In the latest issue of 20, we’ve saluted accounting firms that have shown a forward looking attitude to the evolving world of work, check out our Launch list of best public sector firms below.
1. Newydd Housing Association
Welsh housing association that offers affordable homes for rent and sale to people in need. A ‘door’s-always-open’ approach to leadership, outstanding training schemes, plus a commitment to looking after the posture and lumbar-related issues of its staff.
Llongyfarchiadau! (That’s ‘congratulations’ in Welsh) Elizabeth Lendering, finance and resources director, says: “Thank you! We’re overjoyed to win this award. I’m also very happy – I became an AAT member back in 1978.”
What differentiates Newydd from other firms?
ELIZABETH: Our openness. There’s no manager behind a closed door. Everything is open-plan, and people feel they’re listened to. On induction, everybody has a meeting with our chief executive, and we have monthly staff meetings.
Apparently you’re also big on musculoskeletal health. How?
ELIZABETH: We buy whatever equipment people need, whether it’s ergonomic keyboards or specialist chairs. We even have risers so people can work standing up. When new people start, we give them a medical. A therapist comes in to give massages and treatments, and we have staff dance classes. At the moment, we’ve got 100 Fitbits, so everybody’s competitively walking.
An employee on Glassdoor said: “Few people leave, so chances of promotion are limited.” What’s stopping staff moving on?
ELIZABETH: We have a low staff turnover. Staff enjoy working here. As for promotion, we have a healthy budget for training. If people do want to go off in another direction, we will provide training for them.
Being a charity, do you offer volunteering opportunities?
ELIZABETH: We have ‘Make A Difference Day’, which is community-based and has involved activities such as litter-picking. Whenever staff do charity events, we’ll sponsor them and match whatever they raise.
What else explains your high employee retention?
ELIZABETH: Staff can also set up their own clubs – we provide a sponsorship of £250. We’ll also put on and subsidise any activities staff want. Staff can also get vouchers giving 50% discounts at local restaurants and attractions.
More info: www.newydd.co.uk
2. National Audit Office
The parliamentary watchdog has a traineeship and internship scheme, which includes blog posts by graduates and school leavers. Its sixth-form Motiv8 Mentoring scheme has been well-received, along with its approach towards disability and inclusion. The work is genuinely interesting too: think keeping an eye on government spending, plus the in-the-news BBC audit.
More info: www.nao.org.uk
3. Amnesty International
Joining the finance department of this Nobel Prize-winning human rights charity can involve some overseas travel, as well as the personal satisfaction of working for such a crucial organisation. In Amnesty’s international accounting team, being involved with more than 70 countries ensures the work never gets boring. Employees get 37 days’ annual leave, too.
More info: www.amnesty.org.uk
4. WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature)
Around 350 people work for this conservation organisation, spread across offices in Surrey, Cardiff and Edinburgh. Appropriately for an environmental charity, sustainability is big: a sustainable finance team works with organisations to assess their environmental impact. The WWF is a global organisation, so there could be opportunities to work abroad.
More info: www.wwf.org.uk
5. National Trust
This heritage-protection charity offers fantastic benefits, such as five paid days’ volunteering a year, a staff card offering you and your family free admission to National Trust properties, and flexible e-learning. There’s also annualised hours, whereby you work 10 months and get two months off.
More info: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Christian Koch is a contributor for AAT's members magazine, AT.