our data's of the highest standard. We're now underway with our detailed profiling sessions with each CSD/relationship holder to identify what services we're already delivering for each client, what services we don't (and never will) complete for each client and crucially, what services we may have an opportunity to explore with our clients.

We undertook our first profiling session with the Milton Keynes office in early September and off the back we've highlighted potential fee opportunities in excess of £230k, which are now to be explored with Service Line Heads and relationship holders.

For Milton Keynes, the next step's for each relationship holder to take ownership of the opportunity along with the relevant Service Line Head to qualify the opportunity with the client before being recorded formally on SalesForce. We'll be creating a MS Teams channel, where relationship holders and Service Line Heads can access the profiling data for each office to support the progression and qualification process, and where regional leads can then support in driving the opportunities.

For the wider business, Nathan and I will be undertaking these profiling sessions, where appropriate, before the end of November 2022.

A massive thanks needs to go out to Joe Lau at this point for all his hard work on producing and formatting data.
James Levitt – Accounts Senior – Scarborough

What is the Local Strategy?
Well, where have the last 6 months gone?

It’s been a ‘slow’ start to the Local strategy (3YP Project 2). This has been for a number of reasons, the main being:

• Collecting accurate data from each region.
• Quantifying the accuracy of said data and splitting this between all individual service lines.

Due to PowerBi, it'd appear that most issues have now been resolved surrounding the data issues.

Just to jog people’s memories, Project 2 has been designed to highlight the clients whose fees don’t match the work that actually goes into preparing the job – highlight ‘problem’ clients or relationships being held by the wrong people internally.

The strategy focuses on 4 R’s:

1. Reprice – Meaning we reprice the current fee and agree a better fee with the client.
2. Replace – This means moving the existing relationship holder to a better fit.
3. Redesign – This would involve targeting those at the higher end of the ‘Local’ client group, and look at how we can encourage those to become ‘MID’ clients.
4. Resign – When clients won’t negotiate on price, or it can’t be justified those will be packaged up, and hopefully be ‘sold’ to a smaller local firm who can provide the service(s) they need.

So, what have we done?
• Gathered and quantified all data for all regions / offices.
• Had initial conversations with relationship holders in some offices and identified the clients to remove, as they have ‘commercial reasons’ behind the low recovery rates.
• Started the process of moving relationship holders to the ‘most appropriate’ relationship holders – giving members of staff more ownership over clients relationships.
• Designed a strategy for how we approach clients regarding repricing.

What to look out for in your local offices
• Rolling this strategy out to other offices.
• Opening up initial conversations to all relationship holders in remaining offices.
• Continuing to design strategies on reprice & redesign throughout all offices

Please feel free to ask any questions should you wish to know more, or if you have any ideas on how we could best assist you within your own offices.
Joe Eves – Service Charge Manager – Southampton
Shelly Main – Accounts Senior – York

Working together on the Tech Project, Shelly and I continue to look through the useful information and comments received from the Survey.

We're so delighted by the constructive responses we received, and we look forward to setting out an action plan to address the common themes. This will coincide perfectly with the launch of something very exciting at the next QBR…
Rukaiya Tarki – Audit Senior – Leicester

In August, the well-being platform, GoVox, was introduced to a few teams and offices across the business.

This platform provides the opportunity to document your thoughts on how you've felt the past month has gone. Then, users then receive personalised support articles to assist with areas they're struggling with or may want more support on. The initial pilot will be 3 months, and there will be further comms to roll out to the rest of the business in the coming months.

Apprenticeships / Learners
During the past couple of months, I've worked with apprentices for study support for their upcoming exams.

I also have regular updates with Vicki to feedback any issues arising to Kaplan. We're currently working closely with Kaplan to improve the talent coach experience.

In the next 6-8 weeks, further plans regarding apprentices / learners will be discussed, so keep an eye out!

Any queries in the meantime, whether it's regarding a specific course or more general, drop myself or Vicki an email.
Megan McGuckin – Audit Senior – Northampton

As we approach the halfway mark of our time on the FORUS Board and reflect on achievements to date, my immediate thought (subject to noting how incredibly fast it’s gone!) is how far the projects have progressed since our first initial meeting.

