Accountancy training at Isosceles: A conversation with CEO Mike O’Connell 

Accountancy training at Isosceles: A conversation with CEO Mike O’Connell 

Last time, we sat down with Mike to chat about diversity and inclusion at Isosceles. In this week’s discussion, Mike explores the range of finance and accountancy training opportunities available to the team at Isosceles.  

 We are an ‘FD College’ 

 “We commit to our teams that we are an ‘FD college’”, Mike asserts, “and provide the environment where you can feel confident investing your career, taking you from an early-stage graduate accountant with limited experience to a finance director by giving you a blend of skills and experience through personal interactionWe continuously strive to make this a reality and not just a marketing slogan”. 

Amassing pertinent skills is an important component of allowing Isosceles’ employees to shape their careers.  

“The more technical, business and personal skills that our team possess the more value they add to their clients,” Mike comments, “and the more valued they are by our clients, and that is good for business and the individual.” 

 “These are not just purely altruistic or purely business-orientated commitments, rather it is one of those situations when you can have a win-win.” 

Isosceles offer several parallel accountancy training tracks with multiple different streams

Related |Employee wellbeing and motivation in the world of remote working 

For example, employees on the graduate scheme receive formal accountancy training in the content of either ICAEW to become a Chartered Accountant or CIMA to become a Chartered Management Accountant.  

“Individuals on these externally run courses are being trained to successfully complete their exams,” Mike explains, “and have access to literature and lecturers to support the formal part of their training and development”.  

Within Isosceles, the Isosceles Way is a constantly evolving process and document which defines and describes how the company delivers services and engages in best practice.  

“The Isosceles Way is used as a reference guide,” Mike describes, “and it allows people to check-in to find out the latest information about Isosceles’ values.” 

“Internally, we also run Pathway sessions which are internal company-wide, team-specific or experience-level training sessions on a regular basis.” 

“The Pathway sessions are good opportunities for us to articulate the applications of the Isosceles Way and the softer skills that are also necessary to become a good accountant or a great accounting, finance or HR professional and consultant within the business.” 

Mike highlights the recent time-focused Pathway session as a prime example: “we explored how time is captured, how we describe what we are doing, how time is a proxy for value, and the latitude and scope within timesheets and time captures.” 

“The seemingly mundane issue of time capture may appear superficial, but it is quite important”.  

Mike also describes the importance of online learning platforms, such as the materials available through Hensley Fraser

“The Hemsley Fraser online portal allows our employees to access a range of relevant training materials, from project management and problem-solving to diversity and inclusion and effective written communication, individuals are free to select the type of modules that are relevant to them”.  

More recently, Isosceles reached its first anniversary of working from home

Undoubtedly, the ‘new normal’ has raised several challenges for our teams across the business.  

“The past 12 months have created challenges for on-the-job accountancy training and knowledge and skills transfer,” Mike reflects, “so I think there is a lot less on-the-job osmosis of skills”.  

 “People are having to be more proactive to find answers, and that’s placed a lot more responsibility on our senior staff to ensure this takes place.” 

 “On the flip side, one observation I have made is people are more receptive to have a chat, so the ability to talk to a client about an issue has become easier and it has allowed us to focus more on what’s going on inside the client.” 

There are still opportunities to learn but we must be more flexible and adapt to how we access training

 The experience of the last 12 months has placed greater demands on our employees to develop new and existing skills.  

 “There are still opportunities to learn but we must be more flexible and adapt to how we access that,” Mike outlines.  

Team members at Isosceles can work with many different stakeholders, from colleagues and a range of different clients to client contacts and prospective clients.  

“Our team is exposed to a range of challenging situations within their clients,” Mike explains, “from businesses that are trading well and growing quickly and businesses navigating the treacherous waters that may lie ahead post-lockdown to companies raising debt and aiming to go through a sales process.” 

 “We fully expect the team to be able to take time out to do their self-learning,” Mike comments.  

“In areas of specialism, we will train the individual with specific external training around the area whether it be company secretarial or valuation so these individuals can then share that knowledge to the rest of the team. 

“The challenge in a busy world is how exactly to achieve all this and keep your clients happy.” 

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