PracticeAccounting FirmsBehind the numbers: eyes on the prize

Behind the numbers: eyes on the prize

As post-Accountancy Age Awards hangovers slowly subside, I thought I would attempt to head off the numerous questions we receive along the lines of ‘why didn’t we win the award’ and ‘how can we win one next year?’

Gavin Hinks, editor of AccountancyAge

So here are some pointers for achieving awards success.

1. Try to focus on changes and improvements in the period
covered by the award – the previous 12 months or so. Keep history prior to the
relevant period to a minimum. It’s change in the relevant period that makes the
difference to the judges.

2. Descriptions of how great you are take up a lot of space
– better to concentrate on examples of how you have changed, progressed and the
difference you have made. Answer the question how do I show we are/I am great?

3. Use the word count and the allowance for supporting
information. Too concise entries often don’t say enough to convince the judges
there is substance behind your claims. Conversely, writing over the allotted
word count does not impress either and could see your entry marked down or even
disqualified.

4. The awards are all about rewarding progress. If you give
examples of your successes try to illustrate how they fit in with your overall
strategy.

5. If you are an individual entering an award try to get
someone to write/nominate for you and make sure your name is in the submission
as well as the entry form.

6. Overcoming personal adversity, while impressive, is only
relevant to the awards if it has had some effect on your work. If it is just
part of your general background and unconnected to work, then it is largely
wasted information.

7. Work on the structure of your entry. Too many appear to
be stream of consciousness efforts which do not convince judges that the entry
was well thought out. Well structured entries are also easier to read and
assess.

8. Please check spelling and grammar.

9. Don’t ignore the opportunity to obtain and provide client
or stakeholder testimonials. Testimonials where the writer is identified are
better than anonymous ones and make sure the testimonials are written with the
entry in mind. Too many are flat references to ‘satisfactory’ work clearly taken
from documents written for different reasons.

10. Please, please, please demonstrate in your submission
how you meet the entry criteria.

Gavin Hinks is the editor of Accountancy Age and blogs
at
insider.accountancyage.com

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