For the second year running Accountancy Age readers got the chance to voice their opinions of their paymasters in the Employer of the Year Award. Once again in this popular category readers voted in their droves. And though several organisations proved popular with their staff, BDO Stoy Hayward came out on top.
Scoring highly in all categories, BDO, the UK’s sixth largest accountancy firm, beat off stiff competition to secure this year’s coveted title.
Readers could put forward their employer for the accolade irrespective of whether they worked for an accountancy practice, company or organisation from the public or voluntary sector.
Our judges reviewed all nominations and took into account attitudes to flexible working, benefits offered, childcare provision and pension availability and working environment and culture. Besides BDO, Ernst & Young, KPMG and last year’s winners PricewaterhouseCoopers were all shortlisted.
After reviewing the readers’ comments the judges decided the overall winner to be BDO. The judges added that they ‘could not fault the readers’ choice’.
Of particular note was the firm’s success in managing its staff’s work/life balance – a key factor in the criteria. This showed evidence of a genuinely caring attitude from management down.
One employee said: ‘They are flexible in hours of work and are compassionate if there are problems at home. They want their staff to have a work life balance. They understand that people have a life outside of work and encourage this.’
Another reader added: ‘I joined the firm at the Leeds office, a greenfield site, in March 2003. Since then I have been impressed by the willingness of the partners to support a work-life balance – this was demonstrated by the opportunity for a second manager to work alongside me on a large project during my house move. This would never have occurred in my previous employment with a Big Four firm.’
It was the firm’s culture and attitude not just to staff but to the communities in which BDO operates that was also highlighted. Words such as caring, nurturing and inspiring cropped up repeatedly by those who voted for the firm.
The firm came out tops not only on its nurturing culture, more typical of a smaller organisation, but also on its flexible benefits package, which was considered comparable with that of a Big Four firm.
One reader said: ‘Office commitments and project work can generally be scheduled around the school day and school holidays. The firm also enables me to take advantage of NIC savings by offering childcare vouchers for my youngest child, still at nursery.’
Another added: ‘Staff have the choice to receive cash instead of benefits if they so wish. The benefits system is tailored and relevant to individual needs.’
A further issue that clinched the title for the firm was the partners’ openness and willingness to glean feedback from staff on any issue. ‘The firm shows a real commitment to openness and honesty in its communications with employees. Partners are approachable and open,’ said one respondent.
Another added: ‘The company has gone through many changes but have always kept staff informed at every stage in the company’s future plans. I feel able to talk to partners and mangers and I believe the company is concerned with my welfare. I enjoy coming to work – how many people can say that!’
A sense of belonging also scored highly among BDO staff. Indeed this was an area where BDO also scored particularly well in last year’s award submission, when it was among the shortlisted candidates.
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