A Norfolk accountancy practice has celebrated ten years of growth and innovation – by opening its own pub.
Farnell Clarke Accountants and Business Advisors, based in Norwich, launched its new-look premises at Delft Way Norwich today (23 March 2017), which includes the unusual addition of an on-site pub, The Tax & Pounds. The pub is open for employees at 4pm every Friday and client meetings at other times.
Founded in 2007, Farnell Clarke has since become an award-winning business; named Most Innovative Practice in the UK and Independent Firm of the Year, East of England, at the British Accountancy Awards last November. Founder Will Farnell started the business from home with a handful of clients, and today employs 32 people. It is anticipated that at least four new jobs will be created before the end of the year.
Far from your typical firm of accountants, Farnell Clarke’s success is driven by a desire to disrupt an industry that is, typically, very set in its ways and by a genuine commitment to practical innovation.
Frankie Kay is client services director. “We aim to always be ahead of the curve, with a determination to do things differently. From our fixed fee approach (which actively encourages dialogue with clients) to our smart use of technology, we work hard to provide real value to clients,” says Frankie. “But we can’t afford to be complacent as our sector is changing fast and client expectations are, rightly, getting higher.”
In 2015, Farnell Clarke moved from a converted doctor’s surgery in Sprowston to a purpose build office building on the Norwich Airport business park; more than quadrupling its floor space.
And on Thursday 23 March, the business unveiled its revamped offices; designed by Norwich firm Bluespace to provide a flexible, inspirational and practical working space. Themed meeting rooms include The Beach Hut, The Quayside and The Library, alongside sound-proofed seating areas and private work pods to encourage agile working and team collaboration.
“We’ve invested significantly in the transformation of our offices for several reasons,” continues Frankie. “Firstly, the design and layout is different from a typical accountancy practice to allow us to work more efficiently; with minimal clutter. But it is also packed full of personality with extra design touches such as our on-site pub which is open for staff drinks every Friday from 4pm.
“To thrive, we must attract the best calibre of staff and retain our most talented, skilled team members, and we hope this new environment is somewhere people will enjoy working. It’s important to retain professionalism too, so the space is also very client friendly, with soundproof pods and meeting rooms so our clients can catch up on emails in a quiet space or enjoy a change of scenery and work from our office if they want to.”
Farnell Clarke has sponsored the EDP Business Awards for the past two years. “We’re really excited that this year’s theme is innovation because that’s always been at the heart of what we do,” says Will Farnell. “What our competitors are doing now, in terms of adopting cloud-technology, we were doing eight years ago. Clever use of technology isn’t exceptional, it’s a fundamental part of our business; enabling us to devise new systems, streamline processes and enhance our company culture. Once the awards are open for entries we’re looking forward to seeing how other SMEs are innovating and being disruptive in their own sectors.”
The Farnell Clarke pub was named the ‘The Tax & Pounds’ after a competition on social media. Laura Johnson came up with the winning name.