Audit manager embarks on “Route to Partner” training

Published on April 7, 2021 by Helen Rutter

Successful start to Training Programme
Royce Peeling Green are members of DFK International which is a major international association of independent accounting firms. DFK UK and Ireland has seen a successful start to its first ever ‘Route to Partner’ training programme.

The online programme is being delivered by training provider The Openside Group and is aimed at managers looking to progress to partner level.  A total of 20 participants from DFK UK and Ireland member firms are taking part in the six-week programme, which consists of a weekly webinar looking at the core skills required to become an effective leader. The sessions are being led by facilitators Debbie Dudley and William Johnson, of The Openside Group.

Woven into the programme is an understanding of the dynamics of a professional services partnership-based environment, the need to manage both the internal and external environment, and to ensure individual progression and maximise service delivery. The training programme was launched on February 24, with the final session scheduled for March 31.

Helen Rutter, an Audit and Advisory Manager at RPG Chartered Accountants based in Manchester, is one of those taking part and she spoke about the training programme and how it is helping her progress following the first two sessions.

I joined RPG as a graduate in 2013 and predominantly work in the audit team at the practice. We’re currently a team of eleven, although when we are joined by Crawfords on 31st March 2021 that number will grow. There are currently five people who I manage week-to-week.

A formal progression route for someone at my level is not something that has previously been in place at RPG due to the size of the practice, although we’ve always had lots of support and the opportunity to complete formal qualifications. There hasn’t previously been a huge focus on developing soft skills, but this is now starting to be rolled out.

The business is currently going through a period of growth and change, including the acquisition of Crawfords, and I am working with my director Martin Chatten, Group Director and Head of Audit, who is pushing forward with the changes we need to make in our area.

My ultimate career goal is to make partner, although not necessarily solely focused on audit, but there are a number of skills I need to develop to help me achieve this, which is one of the things that DFK has been so helpful with.

I have attended a number of DFK conferences and courses and believe that the new Route to Partner programme can help me further as I progress in my career.
The first session covered being a firm-wide advisor and ambassador rather than just a service line ambassador. In my role I’m very much a service line ambassador, so the session definitely helped identify this as something to work on.

One of the tasks we were set was to put this into practice, and as it happens, within RPG we have just launched a “learning lunches” initiative where people from across the firm can come together and speak about their area so we all have knowledge of the business as a whole, which is very helpful. We will also have some external speakers who will enable us to have an overview of some of the other commercial issues facing clients and how we can signpost clients to additional support.

Even in such a short space of time, I’m now much more aware of what I’m saying to clients and am keen to showcase what we can offer as a business rather than just the services we can provide within the audit team – something which I wouldn’t have thought to do before the training.

The second session focused on points of view and how to proactively form and deliver a point of view to clients in relation to the area you’re working in. For instance, if a client is scheduled to re-open on June 22, will they be able to do this smoothly or has their workforce built up annual leave that they are then requesting to take which will impact their productivity.

This is also something I’m looking forward to putting into practice, particularly as there will no doubt be a lot of considerations for business leaders as Covid restrictions are eased, and eventually lifted, by the government.

In just two sessions, the training programme has already improved my awareness of what I need to do to progress in my career and has given me things to think about.
Although I’ve been aware of some of what has been covered, I certainly didn’t realise the importance of being a firm-wide ambassador and what that actually meant. I thought it meant being an expert in everything in order to win new business, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

When engaging with business owners and managers, I now realise the need to be able to talk about examples of how we’ve helped another client in similar circumstances. Having that one small anecdote demonstrates you understand the client’s business and you can then refer them on to a specialist as appropriate.

All of the topics we’ve covered in the training so far have been really interesting and not something you think about on a day-to-day basis. It’s about taking a step back and seeing your role in perspective. It’s also been a good opportunity to connect with others in a similar position with a shared goal, and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the sessions.

Helen Rutter, Audit Manager, RPG Manchester

We have received an excellent service from the team at RPG for well over 20 years. We particularly appreciate RPG's real interest in our company and suggestions for improvements. The service RPG provides goes well beyond what we could expect.  The attention to detail and the prompt, professional service the team provides means that we are reassured that should we require urgent or unusual advice, the team will provide it. We would have no hesitation in recommending RPG.

Margaret Peasegood

Executive Chairman - SheffProp

I would like to thank RPG for your unbelievable help, assistance and friendship for over 40 years. Nothing has ever been too much trouble. Words alone are insufficient, and I think that the same would apply to my former colleagues and my family who have also come to rely on your advice and guidance.

Neville Johnson

Founder - Neville Johnson Offices

We have worked with RPG for many years, for good reason. They are not only extremely knowledge but they really take the time to get to know you as customers and also as people. This really makes a difference, as whilst it is of course important that you receive great service, which we do, it’s also essential to work with professionals who you can really trust and who go out of their way to know your business as well as you do, giving ultimate comfort that you are all striving towards the same goals. I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Jennie Johnson MBE

Kids Allowed

“RPG have always been our first point of call for advice on accounting, tax and financial regulatory matters and indeed have become an additional sounding board for both myself and my colleagues on strategic matters. The consistently high quality and timely advice they provide is very important to us.”

Gareth Rowe

Chief Financial Officer - ProofID

“As a family business we have been using Royce Peeling Green as our accountants for over 25 years. We have always been impressed with their expertise and depth of knowledge in all financial areas required to help run our business. There is an obvious understanding and trust between the two companies which leads to proactive approach to guide us with short and long-term financial planning. We have found everyone at Royce Peeling Green to be very approachable providing us with the reassurance that they will always provide a professional response in a timely manner.”

David Harrabin

Managing Director - Manchester Slate Ltd

RPG have now acted for our various companies for over 15 years. Their advice and commercial attitude in dealing with Tax, Audit and general businesses matters has always been of high quality and queries dealt with promptly. The team at RPG are experts in their field, they understand the SME market place well. They have been involved in all our corporate transactions, from setting up of businesses, ongoing support of our management teams through to being part of the team that negotiated the successful sale of a group company.

Jonathan Hamburger

Genesis Group International

We have received a first rate service from RPG over many years. We appreciate their attention to detail and the timely, professional and pro-active advice they provide. We would have no hesitation in recommending the team at RPG.

Stephen Rector

Managing Director – Ribble Packaging Limited