Monday, January 07, 2013

Brian Burke of Ashleys accountants in Hitchin wins #INABAaward

I announce the (virtual) award of INABAs to accountants who operate in such a way as to confirm my contention that ‘Boring Is Optional'.

INABA stands for 'I'm Not A Boring Accountant' - more on the awards here++++

Brian Burke was proposed for the award by Simon Chaplin, who simply pointed me at a recent Ashleys accountants' video which I then featured on this blog last week. This prompted me to get in touch with Brian. I also took a look at some of Brian's many other youtube videos containing: "Bite sized chunks [of business advice] to help you grow your business". These videos quickly confirmed that Brian has a larger than life personality and does not conform to the old stereotype. Far from it in fact.

Brian says:
"I have always taken the view that as we spend most of our weekday waking life at work we should have some fun in what we do especially as our field is considered somewhat dry and boring"
"I thus tend to spend my time devising as many off the wall marketing strategies as I can both for Clients but also for team members and am proud to say our retention levels are way above the ordinary small firm... If you like it produces that warm glow from [our long-term staff] and I must say the bedside manner especially from our tax department is second to none."
"I guess we just want to treat our people as ordinary responsible individuals (accountancy seems to attract ‘em !) so we are totally transparent as a firm figure wise …We produce a monthly one page plan which shows all our key drivers, soft drivers, goals, vision, team happiness etc and this in turn is presented by everyone in the firm even the most junior members so they understand it and appreciate what it means."
"We also reward our teams when targets are met ..over the past 5 years we have had days out to Germany, Ireland (God bless those 1p flights ), York, Bath and Cambridge as well as various local and London shows....We also try and raise a bit for Charity (the local hospice is our main recipient ) with the Ashleys Ball and an 'It’s a knock out' competition …. 
Individually we reward team members who make a client introduction with 20% of first year fee ....We have just run the Xmas advent calendar which spews out tenners and twenties plus the odd booby prize on a daily basis …you have to roll a dice and the highest number wins ..the roll off is at 8 20 am and you have to be there to win it  we begin work at 8.30  so you can see there is a method to the madness."
"I am passionate that the whole basis of success in the small firm accountancy world is to have a strong, committed and loyal team and this can only be done by constant nurturing from the leadership ...If it is not meant the team will soon realize and the whole thing can implode very quickly. IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE “FINANCIAL“ REWARD EITHER....PEOPLE JUST APPRECIATE BEING APPRECIATED, and I hope that Ashleys will continue to make that one of their main goals".
"On a personal note I keep myself sane by writing and playing music (Irish folk mainly ..though I did do the lyrics for our ad ) and also am President of our local Rugby club"  
There are currently 17 of Brian's videos for Ashleys on youtube. In the first one he looks a lot more conventional than he does in the more recent ones. If you only watch that one you may wonder why I think Brian deserves an INABA.  All I will say is watch some of the others when he's not stuck behind his desk!

If you know san accountant who may qualify for an INABA, please check the (very simple) criteria here and then let me know via my website:

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