Winner, best public sector firm – Newydd

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 shortlist of best non-profit/ 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 student magazine, 20.

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