The Suggestion Boxes for us all has been a huge achievement, and the responses on this to date have been better than we could've imagined.

Project 7 for me was one I knew I wanted to be a part of from the get go, and the opportunities which have stemmed from this have been brilliant. A brief summary of those, as follows:

Internal Inspirational Speaker Series
Having the opportunity to present the internal inspirational speaker series with Carly and Steve was by far my highlight. The nerves were worth it and I thoroughly appreciated their honesty and enthusiasm. Watch this space for the next episode as we enter Q3.

External Inspirational Speaker Series
Taking on the external series from Hayley was certainly big shoes to fill, and liaising with speakers to organise talks later in the year has been a great experience. Again, watch this space for Q3!

Mentor / Sponsorship Programme
Mentoring for me's been a huge part of my career to date, and formalising this process at Fortus has been a great passion of mine. This project's been ongoing for several months, and developments have been made in recent weeks to progress this further.

Aside from project specific elements, the best experience I’ve taken from the FORUS Board so far's the exposure it's given us all to meet the wider Fortus team and take part in the ‘road trip’ around all the offices.

Here’s to the next 6 month of project progression and being the employee voice for all!
Tom Dovaston – Accounts Assistant – Peterborough

Wow hasn’t the time flown by? As I was warned by the previous cohort, the months on the Board would fly by, however I didn’t think it'd be at the speed it has done so far. It’s a little scary that we’ve already been asked to have initial thoughts about who we should recommend for the next cohort! As I reflect on my first 6 months, feelings of pride and privilege spring to mind. I'm certainly proud to have had the chance to be part of such an amazing cohort, but also privileged to be working with such a great group of people over the last 6 months.

I feel I've definitely gained invaluable experience and exposure to new people and different parts of the business. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the idea of being in a room where everyone's more senior than you can be very daunting, but I feel that every meeting we've my confidence's increasing and I feel that it definitely reflects in the work that I do on the Board. After all, confidence is like a muscle - the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

I've been working with Chris Dell and Rayna McNair who, alongside the rest of the Creative Team, have been amazing at supporting us and getting us all our FORUS content out to you all. I've specifically been working with Chris and Rayna to come up with initiatives to help advance the Sustainable Corporate Social Responsibility (SCSR) 3-year report that they're currently working on.

In a nutshell, the purpose of the project's to develop and further encourage the strong reputation of the Fortus brand through building and executing a significant sustainability contribution, exercised in the three P’s: Planet (our environmental impact), People (our social impact) and Profit (our economic impact). Over the 6 months we've been supporting an initiative programme which fulfils the People and Profit aspects - Curious Entrepreneurs. Founded by an inspiring individual, Alex Hughes, his aim is to support young people (aged 16-24) to develop valuable life skills by starting their own business. Although in the infancy of their journey, what they're currently doing for NEETs (Not in Education Employment or Training) is truly remarkable with exciting aspirations – I'd recommend checking them out.

As part of the project, I'm keen to develop and promote group activities through volunteering activity – these can often achieve more for the recipients, and are a great way of showcasing Fortus's teamwork in action. However, in developing this idea we need to recognise the severe pressures imposed on businesses, including ours, by the current economic climate. So, to put the ideas into action, we’d like to ask for volunteers from every office to help with this. Various individuals may already be doing some of these things outside of work, so we’d love to see a few of these ideas rolled out across the business and collectively come together to participate in volunteering activities.

Please get in contact if you have any ideas, or if you're interested in getting involved!

With six months still left, we’re always keen to make a wider difference at Fortus.

To keep the ball moving for next month, and as we continue to live in challenging times, we’d like to encourage you to share suggestions on how we can make Fortus an even better place to work. For example, what would help to improve your wellbeing? Or perhaps you’d like more social interaction in the office?

If you’ve any questions regarding our updates, feel free to get in contact with any of us!