In the next chapter in our ‘Focus On’ series, we met up with independent accountants and business advisors Leavitt Walmsley Associates Ltd who’ve been located at the Park for the past four years.
Building occupied: Newton House
Length of tenancy: 4 years (have been established since early 1980’s from their primary office in Sale, Manchester)
Size of team: 14
Brief overview of the business: We’re a local, independent practice of accountants and business advisors working with businesses of all sizes, predominantly in the North West but across the UK, providing a range of services that go above and beyond just standard accountancy provision, representing best value for our clients. Les Leavitt and Steve Collings are directors, with Steve being recognised across the globe for his technical expertise. At LMA we strive to provide a personal contact-led experience for clients with technical support; are accredited as Gold status partners with Xero and Receipt Bank and have been recognised as finalists and award-winners at industry and local awards.
Why did you choose to base your offices at Birchwood Park in particular?
One of the directors having lived in the area was already involved in the local business community in Warrington, with clients also based in the area. The team in Sale was growing at the time with some of the staff traveling from Warrington and surrounding areas, and in looking for a second office, Birchwood was considered the ideal space. As part of the move to Warrington and to establish themselves in the area, LWA also purchased a smaller practice.
What do you feel the North West has to offer over any other region for businesses?
The North West has a large and thriving business community with the largest service sector outside of London. With a rapidly expanding digital and technology sector as well as a strong manufacturing base it’s the perfect base for us. There’s also a large pool of labour and with several high-profile sports and entertainment venues act there’s a major draw for businesses. Finally, there’s international airport links to a number of important trading partners.
How do you look to improve your staff wellbeing?
Most of our employees have been with the firm for at least eight years, which is testament to the working environment we offer. At LWA employees are empowered from the outset with access to training and qualifications, flexibility and career growth opportunities. We regularly have team events, including an office shutdown for an annual away day, and every member of staff gets to have their birthday off work.
Do you have any company policies aimed at improving your working environment and improving retention rates?
We have lots of initiatives such as flexible working hours, casual dress codes, staff suggestion schemes, rewards for team members going above and beyond their role nominated by other team members.
Being located on Birchwood Park offers so many perks for the business too. Not only is it ideally located for our employees and provides an excellent base for business, but the team on site here ensure there’s always something fun to get involved with – be it community days, fundraisers, or facilitating a more relaxed working and meeting style through the use of the EngineRooms. It helps to add a point of difference, and enhances the schemes we already have in place to enhance our employee wellbeing.
Where do you see your industry going in the next five years?
In an era of automation and digital software linking into accountancy provision, together with an increase in owner-managed entrepreneurial businesses, the demand for traditional process services from accountancy firms will reduce. It is therefore imperative that we continue with our personal development by up skilling, whilst maintain our contact-led approach which still sees our business grow mainly through word-of-mouth referrals. Know, like and trust being at the heart of this.
Are there any skills gaps in your industry?
To succeed in our industry, there has to be a combination of technical expertise and customer-facing communication. As millennials come to the forefront there has to be more awareness training on the ability to communicate positively and confidently in person.
Do you offer any apprenticeship schemes and/or incentives?
Yes, we see this as the key to future success investing in people at an early stage. We currently have an apprentice and several trainee accountants working towards achieving their qualifications at LWA.