We recently sponsored a prize at the Liverpool Hope University Insight to Business Awards. Amongst the likes of Lloyds Bank, Vodafone and Everton FC, a two-week placement at JDA was obviously the star prize! And our winner, Patrick, spent the last 2 weeks of June with us.

We also had Sarah, a 6th form student from St Hilda’s, on a week’s work experience last week. And Emily B and Billie are actually on internships from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University respectively, although they’ve been with us so long they seem like permanent fixtures at JDA Towers.

We really like to offer placements – the experience is really valuable for the students and it strengthens our relationships with the local universities and schools.

But one of the unexpected bonuses is that it gives an external insight into the internal workings of the business.

We do strive to be friendly, while also being professional, so I was really pleased that Patrick wrote the following about us:

“The atmosphere in the office is entirely different to what I (and I’m assuming everyone) imagines when thinking about an Accountancy firm. There are no grey men in grey suits and no dingy lifeless cubicles. There are times when you walk into this office, where you would be forgiven for thinking that you have unintentionally interrupted a family reunion. There is a closeness here that seems to extend to the clients as well. Often when overhearing phone calls around the office, a conversation could start with a business inquiry but by the end sound like two old friends catching up after some time apart.”

And it got me thinking about how we want to be, and actually are, perceived. I know what I want people to think……..but what do they really think of us?

Having someone spend a bit of time in the office is a really good way of testing it. So good that I now have a fellow business owner coming in for half a day in August to give another point of view! He’s even going to interview some of my team without me there.

So, is this something you could do in your business to test how your idea of the business matches the reality? If it’s different, it’s good to know so you can fix it.

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