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 Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy