National Apprenticeship Awards 2014Goringe Accountants Short-Listed For Prestigious Award

Goringe Accountants has beaten off competition from hundreds of entrants to be short-listed for “Small Employer Of The Year” award in the National Apprenticeship Awards 2014 Thames Valley final.

National Apprenticeship Awards 2014

The National Apprenticeship Awards, now in their eleventh year, celebrate the achievements of the country’s most outstanding apprentices and Apprenticeship employers. The award winners will be announced at a ceremony organised by the National Apprenticeship Service which will be held at The Hilton Hotel Lydiard Fields, Great Western Way, Swindon on 18th September 2014.

Sue Husband, Executive Director Apprenticeships and Delivery at the Skills Funding Agency says:

Apprenticeships are thriving in England, and it’s not hard to see why. They offer ambitious young people and adults unrivalled career prospects, and give businesses an exceptional route to grow a highly qualified and motivated workforce.

The National Apprenticeship Awards recognise the best of the best and are an excellent opportunity for individuals and employers to gain the credit they richly deserve for investing in their own futures.

I am delighted that Goringe Accountants has been short-listed, and would like to congratulate them on this success. All of the finalists should be extremely proud of their achievements.

All the Thames Valley winners will proceed through to a final national judging stage and the highest scoring Apprenticeship employer entries nationally will have the additional honour of featuring in the acclaimed England’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list, which will be produced by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with City & Guilds. The national award winners will be revealed during an awards ceremony at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham on the 13 November 2014.

Goringe Accountants and Apprenticeships

Our commitment and future plans for the Apprenticeship programme

Nicky Goringe Larkin, Managing Director of Goringe Accountants says:

We think it’s very important to train the next generation of accountants. Investing in apprentices is very much in line with our overall business strategy: to support growing businesses and grow with them. Our apprentices have this opportunity to grow with us and our clients.

Nearly one third of the current Goringe Accountants Ltd. staff started as apprentices. One of our senior account managers qualified through the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) training route, so we know how well apprenticeships can work. We have looked at hiring new graduates, but we found that new apprentices were just as intelligent and keen, so our new strategy is to hire apprentices.

We see apprentices as an integral part of our team. Here are some examples of apprentices:

  • Two of our accounting apprentices each work in an account manager’s team, so they get lots of on-the-job training. As their training progresses, they’re given more complex tasks. The idea is that once they’ve finished their apprenticeship they then go on to complete one of the chartered accountancy qualifications (another 2–3 years training to become a fully qualified accountant).
  • One of our business administration apprentices is part of the operations manager’s team. Once her apprenticeship is finished we hope she’ll continue to work within the ops team.

Our apprentices take on the more junior tasks for a client account, so it frees up our account managers to do higher-level work for bigger, more complex clients. As a company we’re able to offer both business/accounting strategy and day-to-day accounting services. Since we took on apprentices, our turnover has doubled — I believe they’ve contributed to this growth.

We intend to take on new apprentices every autumn. With the more experienced apprentices helping the new intake.

Benefits that Apprenticeships have brought to the business

Our apprentices have devised, documented and implemented a ‘new client process’, which means every new client experiences the same high levels of service, all the appropriate information is gathered and everything runs efficiently. This also makes it easy for new apprentices to slot in — everything is very clearly set out and process-driven. Our team has always been process-driven, but I don’t think this would have happened without the apprentices; they have the time and enthusiasm to complete this sort of exacting but vital task.

We’ve been able to increase our margins (as our apprentices handle the bulk of the more junior accounting tasks), whilst still delivering a very high standard of service to our clients.

We’ve recently taken on new clients where an account manager and apprentice work on it jointly. The apprentice handles typical accounts clerk activities (like bookkeeping and payroll), which frees up the account manager to work with the client on planning and direction. Previously this more cerebral work might have been limited as the account manager was too bogged down in the detail. The client benefits from this as they get to spend more time with their account manager. Plus this improves our margins on our fixed-fee clients. For example, previously an account manager might have spent 10 hours on management accounts, whereas now they only have to spend 1 hour reviewing them because the bulk of the work has been completed by an apprentice.

As a growing practice with multiple career opportunities available, we aim to hire all our apprentices in the long term (subject to certain criteria). We’ll spend less time (and money) on recruitment because we’ll only be hiring at that level and then training and promoting from within. We plan to reap the benefits of our investment as we’re ‘home-growing’ staff who will already be versed in the ‘Goringe Accountants Way’!

We’re nearly two years into our first apprenticeship and the whole experience has exceeded expectations. They’re all very quick learners and it didn’t take long for them to become an integral part of our business.

How our apprentices have benefited from training with us

We think it’s disappointing that so many practices out-source more junior work abroad. Our policy is to keep this in house so that a) our clients have continuity of care and b) our trainees get a broad grounding in accounting practises.

