There are a number of firms who claim that their culture is key to their success, yet this is the first business I have worked in where it is actually tangible and not something that exists in the ether. There is also a level of trust that the business places in your work that allows you to operate in without the constraints of other matrix-based organizations.
Having worked in businesses where there is a significant hub of activity dedicated to creating and converting new business development leads, it has taken some adjusting to a business that maintains and nurtures its networks to maintain and grow the business. Whilst there is a team to identify and develop new leads, the vast majority of business is from referrals which confirms that we are delivering a high quality service.
There is a mantra / principle at Berkeley of always doing what is right by the client. This may sound like a given for any business trying to operate both honestly and sustainably, but in an environment driven by a focus on shareholder wealth, this can be seen as a conflicting view. To hear and see in practice from the owners of the business that they will always do what is in the best interests of the client rather than take the opportunity to sell something that is not absolutely necessary purely for financial advantage, whilst not surprising to me, can seem contradictory to those from a sales-focused consultancy background.
Integrity and professionalism are the key values that were instilled in me by my mentors and coaches during my initial roles and throughout my early career. Given the nature of the Finance roles I have held, it is not surprising that these values are a necessary foundation to underpin the stewardship and work I have been involved in and responsible for.
There will always be occasions when there is a desire for specific outcomes and only by ensuring you are robust and independent, whilst balancing commerciality, can you feel truly comfortable with your work and the financial outcome.