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11 July 2019
by Emmy Mitchell

What makes ForrestBrown’s culture unique?

Formula FB gokart racing

Over five years ago, Simon Brown founded our company in Bristol with an ambition to offer the best research & development (R&D) tax credits service in the UK. His original vision was to create a different kind of tax consultancy – one more like a digital agency than the traditional corporate world he came from. At ForrestBrown, we love what we do – because we help innovative businesses grow, we’re a community with a purpose. Our clients are exciting and varied – from every single sector – and we’re motivated to deliver the best service possible. We share goals and celebrate our successes, together.

Over the past few years, we’ve been recognised as one of the top 100 small companies to work for by the Sunday Times – twice! And as we’ve grown, we’ve hit many milestones. We’ve moved offices – this month for the third time. And are proud to have built our team to 110+ – and we’re still growing! But at our core, we’re still the same ForrestBrown; home to all kinds of talented and passionate people who share in a common purpose and are proud of the work they do.

So, what is it that makes ForrestBrown such a special place to work?

We’re motivated to help our client’s grow

A workplace can be as colourful and creative as the Google offices, but if you don’t believe in the value of your work, it can be a challenge to keep motivated. At ForrestBrown we are proud of the work that we do. We work with hundreds of exciting UK businesses every month helping them to maximise their use of the generous government R&D tax credit. We get to see the fruits of our labour and watch our clients reinvest these funds into hiring new staff, taking on new projects or taking risks in their marketplace.

We’re motivated by seeing the value that R&D tax credits bring and that purpose drives us to serve our clients to the very best of our ability. Our business has grown by focusing on delivering outstanding client service – something we’re proud to be known for. With this focus, we keep our client retention high and continue to grow our business when they refer us to their own network.

Making sure we have fun

There’s also the fun element of what we do – a real reflection of our culture that rewards hard work and ambition. As well as our Friday beers and quarterly social activities, we like to get out the office regularly. Last summer, right in the middle of the heatwave, we took our team to Buckland Hall in Wales for a Formula 1 themed day filled with fun challenges – we solved puzzles and built structures from wood. The day ended with go-karting personalised vehicles, and, in true Formula 1 style, finishing with a champagne spray.

The summer before that, ForrestBrown set off to Usk Castle for a treasure hunt with a twist, where our teams had to work out a way to communicate with each other at certain checkpoints. These events were a small gesture of thanks to our hardworking teams – and a chance to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

ForrestBrown away day Usk

Making mental and physical health a priority

On top of our passion for getting out there and having fun, we prioritise mental wellbeing and physical activity. If we want ForrestBrowners to excel at what they do, they need to feel good. A healthy, happy team is the most productive of all.

For us, feeling good on the inside starts with mental wellbeing. ForrestBrown is proud to offer mindfulness sessions with a workshop that empowers people to “connect to themselves first, then with others”. This teaches us about emotional awareness and how to be happier in yourself. Alongside this, our directors have attended a course in mental health first-aid, ensuring our workplace is a safe, healthy environment. We have also trained up a number of mental health first-aiders across the team. For us, the subject of mental health is far from taboo in the office – we ensure issues are recognised, so we can do our bit to respond in a caring and proactive way.

And then, there’s the physical exercise part – another important aspect of our wellbeing initiative. On #WorkoutWednesdays, we have the option to start our day later to make time for a quick morning sweat. This includes free yoga sessions – an increasingly popular class where we get to recharge as a team. And to encourage healthy eating habits alongside our fitness regime, we offer free fruit throughout the office.

Helping people and the planet

We’re a company that values generosity and wants to leave a positive impact on the planet and each of our employees care about this too. We have our very own green initiative – ForrestBrown’s Forest – which means that for every R&D tax credit claim completed, we’ll plant a tree in one of the most impoverished regions of Africa. In Africa’s drylands, trees provide a lifeline to food and income, where the yield feeds communities many times over. Villagers are also trained to harvest sustainably, meaning this positive impact lasts for generations to come. So far, we’ve planted almost 6,000 trees – a number we’re excited to see increase as our business keeps growing.

ForrestBrown forest TREE AID

Growing our impact with our teams

As ForrestBrown keeps growing, our culture, benefits and approaches develop too. Though we remain committed to our founder’s original vision for the company, we’re driven to help others and improve our teams’ livelihoods in every way we can – because ForrestBrown is far more than just a tax business. We are, and always have been, people-focused – a company that our colleagues genuinely enjoy coming to, where they share in our passion for charitable causes, and really feel taken care of.

Interested in joining our team? Register for job alerts or find out where you and your unique set of skills can fit in to our team.