AN accountancy firm has hailed a landmark in its growth - as it celebrates the achievements of its Magnificent Seven.
JF Hornby and Co now has more trainee chartered accountants than at any time in its history, in line with the firm’s commitment to nurturing talent.
The company - twice named UK accountants of the year - is fully funding training for the rising stars, as it continues to build its portfolio of clients.
Managing Director Paul Hornby said: “Finding great staff is a challenge for many businesses and when you are recruiting to a specific sector that challenge is amplified.
“What we have found is that by investing in people who have a great attitude, willingness to learn, and of course a strong base level of understanding of the fundamentals of accountancy, we are building a team for the future.
“Many of our magnificent Seven have chosen to achieve their degrees and chartered status with us through an apprenticeship and as an alternative to going to university. So rather than accumulating huge debt over a period of time while studying for a degree, they are earning while they are learning and will ultimately achieve a standard which will enable them to grow and flourish in this industry.
“Of course at the moment, we are in a particularly challenging period, where the main focus of everybody, quite rightly, is the health of their families and friends.
“It is important we continue to support each other as colleagues though, as working in isolation can bring its own set of challenges. That is one of our primary business objectives, as we also work hard to support our many clients who, understandably, have a lot of questions about the immediate future.”
The seven currently working towards chartered status are: Paula Poplawska, Rebecca Cronin, Esther Klijn, Catherine Steur, Luke Turner, Alex Yare and Abi-Gayle Aguirre.
Abi-Gayle, Alex and Paula joined JF Hornby having already secured degrees, while the remaining four; Esther, Luke, Rebecca and Catherine joined the company as apprentices directly from their local sixth form at Ulverston Victoria High School in Ulverston.
The apprentices are studying a five year degree at the University of Central Lancashire and are simultaneously working towards the ACA, a highly sought-after qualification awarded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
Esther Klijn, 22, is in the fourth year of her degree studies and already working towards the ACA. She opted for an apprenticeship over direct entry into university.
She said: “Coming straight from college into a full time position was significant change, but the last four years have been great.
“Studying for a degree whilst also spending time working in the office can be challenging, but we have so much support from our managers and also from Paul.
“He makes sure we get plenty of time to study and keep up with our university work, which is great. The fact there are four of us who are doing the same course also means there is a strong support network; we can discuss with each other where we are with assignments and progress.
“I certainly think I made the right decision. The likelihood is I will achieve chartered status earlier than if I had separately studied a degree and then moved on to it after gaining enough on-the-job experience. And I will not have any debts from university.”
JF Hornby and Co services in the region of 2,000 clients and has a staff of 50 based out of its offices in Ulverson.
The company offers a suite of services including accountancy, tax and tax planning, corporate finance, payroll solution and cloud accounting.
Paul added: “It’s really difficult to know whether to share positive news or not right now because business will always be secondary to health and happiness.
“But we felt on balance we should celebrate the hard work and achievements of these seven members of the JF Hornby team, hopefully to bring a little positivity to people’s days.”