Old Mill shortlisted for top industry award for its innovative approach to rewarding staff

By Anita Jaynes on 26 September, 2016

West Country accountants and financial planners Old Mill has been shortlisted for one of the accountancy industry’s most prestigious awards thanks to its innovative attitude to rewarding staff.

Old Mill, which has offices in Exeter, Melksham, Wells and Yeovil, has been shortlisted for ‘Most Innovative Practice’ at the British Accountancy Awards for adopting a process which allows staff who perform well to acquire equity, no matter their grade or status, as managing director Ian Carlson, explained.

“We have abandoned the traditional partnership model in favour of a true meritocracy that allows everyone to share in the success they help to create.

“Our innovative model allows staff who perform well to share in the success of the firm. We believe this is a much  fairer way of rewarding those who work in the business. In addition, our approach  also helps to solve the problem of succession, which is becoming common within the accountancy industry, and indeed, for professional services firms in general. A positive consequence of this is that we have a business that will be sustainable over the long term, which is great news for our clients as it provides them with the continuity of service which we know they value.”

Old Mill has been using this innovative approach for the past few years. In 2012, the firm more than doubled the number of shareholders to 22. The number then doubled again to 44 in December 2015 and now, nearly 20 per cent of those who work in the business own shares in it. Old Mill plans to increase this further in the years to come.

Ian said being shortlisted for the award gives Old Mill confidence that their innovative approach is having a positive impact on both staff and clients.

“We believe passionately about providing our clients with outstanding service and the key to achieving this is having extremely talented, well trained, motivated members of staff, working in a business that is continually investing to be great over the long term.

“By adopting a more progressive approach to  share ownership, we hoped it would motivate our staff and encourage them to invest time and energy to build a career with Old Mill, which in turn helps ensure high standards of service for our clients. Being nominated for this award is great independent validation that we are on the right track.”

Laura Wylie, is a tax planner working in the Melksham office; she acquired equity in December 2015 and said it is wonderful to be offered the chance to acquire a stake in her business without having to reach the upper echelons of the corporate ladder.

“Both the client work and the colleagues I work with help make this a great place,” she said, “and knowing that I own some of it really makes me feel part of a special team that I want to help go places.”

Judges will be looking at four key criteria when judging the entries – project, culture, technology and what positive impact the project has had on the business. Old Mill are up against online accountants Crunch Accounting, manufacturing specialists Hurst, and South East firms PKF Cooper Parry and Rouse Partners. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony at The Brewery in London on November 29.

Pictured above: Ian Carlson, managing director, Old Mill