More Old Mill staff become equity holders as it looks to break with sector tradition

January 7, 2016

West Country accountancy and financial planning firm Old Mill has more than doubled the number of staff owning an equity stake in the business – with almost a fifth of its 250-strong workforce now shareholders.

Some 23 additional staff members became shareholders on January 1 – taking the total number of shareholders up to 44 – in a move the firm said rewards their hard work and commitment.

It also said widening its employee shareholder base set the firm, which has offices in Melksham, Wells, Yeovil and Exeter, apart from its rivals.

Board member and one of the firm’s co-founders, Simon Cole, said: “Many firms in our profession have a business model that sees them restrict their ownership all too often to a small select group of individuals.

“As a consequence, staff who work hard for many years in helping to build up a business can often see the rewards of this success shared only by a few senior people.

“We have always prided ourselves on being different at Old Mill – be it our innovative approach to client service, integration of key accounting, tax and financial planning services or providing the opportunity for staff to rise rapidly through the business. We are anything but a traditional firm.

“The same is true of our ownership structure, which now sees nearly one in five people who work in Old Mill owning a material part of their business.”

Broadening equity ownership within the firm was an ongoing process, he said, and so over the years the business had developed a robust process for determining equity awards.

“There are a number of factors that contribute to our selection of a new shareholder and significant amongst these is the performance of an individual in their role,” he added. “However, it is certainly not the only factor. We also consider, amongst others, the individual’s wider contribution to the business and, very importantly, their future potential at Old Mill.

“We created 15 new shareholders in 2012, so this second wave marks a significant expansion of our shareholder numbers and we plan to create more.”

Staff taking part in the latest round span the firm’s four offices and cover staff from across the business including IT and finance directors.

One of those acquiring equity for the first time is Laura Wylie, 34, one of the firm’s tax planners working in its Melksham office.

Laura, pictured, said: “It is wonderful to be offered the chance to acquire a stake in my business without having to reach the upper echelons of the corporate ladder. Both the client work and the colleagues I work with help make this a great place and knowing that I own some of it really makes me feel part of a special team that I want to help go places.”

Another new shareholder is Dan Knight, a 32-year-old director in its Yeovil office. He added: “Old Mill has enjoyed fantastic growth over the last few years, and it is a great feeling to know that my hard work has been recognised. I am really passionate about the business and relish the opportunity to be part of the growth and success we are working to achieve over the coming years.”

Old Mill managing director Ian Carlson said: “The best way to ensure that we provide our clients with a fantastic service is to employ the best people we can within Old Mill.

“Differentiating ourselves from more traditional firms by offering equity to more than just a few senior partners will, we believe, help us to attract and retain quality staff who are excited and motivated by the opportunity to own part of their business.

“Broadening equity ownership is also a great way to ensure the long-term sustainability of the business, avoiding the succession problems that plague many firms in our profession.”

Old Mill was formed by a buyout in 2006 and has more than doubled in size since through organic growth.


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