Investors in People – Richard Clancy


May 12th, 2022


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Vesta Software Group

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Vesta Investors in People Richard Clancy

As part of our new Investors in People series, we’ll be introducing you to the team here at Vesta Software Group and finding out a little bit more about their journey with us.

First up is our Group CEO, Richard Clancy. Having spent over 22 years with the group, he talks us through how his career has progressed and shares advice for anyone wishing to develop their own.

Richard Clancy Investors in People

How did your journey with the group begin?

During my early career, I held roles in sales, development, operations and procurement at several PLCs. Before being acquired by Constellation Software, I was the Operations Manager of Gladstone PLC’s education division for 10 years, with a team of about 6 reporting to me. Since the acquisition, it has been quite the journey.

The graphic below illustrates my timeline with Constellation so far.

Richard Clancy Group Journey

What does a typical day look like for you?

With the group continuing to expand at the rate it is, I am involved in a lot of meetings! I like to speak with my direct reports as often as I can, so attend regular meetings with our companies, potential acquisitions and more individualised 1to 1 catch-ups. Acquisition calls are a particular favourite of mine. I am introduced to the company we are thinking of investing in and I get the opportunity to share our story – both mine and Vesta’s. I also love hearing their stories and finding out what their vision is for the future of their company.

When I’m not in meetings, my role is spread right across the board. I like to help our new companies with integration best practices, finance, HR, interviews, and sharing my knowledge where I can, while also spending a lot of my time looking at new and interesting companies. I’m also still heavily involved with Vesta Merchant Services, our very own payment acquiring company which was set up as an initiative within Vesta a few years ago.

The nature of my role means I get to travel frequently. I regularly visit South America to support our progress there and make several trips to Canada each year for group meetings with our parent companies Jonas Software and Constellation Software.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love the ‘people’ side of my job – supporting the team and helping them succeed. I always look at my role as being centred around building something so that other people have careers and opportunities to grow. I have always followed the principle that you are only as successful as the people around you, so it really is a team effort.

Is there a part of your role you find challenging?

We’re a software investment company, yes, but we’re not just investing for the sake of it. Our group ethos of ‘buy and hold forever’ means that we never sell an acquired business, and we never have.

It’s quite the promise to make – forever is a very strong word. If you think about anything you do in your life, how often can you say it’s forever? You buy a house – it’s not forever. You buy a car – it’s not forever. The only thing you really have that fits in that bracket is your children. So, looking at our business model from this point of view, when we buy a business forever, we’re making a promise to do everything we can to make sure they’re well looked after and kept healthy.. forever.

It’s quite the challenge, but one we carefully consider and welcome with open arms.

Have you been offered learning and development opportunities?

The group is built around our methodology of sharing best practices, so all employees are offered the chance to attend operating group summits and training sessions. Today, I tend to be doing more of the teaching than the learning, but as part of my junior career, I attended a lot of sessions and got to hear about the experiences of many different people within the group. Being curious about different methodologies of working is key to business and personal growth.

The beauty of what we are as a group is that we’re not one giant company, we’re 900 companies built up of thousands of people. Everyone is willing to help each other, so there’s always something new to learn and best practices to be shared.

I also pick up a lot from every software company we acquire. Recently, GeneXus Consulting joined the group, and with them, it’s very much about developing rapidly in a low code environment which we are currently experimenting out across the group as an alternative technique.

I have been very fortunate to be given the opportunity to secure many firsts for Vesta; we were the first group within Jonas to rebrand, the first to have our very own finance and mergers and acquisitions teams, and the first to enter the South American market.

What advice would you give to someone looking to progress in their career or business?

As a great leader, you need to try and identify what your staff need within your organisation to help them be their best, to succeed and to achieve their goals as an individual and as a group. If you are not thinking like this, I don’t think you, or the organisation can truly succeed.

Secondly, always think about succession planning and making yourself redundant in your role to allow others to grow into that position. If your team can’t cope without you, it will be challenging to progress in an organisation like ours.

On the business side, you need to work out your strategy. Some companies are going to be high profit and low growth, while others will be high growth and low profitability. Some will even do both.

It’s important to figure out where you stand on that spectrum and build a strategy to deliver what you think you can achieve. It doesn’t matter if you don’t grow – you could shrink and still be super profitable, but that doesn’t mean you’re not a great company!

We love getting to know dynamic and client-focused software companies so, if you are a software entrepreneur or business owner who is looking for more than a financial transaction to kickstart the next stage in your company’s life, please get in touch.