One of the largest independent accountancy practices in the area has underlined its continued commitment to recruit more staff.
Whitley Stimpson is looking to employ a number of trainees, including a mixture of school leavers and graduates, who will have the opportunity to then qualify. The firm will also be providing level four and level seven apprenticeships and is also looking to recruit for more experienced roles.
Human Resources Manager Tracy Williams said: “Our ambition to recruit reflects the growth of the company. The appointments available range from managerial posts, support for some of our specialisations, to positions for graduates and school leavers.
“There are now many ways into top jobs, accountancy included, and some of these don’t involve doing A-levels or going to university. In fact, there are now far more students than before opting for the vocational BTEC qualifications rather than going the traditional route of taking A or AS levels. Two of the 2017 trainees have come straight from school or college.”
Whitley Stimpson exhibits at several careers fairs throughout the year to build ongoing relationships with local schools and colleges, offering work experience and trainee positions as well as in-house school sessions to prepare young people for the outside world.
She explains: “The number of students thinking ahead and wanting work experience whilst they are still at school is growing; this is with a view to going straight into accountancy without a degree. Students today have a choice: a degree, leaving them with a large debt, or doing an apprenticeship that provides money in the bank and a three-year career head start. Many now choose the latter. Technology also allows companies to outsource more work, both in the long- and short-term, and when companies choose freelancers they are drawn towards the people with the highest competencies.”
Tracy continues: “What does set people apart these days is their ability to work alongside technology, including apps and online platforms, which in accountancy we are using a lot more of. A traditional education was seen as the safe and the right thing to do, but it’s now very important that as employers we are willing to accept new routes into employment.”
Once on-board new employees can take advantage of well-established and respected training and development programmes. Currently, 13 trainees are working towards their ACCA or ACA qualifications, with six recently qualifying; last year 18 trainees passed exams first time around. In 2016 Whitley Stimpson recruited their first apprentice backed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) on its higher apprentice scheme; in 2017 they employed a further two apprentices who are working towards either their ICAEW Higher Apprenticeship, or level two Business Administration. The firm also has a number of employees taking the CTA tax exams as well as company secretarial, leadership and even social media courses. The firm also has a fantastic staff retention rate and this year sees 14 employees who have served more than two decades with the company: 2019 will see a further five staff members reach two decades of service.
Tracy concludes: “Our philosophy is to promote a culture of continuous learning. Both our accountancy and support staff participate in a number of on-going development programmes, including leadership development courses and external mentoring, and are encouraged to further their technical expertise. A testament to this is that six of our directors trained and qualified within the firm.”
Whitley Stimpson was named by Accountancy Age, the leading publication in the accountancy world, as one of the top ten accountancy employers in the country. Part of the survey was devoted to the opinions of staff members.