Stafford & Co

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Stafford & Co's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Stafford & Co is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
RobStafford, Managing
Stafford and Co were established in 2003 by Ken Stafford,
the father of current managing director Rob Stafford. After
the incorporation of the company in 2008, they ran the firm
together as joint directors and Rob assumed control seven years
ago. By embracing cloud-based technology and the movement of
the sector towards outsourced accountancy, they have been able
to expand and develop. Committed to training their staff from
graduate level, they place significant emphasis on the happiness of
their workforce. Rob explains how they have embraced technology
and what he predicts the sector will look like in the future.
In my opinion, success is based on one key factor: keeping both your employees and
clients happy and focused. As a leadingnorthwest accountancy firm, I know that if
you can achieve both of the above, the finances and results will come.As long as the
team and the clients have the right focus, success can be achieved. 
Our mission is to help our clients tounderstand,measure andimprove their numbers.
At the end of the day, it is simply numbers that determine whether a business is
successful or not: how much money is in the bank,what your net profitis, how
many hours the team have workedthis month.Accountants have always been
privileged to have access tothese crucial figures. Beyond this, we should understand
the responsibility this privilege entails, especially when presenting this information to
clients. Differences in presentation can significantly affect how someone views data.
Embracing cloud technology
With the introduction of cloud-based accounting and data entry systems such as
Xero, QuickBooks, Free Agent and Kashflow, to name just a few,ourability to
understand and measure a client’s numbers has significantly increased. As it is
our privilege to have access to this information,we believe that itis our obligation
to work with our clients tohelpimprove their business. Acritical factorfor this is
ensuring that wefully understandwhat the client’s goals and aspirations are. We can
then use our expertiseto help them tomeasure key drivers andachieve their goals.
This is why, before we take on any client, we spend some time finding out what
really matters to them. Whether they want to grow their business with a view to
selling it, or to work fewer hours, or simply to make and invest more money, we
will support them in any way we can. We have a structured and detailed fact-
findingprocess,which identifies the goals of every client.
To help our clients achieve this we have developed our “UMI” system. This process entails
understanding the needs of the client, measuring relevant aspects of their business and
aiming to improve these results. This system has helped clients to achievetheirbusiness
goals and it is changing how we do business. We have always been considered
atrustedadviser and accountants with access to the latest software tools, allied with
»Managing Director:
»Established in 2003
»Based in Bolton
»Services: Accountancy
»No. of employees: 10
»No. of clients: 150
»Featured in the 2011
The UK’s Best
Accountancy Practices
Stafford & Co
sound commercial acumen, have a great
opportunity to live up to thisrole. We
work proactively with clients to achieve
growthand help them to sustain it.
Whilemanyfeartechnological change,
those who embrace it and use it to
provide a better product or serviceare
the ones whosurvive andprosper. This
has certainly been the case for our firm.
Furthermore, while these new toolsmake
analysis easier and quicker, it is what you
do with the information that counts.
Personally, I think advances in cloud
technology have enabled accountants
to work more closely with their clients.
We now act for numerous clients as
their outsourced accounting function.
This allows us to provide a range
of expertise from bookkeeping and
financial and credit control duties all
the way up to fulfilling financial director
responsibilities. Technology is driving
the sector forward and the accountancy
profession is adapting. As this happens,
we are able to provide a better service
for growing entrepreneurial businesses.
The key to our success: a
happy team
A happy team is key to our success.
Just as it’s critical to understand
our clients’goals and aspirations,
it’s imperative that we know our
team’sfuture plans. From school leavers
to graduates joining the industry, they
face avery different future than in
previous decades. On average, it takes
six years to become an accountant and
after that long study path, the journey
is only just beginning. It takes time and
experience to develop the commercial
skills to truly help clients to understand,
measure and improve their figures.
Working with senior members of staff
and directors is a vital part of this
ongoing training anddevelopment.
The most talented, dynamic, newly
qualified accountants know they need
to hone their commercial skills to truly
become trusted advisers to clients. To
achieve this, they seek out a vibrant
environment that supports this onward
learning and exposure to complex work
as part of their career development.Our
focus on creating a happy team has
involved working closelywith schools,
colleges and universities. Furthermore,
we’ve developed our structure and
processes to engage our team at all
levels and enable their learning of the
proven UMI process. The result is a
rewarding transition, as we seeteam
membersprogress from school leavers
to become great accountants and, most
importantly, trusted advisers.
The future of our profession is heading
towards the increased significance of
outsourced financial management.
Currently, small businesses are not
giving accounting the importance that
it deserves. Often, unqualified members
of staff are assigned to perform this
role and they will subsequently struggle
to give clients reliable information.
Outsourced accounting will change all
this. Using cloud-based technology,
we will be able to act for a client
remotely. Whereas bookkeeping used
to be a chore, it has become far more
streamlined. The introduction of Making
Tax Digital will only accelerate this
process as clients will have no option
but to embrace technology. If clients
have better management information,
they will ultimatelyprosper.
The Stafford & Co
Technology is
driving the
sector forward
and the
profession is
adapting. As
this happens,
we are able to
provide a better
service for


This article was sponsored by Stafford & Co. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister