With a heritage spanning over 120 years, Bennett Verby is one of the largest multi-disciplinary independent accountancy practices in the North of England with offices in Manchester and Stockport. Bennett Verby specialises in providing accountancy, audit, tax planning and business advice to its clients, who range from start-up businesses to multi-million pound companies. It is renowned for its forward-thinking and innovative corporate culture where client service is at the heart of everything it does.
We are delighted to have awarded Bennett Verby’s Accounts, Audit & Training Manager, Adam Rhodes, our ‘2017 Supervisor of the Year’ accolade. Bennett Verby was also highly commended in the ‘Employer of the Year’ category in our 2017 Annual Apprenticeship Awards.
How have your apprentices progressed in their roles and how has Bennett Verby benefitted from their performance?
When possible, our apprentices have joined us at intermediate level – straight from school. Every apprentice we currently employ is making progress towards the higher AAT accountancy qualification. Once the apprentice has achieved this, s/he has always then been entered onto our company ACCA qualification training plan in order to become charted accountants. Two managers and one director started their careers as apprentices at Bennett Verby.
Turnover at Bennett Verby has increased by 18% year on year. This is a direct result of our ability to manage greater and more demanding workloads because of our apprentices.
The success of our apprenticeship programme is measured not only by the financial rewards gained, but by the growth in the company brand across the local area. We are now well known in many schools across the area as a training company.
How have the qualification and training delivery been of benefit to your apprentices and how has this impacted on your business?
The more advanced our apprentices become, the greater the workload they are able to manage and take on, which then helps to expand the business. We are also confident that they have the correct knowledge and skills required to do the job they have been tasked with.
The new apprenticeship standard expands on what we have been doing with our apprentices for numerous years. As the apprentice gains more technical knowledge in the field of accountancy, we will ensure that the tasks they complete help complement their studies. This allows the apprentice to put his/her knowledge into practice, and revise for exams in their day-to-day job.
What future plans do you have for your apprentices and how do you feel the training may support their future development?
Our ideal is that all apprentices become fully chartered accountants and beyond. However, it all depends on how far they would like to go. The path is there if they are willing to walk it. We are very keen to emphasise that there is no ceiling. This is evident through Neil Jones, our most recently appointed Director, who came to us as a Damar apprentice.
We are committed as a company to hire at least one (two when possible) apprentices every year. Our newest apprentice will be joining us in April 2017 and this year we will be looking for another apprentice in autumn 2017. We can say with absolute confidence that we will be continuing to grow and develop our apprenticeship workforce.
What advice would you give to other employers thinking about taking on an apprentice?
We always consider carefully the amount of time required to support an apprentice/s. You must be in a position where you are able to commit to the hours needed to really be able to get the most out of them. Maintaining high organisational standards is key if you want to manage numerous apprentices at different levels, and then support them through further qualifications.
Here at Bennett Verby, 30% of our total staff base are apprentices. 45% of our accounts team currently are or were apprentices at one point. These percentages are based on an office of 50 staff.
As a company, we have a designated Training Manager who is a qualified chartered accountant who has made himself available one day per week to all students for a “drop in” session should they have issues with their studies or need some extra guidance on technical areas they are struggling to grasp.
What, in particular, has stood out as being ‘exceptional’ about your apprentices or has ‘added real value’ to the team?
To an accountancy firm – more staff members can manage a higher workload and in turn, manage higher turnover for the company.
The commitment that our directors and managers show to the company shows the apprentices that if they wish to go far in this company, they can.
The apprentices bring a real enthusiasm to the office and, as a result, the business can expand through staff base and profitability. There is also the additional benefit that our football team has younger legs to take over the running for the seasoned professionals!