A leading firm of chartered accountants, which has invested in staff training since its launch, has continued to demonstrate its commitment to people development throughout the downturn with the help of funding support from Business Link.

Anderson Barrowcliff LLP, based at Teesdale in Thornaby, is a leading provider of business and financial services in the Tees Valley area. The company, which was formed in 2001 following the merger of two established practices, teamed up with Business Link last April to find out what financial assistance was available towards developing its trainees and helping them to remain competitive during the recession.

To date, the company has accessed funding to support eight trainees with their professional ICAEW qualifications – including AAT, ACCA and professional tax exams. Business Link skills adviser Amanda Rowan has been able to identify support from the Regional Skills Fund and was instrumental in helping the company in their applications to the North East England Investment Centre (NEEIC), which administers the fund. The company has employed numerous trainees since its inception and has provided funding support and professional guidance through their relevant qualifications.

Jerome Bury, one of the firm’s six partners, explains that staff training and development has remained a priority during the recession.

He said: “As a group of partners we have had to look very carefully at spending to make sure we are getting value for money. Even during the recession we recognised the need for good staff to keep coming up through the ranks. If we stop training, skill gaps will begin to appear in our workforce and could impact upon our competitive advantage.”

Reinforcing this approach, the company has developed strong links with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in relation to staff training and development and through this partnership, was recently asked to share their best practice approach with other accountancy firms in the region.

Julie Lester, practice manager at Anderson Barrowcliff says that Business Link have been a great source of support. She said: “The help and support that we have received from Amanda and her team at Business Link has helped us to carry on recruiting and training staff throughout the current downturn. It is our staff who will help us take advantage of new opportunities as we come out of recession. By training people to achieve their best it benefits the individual, the firm, our clients and also the local economy by keeping highly skilled individuals working on Teesside.”

The firm currently has over 45 employees of which seven are trainees who are given a full-package of support including mentoring, funded tuition and regular specialist training workshops.

Amanda Rowan, Business Link skills adviser said: “In a difficult economic climate the Regional Skills Fund has enabled Anderson Barrowcliff to maintain their strong commitment to developing accountancy professionals. I look forward to continuing to support the business with its future training and development needs.”

Business Link has a team of expert advisers who offer advice, help and information to individuals and companies across the region, giving them access to the ‘business brains’ who will help to get their business idea off the ground, or grow their existing company. For further information about Business Link visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/northeast or call 0845 600 9 006.