Champion Round-Up | By Ged Cosgrove, group managing partner
In our last round-up, we explored the skills challenge and how many businesses are citing it as their biggest threat right now.
Certain socioeconomic factors – Brexit, the conflict in Ukraine, the cost-of-living crisis – are at risk of exacerbating the problem further. But we’re opting to share positive energy instead by arming clients with knowledge of the benefits that come with investing in the people already within your business, based very much on our own experience.
Focusing on the professional development of your team members builds loyalty and therefore makes your business model more resilient and robust. It also attracts and better retains the best talent available on the market, with prospective candidates kept safe in the knowledge they have progression opportunities available to them.
We’ve always made a concerted effort across the Group to train and mould our own talent. So, at Champion, we’ve worked hard to create an accountancy trainee programme designed to help the next generation of accounting talent to flourish professionally and personally by providing them with a consistent support network to enable them to achieve their ambitions.
We’re currently recruiting for our 2022 cohort, having already made offers to some fantastically talented individuals who we are confident will be our Champion superstars of the future. It’s a pleasure seeing our trainees leave together each week to go to college, having already developed a strong sense of camaraderie amongst them.
The training programme has been in place for several years, with many previous trainees having progressed to director positions in the business. David Herd joined our Blackpool office in 2010 as an audit and accounts trainee and is now group partner; Josh Morris became part of Champion in 2015 and is now head of management accounts; and Nathan Jones, who joined the firm as a trainee 16 years ago was promoted to the role of associate director earlier this year.
Investing into people in this way is also a sure-fire way of identifying the people that feed your company culture, and enable your business to grow significantly. Sue Foster is just one example of this at Champion; she joined us 12 years ago, initially on a six-month contract. It was clear from the moment Sue started working with us that she would be a Champion stalwart, and so we used every opportunity possible to show how much we appreciated her. She retired last month and we want to thank Sue for her commitment and hard work over so many years.
Though we are financial business advisors and consultants tasked with helping grow your business, we’re also an SME ourselves, so we will have been through many of the same challenges your business has at some point. That’s why we offer advice beyond accounting; running a successful business is multifaceted and requires ongoing education. And one of the best lessons we can offer is to always put people – and their success – at the centre of your business. It will make a huge difference to your organisation but, more importantly, will be a pleasure to witness.