One of our longest serving apprentices says:

I’m getting really good core knowledge; I’m learning the theoretical side (different types of accounting techniques, laws and standards) at the same time as putting it into practice. What’s great about being here is I’m gaining experience of a broad range of work — I’m not just pigeon-holed into one area. I get to do a bit of bookkeeping, payroll, statuary accounts, tax, a bit of auditing… everything! And I’ll be exempt from doing some modules when I come to take my chartered management accounting exams.

I feel like just another member of the team here. As apprentices we’re not singled out as different. I don’t think about it, really. The only way we’re different is that we get flexible study leave. If I’m studying on-site in my lunch hour and I get stuck on anything, I’ve got all this knowledge and expertise in the other room. Everyone’s really helpful.

Why should apprentices work at Goringe Accountants

We truly value our apprentices; we reward them as they progress within their role and as they pass their exams. We give them time off to study, pay them approximately 30% above the market rate and award them a pay rise at each minor milestone.

In line with our corporate strategy, we require our senior people to invest time in the development of our junior team. Each apprentice is line managed by a qualified accountant, who actively supports their training.

The apprentices are included in the team bonus scheme — with targets to reach and financial rewards to be enjoyed. There’s a quarterly brainstorm when everyone suggests improvements to how we work. The apprentices make a fantastic contribution to this and as a result they’re a vital part of what we do for our clients.

We 100% believe in the principal of apprenticeships, so we talk about it:

  • We regularly have school/college students here doing work experience, so they get to see how our apprentices work. Hopefully this first hand experience means they see apprenticeships as a viable alternative to university.
  • We share our success with our clients and encourage them to take on apprentices.
  • Our apprentices are always involved in our events, so they’re actively demonstrating what a valuable part of the workforce they are to our clients and partners.

Nicky concludes:

Our apprenticeship scheme has been an all-round success. They’re getting work experience and a well-recognised qualification. We’re getting exceptional new talent to build our team.

Interested in applying for an apprenticeship?

Please see our Careers page for details

Background Information

About the National Apprenticeship Awards

The National Apprenticeship Service challenged the nation’s top Apprenticeship employers and apprentices to come forward and show how Apprenticeships have made a real difference to them. Now in their eleventh year, the National Apprenticeship Awards are an opportunity to highlight the many success stories and the benefits of Apprenticeships.

For the fourth year running the very best employer category entries will have the additional bonus of featuring in the prestigious annual Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list.

The award categories are:

Apprenticeship Employer categories:

  • Small Employer of the Year (1 – 24 employees)
  • The Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies Medium Employer of the Year (25 – 249 employees)
  • The BAE systems Large Employer of the Year (250 – 4,999 employees)
  • The BT Macro Employer of the Year (5,000+ employees)
  • Newcomer SME of the Year (up to 249 employees)
  • Newcomer Large Employer of the Year (250+ employees)

Apprenticeship Individual categories:

  • The Learndirect Intermediate Level Apprentice of the Year
  • Advanced Level Apprentice of the Year
  • The Unilever Higher Apprentice of the Year
  • The City & Guilds Apprenticeship Champion of the Year

National Apprenticeship Service

The National Apprenticeship Service supports, funds and co-ordinates the delivery of Apprenticeships and Traineeships throughout England.

They are responsible for increasing the number of Apprenticeship and Traineeship opportunities and providing a dedicated, responsive service for both employers and learners. This includes simplifying the process of recruiting an apprentice or trainee through Apprenticeship vacancies, an online system where employers can advertise their vacancies and potential apprentices or trainees can apply.

A Traineeship is an education and training programme with a work placement that is focused on giving young people the skills and experience that employers are looking for. At its core are work preparation training, English and maths for those who need it, and a high quality work experience placement.

Traineeships are for young people aged 16 to 23 who are motivated to get a job but who lack the skills and experience that employers are looking for. Traineeships prepare young people for their future careers by helping them to become ‘work ready’. They give young people the skills and experience to be able to compete for an Apprenticeship or other job.

Traineeships are a stepping stone to future success for young people, businesses and the wider economy.

The Skills Funding Agency

The Skills Funding Agency is a partner organisation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Its job is to fund and promote adult further education (FE) and skills training in England, including Traineeships and Apprenticeships, in a way which supports economic growth. The Agency delivers £4.1 billion of skills training through contracts with over 1,000 colleges, private training organisations and employers, with a highly effective supply chain that means FE meets local need in the most cost-effective way.

Within the Skills Funding Agency, there are two customer-facing services: the National Apprenticeship Service, which is responsible for increasing the number of Traineeship and Apprenticeship opportunities, and the National Careers Service, which provides impartial careers information, advice and guidance online, by telephone or face-to-face.

The National Apprenticeship Awards are sponsored by BAE Systems, BT, City & Guilds, Learndirect, Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies and Unilever. Visit or call 08000 150 600 to find out more about Apprenticeships.