Old Mill invests in its people and doubles shareholding

By Anita Jaynes on 7 January, 2016

West Country accountants and financial planners Old Mill are doubling the number of people owning an equity stake in the business.

There are already 21 shareholders in the business but from 1 January 2016, 23 further members of staff acquired equity taking the total number of shareholders up to 44 – almost a fifth of the 250 workforce.

Simon Cole, board member and one of the co-founders of Old Mill, said: “Many firms in our profession have a business model that sees them restrict their ownership all too often to a small select group of individuals. As a consequence, staff who work hard for many years in helping to build up a business can often see the rewards of this success shared only by a few senior people.”

“We have always prided ourselves on being different at Old Mill – be it our innovative approach to client service, integration of key accounting, tax and financial planning services or providing the opportunity for staff to rise rapidly through the business. We are anything but a traditional firm.

The same is true of our ownership structure, which now sees nearly one in five people who work in Old Mill owning a material part of their business.”

Broadening equity ownership within Old Mill is an ongoing process, and so over the years the business has developed a robust process for determining equity awards, as Simon explains:

“There are a number of factors that contribute to our selection of a new shareholder and significant amongst these is the performance of an individual in their role. However it is certainly not the only factor. We also consider amongst others, the individual’s wider contribution to the business and very importantly their future potential at Old Mill.

“We created 15 new shareholders in 2012, so this second wave marks a significant expansion of our shareholder numbers and we plan to create more going forward.”

Those acquiring equity span the firm’s four offices (Exeter, Melksham, Wells and Yeovil), and cover staff from across the business including Old Mill’s IT and Finance Directors.

One of those acquiring equity for the first time is Dan Knight, 32, director from the Yeovil office. “Old Mill has enjoyed fantastic growth over the last few years, and it is a great feeling to know that my hard work has been recognised. I am really passionate about the business and relish the opportunity to be part of the growth and success we are working to achieve over the coming years.”

Laura Wylie, 34 is another new shareholder and is one of the firm’s tax planners working in the Melksham office.

Laura said: “It is wonderful to be offered the chance to acquire a stake in my 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 and knowing that I own some of it really makes me feel part of a special team that I want to help go places.”

Ian Carlson, managing director of Old Mill, said: “The best way to ensure that we provide our clients with a fantastic service is to employ the best people we can within Old Mill.

“Differentiating ourselves from more traditional firms by offering equity to more than just a few senior partners will, we believe, help us to attract and retain quality staff who are excited and motivated by the opportunity to own part of their business.

“Broadening equity ownership is also a great way to ensure the long term sustainability of the business, avoiding the succession problems that plague many firms in our profession.”

Pictured above: One of the new shareholders, Dan Knight, director of the Yeovil office