How Emotional Intelligence is applied at Profitcount

Profitcount is an accounting company based in Helsinki. Our company slogan is ‘coolest bookkeepers in town’, which refers to emotionally driven smart accounting services. Since the change of ownership in 2011, the company has slowly grown in size from 3 employees to 14 employees (May 2021).

Amy Cuddy writes about how important it is to first show warmth and after that competence. This is also the cornerstone when a new employee starts at Profitcount. It has been reminded several times before a new employee starts at Profitcount that everyone has enough competence to guide new employees. If not, we apply techniques on how to solve problems together. However, the most important task is to show warmth in the beginning so that new employees feel welcomed and are able to relax. This is essential for learning. Showing warmth is also crucial in the daily interactions because with only competence and no warmth you just receive envy. By showing both warmth and competence, you will receive admiration from colleagues. When we face hardships, we most likely do not feel relaxed, but our goal then is to feel emotionally relaxed, like a happy warrior. At Profitcount, during team building events, we have listed 10 different ways to show warmth towards colleagues, 8 different ways towards customers, 4 different ways towards family members and friends, and 7 different ways towards new people.

At Profitcount we truly believe in open philosophy and in growth mindset that has been introduced by Carol Dweck. We reach for higher achievements when we keep treating fixed mindset as our enemy and apply growth mindset instead. We apply growth mindset especially when we:

– are thrown with challenges,

– face obstacles and effort,

– face criticism,

– success from others.

At Profitcount, we prefer to reward our employers when they have tried hard and given their best effort rather than having succeeded. We believe that if you only want to achieve success you will not have as much courage when it comes to trying new things and methods.

We are also very intrigued about building a self-aware team based on Tasha Eurich’s philosophy. Usually, it starts from a self-aware leader, and the fact is that very few teams are naturally self-aware. A self-aware team sees problems and may speak about them. In Profitcount we believe in three building blocks:

– A leader who models the way with help of a Leadership Feedback Process and ongoing feedback and commitment:

    • Not just one-time feedback. One-to-one feedback sessions are held 2-6 times a year per employee.
    • Employees give each other scores anonymously three times a year on seven different questions about how much they increase or decrease the overall atmosphere.

– Psychological safety – the safety to tell the truth. It is important to reward the telling of the truth because it teaches employees about their mistakes. When an employee feels safe, the learning curve is faster leading to more happy customers. Not to forget, it is also more fun to come to work even during those rainy mornings. Additionally, employees feel less sick when they feel safe. Though, it must be accepted that not everyone is always going to be at their best. Mistakes are very much allowed, and we place trust in one another. We act with empathy and trust towards one another creating a safe environment to share and collaborate.

– Clear guidelines:

  • No gossiping: aim for honest and safe communication.
  • Always go to the person: be able to have difficult conversations in a supportive spirit.
  • Business is business: be able to have crucial conversations and still be on good terms.
  • Assume the best.
  • We want to practice forgiveness: we are all human and we make mistakes.

Neuroscience of Trust by Paul Zak has inspired us on the following areas:

– Autonomy is very important, and it is believed to enhance motivation. The time of micro-managing is hopefully in the past. Clear areas of responsibility are essential. Once employees have been trained, leaders are not telling how to do tasks if not specifically asked, because we want employees to find their own way to perform tasks. That does not mean that we do not expect results or have the courage to react. We believe that autonomy promotes innovation. This is important because the world changes fast and innovation is essential for future success.

– Low hierarchy and information sharing are also key elements. Every person is equally valuable with equally valuable feelings. Someone’s challenges should not be perceived any more important than someone else’s. The leaders are not supposed to know everything even if they may have to carry more responsibilities. We hope to find expertise from employees themselves and use this individual expertise as an asset. In our open office, information is tried to be shared as effectively as possible. In our weekly staff meetings on Friday afternoons, we summarize the most important content from the week with a glass of Italian wine.

– We build relationships and love our employees. It is nice to see when employees become friends and start to share their free time outside office hours. If the entrepreneur truly loves his/her employees and truly wants the best for them, in their personal lives as well, the team can become close like a family and build a community. This is an ongoing process, but the journey is fun.

– We are all unique and that is why all-around personal growth is important. In Profitcount we help people develop both personally and professionally. Everyone has a scorecard with personal and professional goals. We always encourage employees to reach their personal goals, even if they are not in line with the company goals. In some cases, this will mean the end of the employment relationship, but we believe the outcome is still more valuable to both parties.

The writer is an accounting entrepreneur and certified emotional intelligence assessor at Six Seconds.

How is emotional intelligence applied at your company or in your team? Feel free to comment or send your thought to markus.seppanen(a)