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When I think about challenges I've had in my past, I think about the two times I completed the “Three Peaks Challenge” in the UK. The challenge involves climbing the three highest peaks of Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours (check it out here). In 2003, I completed the challenge with friends. In 2004, I organized and led a group of people, who before this challenge had never met.

To complete the challenge, a passion for the British outdoors helps. It also takes perseverance, training, and fortitude. As an expedition leader you understand the end goal. You analyze the present situation to make ongoing adjustments. You pay close attention to the environment and weather, as well as the people you are guiding. The same is true in business; owners and managers face daily curveballs. It helps to have qualified, competent support to turn to in those times.

Leveraging my experience, I found novel solutions to bring the team forward together. Everyone had a different style and approach, so each person faced their own challenges during the 24 hours. My role was to ensure the team finished together. Hiking apart from each other in silos would have meant failing the event. Expeditions rarely succeed without careful planning. They're often about efficiency - the route chosen, the equipment taken, the food/drink carried, and so on. But they're also about developing self-sufficiency within a team environment. 

Looking back at these experiences, I often see the similarities to business. Businesses are a mix of inputs (people and other resources), outputs and processes. Processes leverage tools that people use to produce outputs. Businesses that think through its interrelationships create opportunities to empower its people, optimize process efficiency, and strengthen performance. Those that don't, often hit more unexpected roadblocks, which may come at a high cost. During my decade working in a public accounting firm, I saw the impact on many organizations' bottom lines. As Finance & Corporate Services Director at a national charity, I navigated the obstacles that were often unavoidable in a complex restructuring.

Take the budgeting process as an example. Engaged team members who plan their work and related costs have a higher chance to identify both risks and opportunities. The business now has a clearer picture against which to assess its performance. Business decisions for the next 12-18 months can be more data-driven.

Businesses without clearer planning and forecasting may be navigating with too little fuel to reach its goals. Or, the data may not be that great to base decisions on - garbage in, garbage out.

Building for future success requires investing in processes before they're needed. Let 3 Peaks CPA help you in your expedition, and be your guide in its financial journey.

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