Why work for a boutique independent firm?

wayne horwood HNH Group Belfast

Wayne Horwood, HNH Group

As the HNH Group is about to embark upon expansion in both the Deal Advisory and Business Advisory & Restructuring teams, I asked myself the question: “Why would someone want to join a boutique locally owned firm such as HNH as opposed to gaining experience in the more traditional big four accountancy firm environment?”

Rather than just brain dumping, I thought no better place to start than to ask the existing HNH team for their views. A sample of some of the responses I received are:

  • I like the variety of work that I get exposed to, how I am encouraged to pursue sectors of interest to me and how I get input in team strategy.
  • Personal interest is taken in staff to ensure they are happy in the workplace and are achieving their goals.
  • Less structure around workflow/requirements can be a good thing and bad thing, gives you more autonomy, but also can mean everyone is out of sync sometimes.
  • Less hoops to jump through, such as pre-engagement acceptance or preparation steps.
  • Directors are very approachable and flexible, regarding time etc.
  • Work life balance is excellent.
  • Based on how you work and results rather than micro-managed.
  • Client interaction (Don’t necessarily get in big four).
  • More holidays would be nice.
  • Discretionary bonus scheme for staff.
  • The only thing I miss from big four environment is access to support staff / junior staff to help with certain tasks.
  • Your opinion/ideas are always welcome, there is no ‘this is how we do things’ attitude.
  • There is a great sense of efficiency – come in, get your work done, enjoy life outside of work and no ‘face-timing’ like they do in the big 4!
  • Ability to operate independently.
  • Opportunities and autonomy afforded by senior management.
  • Constant focus on developing firm and enhancing brand.
  • Opportunities to develop contacts and network.
  • Not just a number like in a larger firm.

There were many more comments but based on the above, the key messages which emerge in relation to working in our boutique business are:

1: If you want autonomy, diversity and full exposure to all aspects of the business early in your career, HNH provides a good opportunity to do this.

2: Self-starters with initiative and passion have the opportunity to thrive in a boutique environment such as HNH.

3: HNH is a young, owner-managed business with pride in its culture of work hard, play hard and don’t be sitting around the office just to be seen in the office.

4: We might not give the best holidays in the market place but we are not bureaucratic and can be flexible where possible.

5: HNH is dynamic. No fresh ideas are dismissed and we encourage the team to opine on all aspects of the business as we need to continually improve what we do.

6: At HNH, we are proud of our brand and we want to continue to develop it, our service lines, geographical reach and fundamentally the quality of work we deliver to our clients.

7: At HNH, we are proud of our people and our team culture. We want people to develop, have fun and enjoy their careers.

Sarah Orange, HNH Human Capital

Sarah Orange, HNH Human Capital

8: HNH tries to incentivise each member of the team financially for team success.

So if you think a career in HNH could be for you and you are a newly or recently qualified chartered accountant, please get in touch with HNH Human Capital Managing Partner, Sarah Orange by email sarah@hnhhumancapital.com , phone 02890278155 or submit your CV online.