The View – August 2021
Cem Soydaner – The journey
In October 2014 Cem Soydaner joined the Charterhouse team as an accounts semi-senior, looking after bookkeeping and accounts clients. At the same time, he also began assisting on large audits. Always looking to improve and move forward, Cem worked towards his ACCA membership which he duly achieved in May 2016. Since he joined the firm, Cem has achieved key promotions, firstly in January 2017, when he was promoted to a Client Manager, looking after a portfolio of clients and leading audits from planning through to completion. He began managing a team of people helping deliver accounts to a wide range of businesses and individuals. He then took this opportunity to set up a new workflow management system for the entire audit/accounts department moving us into a more software automation space. In June 2017 he was promoted to Audit Accounts Department Manager, managing a team of 20 and a wider range of clients. It was here that Cem began developing the firm’s business offerings and their move into the digital accounting space, taking Charterhouse from zero cloud accounting clients to over 500 within 6 months. In May last year he was promoted to Associate Director looking after a wider portfolio of clients and developing external relationships and has now been certified as a responsible individual now able to sign off audit reports. He is now an integral member of the sales and marketing team as well. You might think that all Cem does is work, but he can be found in the gym most mornings and watching his second love, Spurs, although this may change as he is getting married next year.
Mayor of London Good Work Standard
The Mayor of London launched his Good Work Standard as part of his commitment to making London the best city in the world to work.
The Mayor’s Good Work Standard brings together best employment practice and links to resources and support from across London to help employers improve their organisations. The initiative has been developed in collaboration with London’s employers, professional bodies and experts.
The Good Work Standard sets the benchmark the Mayor wants every London employer to work towards and achieve. Organisations able to meet the Good Work Standard criteria can apply for accreditation and recognition as leading employers from the Mayor.
The Standard aims to promote best practice across four pillars:
- fair pay and conditions,
- workplace well-being,
- skills and progression and
- diversity and recruitment.
Charterhouse are pleased to have been accredited and now be one of the Mayor’s Good Work Standard employers in London. We believe this is an important recognition of our commitment to our employees. It also reflects the many ways in which we are striving for the best possible working conditions for our staff.
To read more about the Mayor’s Good Work Standard, visit https://www.london.gov.uk/good-work-standard.
Charterhouse Shortlisted for Accounting Excellence Awards
We have just found out that as a result of all the work we have done with the team over the past couple of years we have been shortlisted for the Accounting Excellence Awards – Investing in People as well as the award for Tax Team of the Year. The awards take place on 21st October so watch this space to find out how we do.
Return to the office – what it means for us.
This is a difficult time we are going through and communication is a vital part of this process. During the pandemic we have been in constant communication with our employees to see how they are doing and if they have any needs or concerns. We do this through the managers as well as internal surveys. In August 2020 and again in May 2021 we sent out return to work and check in surveys to all employees to get feedback from them on how effectively we have handled work-related issues during the pandemic. The survey requested feedback on a number of issues including Coronavirus associated health and safety measures, support from line managers, challenges of working from home and from the office, what further support the company can provide and finally how they felt about returning to the office. We had a participation rate of 84% and really good feedback on how we handled work-related issues during the pandemic (86%) as well as the measures we put in place.
Following the lifting of the restrictions, we are introducing hybrid working where employees can request working part of the week from home and part of the week from the office. Based on the survey results 86% of employees are likely to request a hybrid working pattern following the return to the office.
We had encouraged employees to gradually start to return to the office from 19th July and currently we have a maximum of 20 people in the office at any point in time based on an agreed schedule.
Regular risk assessment is being carried out by Chris Stops Associates, Health and Safety Consultants and June Wiltshire our Office manager. Like a lot of businesses, we will continue to have special Coronavirus measures in place including:
- social distancing
- limited number of people in confined spaces
- hand sanitisers and wipes are available throughout the office
- workstations and office areas cleaned every day
- employees have been asked to clean high touch areas after every use
- employees are encourage to wear masks if they feel the need for that
- all employees are encouraged to test themselves before they are going to the office using the lateral flow quick test
- if any employees have any Coronavirus symptoms they will work from home and follow the NHS guidance.
We have also introduced a vaccine policy where we encourage our employees to take up the opportunity to have the vaccine when it is offered to them by making an informed decision. Further to this we encourage all staff to use the NHS Covid-19 app and to self-isolate and work from home if they get pinged.
For the safety of our visitors and our staff, prior to any visits to the office we provide details of our Covid-19 policy to clients and contacts and ask them to complete a Covid-19 questionnaire and return it to us a maximum of 72 hours before attending our offices.
An update on our community work:
MIND in Harrow
Since we announced that MIND in Harrow had been chosen as our Charity of the Year we have been working with them to develop the relationship and identify how we can support them over the coming twelve months.
As you would expect MIND have a wealth of information available, including monthly mental health top tips which we are now sharing on our website. In addition, they have a massive challenge, as do most charities, to raise the funds needed to keep them running and Charterhouse is working with them to help meet these targets with some very different activities coming up, including skydiving, watch this space for more news.
But it is not all about money and often charities need manpower as much as money and Charterhouse as a team are looking at ways the team can help. From providing advice to those people being supported by MIND in Harrow through to teams of people helping out on specific projects that the charity has. We are looking to support MIND in Harrow throughout the year in as many different ways as possible.
To further support MIND in Harrow we have recently launched the Charterhouse Challenge. The Challenge will run over the twelve months and will be made up of members of our team doing different challenge events that will take them out of their comfort zones, to raise funds for the charity. The events that are included are:
- long distance cycling challenges
- marathons and challenge runs
- anything else that inspires the team and others to push themselves
Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for updates on the team and what they have achieved.
We will provide regular updates both on our website and in the newsletter so please do take the time to find out more. Mental health has become more prominent since the start of the pandemic and we want to do as much as we can to support the community in overcoming these challenges.
Over the past year we have sponsored two girls teams at Kinja FC, a local community football club who work with the FA to promote women’s football. With the upheaval that we have all experienced hopefully behind us, we decided to expand our support of the club to help them get back to playing a full fixture list. For the coming season Charterhouse are pleased to announce we will be sponsoring the whole girl’s side of the club, helping to ensure their great work with women’s football can continue.
In addition, in the summer, we sponsored their first tournament for the U12 age group. The tournament was a fantastic success, with five teams across London and Hertfordshire competing for the inaugural winners’ trophy.
The competition was eventually won by Haringey Girls, who went undefeated throughout the tournament with a string of impressive performances, against other fantastic sides. Kinja FC finished the tournament in third, winning their third place play off against Enfield Town, 2-0, after great goals from Nina and Natalia.
The tournament also had a fully female referee team, one of which included Greta from Kinja’s U16 Girls team, who officiated games throughout the whole tournament. The organisers were also supported and assisted by a number of players from across the Kinja U16 Girls, and U14 Girls’ teams, who helped keep the tournament running smoothly, and supported all of the girls teams across the tournament, encouraging some brave, confident and wonderfully skilful play from all teams.
What a great step forward and a fantastic example for other clubs to follow.
We were delighted to be involved in this inaugural and highly successful event and hope to continue helping the club put on other similar events going forward.
Wycombe Homeless Connection Golf Day
For a long time, David White, Joint Managing Director, has been involved in local business networking group, Business Connexions. The group is a long-established group of professionals who meet regularly to discuss and develop their businesses, but they also ensure that they give as much back to the community as they can and over the years have run a series of fundraising events for different charities, in recent years focusing on Wycombe Homeless Connection (WHC).
With the lockdown easing and events allowed again, David White and Business Connexions have taken the opportunity to organise another golf day in support of WHC.