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28 January 2022
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by Rebecca Wass

Fostering a culture of learning at ForrestBrown

Team collaborating on work
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Our people are energetic, driven and inquisitive by nature. We’re an intellectually curious bunch, and that means taking a proactive and planned approach to our training is something we pride ourselves on.

We develop expertise not just in tax and accountancy but in how to be a stellar communicator and a well-equipped future leader. Whichever stage you are at in your career, we’re empowered to continually learn new skills and support each other with our development areas – helping us to achieve our goals and continue to deliver excellent service to our clients. Here’s an insight into the types of development opportunities that could be on offer to you when you join the ForrestBrown team.

The Learning Lab

Where it all began, our renowned Learning Lab was born shortly after our technical director, Jenny Tragner CA ATT, joined the business. The Learning Lab is our dedicated space for high energy interactive workshops covering everything you need to know to get started in a career in R&D tax. We unpack anything from the not-so-common nuances of R&D tax incentives to how to craft the perfect elevator pitch. We’re committed to being technically excellent in our work, and the Learning Lab helps us all keep on top of the latest changes to R&D tax policy.

Here, we discover the power of group learning. But we know that everyone has different learning styles and ways of digesting information, so to complement this, we have an online hub filled with bespoke courses, quizzes, and webinars that take just minutes to complete. Online learning has transformed the way we deliver training by enabling us to choose what topics we wish to learn about, anywhere, anytime.

Learning to Lead

We look for something special in our leaders: integrity, compassion, and consistency. We know that everyone has their own leadership style that is unique to them, waiting to be unlocked. To ensure we have well-equipped leaders of the future, we developed a bespoke training programme which provides a toolkit for those responsible for leading our high performing teams.

“I found the course really valuable and gained lots of practical insights that I now apply to the leadership of my own team. A few key areas that I still draw on everyday are the importance of good communication and team dynamics in improving productivity and collaboration.”
– 
Lauralei Chapman-Ludgate, Senior partnerships manager

The subject matter for our Learning to Lead programme ranges from team dynamics, motivation and personal brand, to how managers can become better coaches. The 12-month programme is designed to develop and refine leadership skills, including the ability to drive performance, influence others and give feedback.

Katherine Jones Assoc CIPD, Associate Director explains ‘our commitment to L&D, to mentor the best talent, and develop our leaders, remains a strategic priority. It’s important that we continue to enable and empower our managers to carry on their professional development at every stage of their career’.

“Off the back of our Learning to Lead programme, we’re proud to have launched a successful mentoring programme to the team. Learning how to build relationships and communicate with colleagues at different stages of their careers has inspired new perspectives.”
Kerry Young Assoc CIPD – Senior HR manager.

Thanks to our joint efforts to help people grow in their careers, we have celebrated over 30 managers developing as leaders, and seen a 30% increase in promotions recognising their achievements and performance. This would not have been possible without the passion we share to learn and develop both as individuals and as a team.

Secondments

There are multiple opportunities to stretch your skills and collaborate with different departments. Secondments are very much encouraged as they help ForrestBrowners demonstrate their skills in a whole new way and go back to their team revived and ready to put their new learnings to use. Whether it’s an insight day, taster week or 6-month secondment, there are no limits to expanding your knowledge and developing your career.

“I’ve always been curious to know how different departments work and I like to be proactive in finding the answers. Having spoken to my team lead about seconding to the tax advisory practice, we agreed it would be a great way to develop my skills further as well as being better able to support a wide range of clients with complex tax matters.”
Sam Wood ACA – Tax Manager

“It’s like a perfect marriage. By collaborating across both quality assurance (QA) and compliance I can spot trends and take them back to QA and then the R&D practice. On the flipside I can share my expertise with compliance and advise on the best ways to incorporate compliance procedures into existing processes.”
Anna Szymanska – Senior Tax Manager.

Apprentice counsellors

The gold standard in tax is chartered tax adviser status. And as an accredited training employer we have developed a proven pathway to help new recruits achieve this. Our apprentices are supported by an apprentice counsellor alongside the support given from our L&D team and our technical director, Jenny Tragner CA ATT. Their role is to provide impartial advice, listen and encourage constructive discussion and coaching. Not only does this provide invaluable guidance to the next generation of qualified advisers, but it also challenges our experienced team members to pass on their knowledge and flex their skills in coaching and mentoring.

“Since joining I have been impressed by the level of help and support supplied to those undertaking a professional qualification. A large part of that has been the addition of the apprentice counsellor role and the regular catchups this involves. These catchups really benefit apprentices by giving them access to a dedicated mentor who can give exam advice and ensure they can find a good balance between work, exams and rest using their own experience. As an apprentice counsellor, I have enjoyed seeing the students’ progress in their knowledge base and most importantly getting to celebrate the key milestones with them that they work so hard to achieve.”
– Oliver Clapp ACCA – Tax Manager.

Your learning opportunity

We share a common goal to stretch ourselves and grow, both for ourselves, the team and our clients. These are just a few of the opportunities available to help our team develop. Whether you are new to tax, or eager to hone your skills while working in a supportive and engaging workplace, your week will be jam-packed with guarded time for learning. For more information on our training and development, check out Our training or read more about my role in Quality Assurance here.