Three women have taken over in a boardroom shake-up at West Yorkshire-based chartered accountancy firm Revell Ward
Audit director Karen Borowski, tax director Lesley Sutton and business services director Jennifer Davies replaced the previous mixed board at the end of February.
The change, Borowski says, stems from two years’ “soul-searching” about the future of the accountancy market and Revell Ward’s strategic plans now reflect the way the business environment is evolving.
“All-female boards are extremely rare in a male-dominated sector like ours, so we are already way ahead of the national target for plcs. Despite the laughs we've had around ‘doing it for the girls’, there are very sound business reasons behind our decision,” she explains.
She points to the way in which the traditional role of an accountant is changing from compliance work to more added value and strategic advice for clients.
“Business owners can access and use accounting software relatively easily, and fewer are paying accountants to do the basics for them. They are instead looking for added value business services that they cannot source internally, such as access to an experienced financial controller, strategic support at board level and tax advice.
“This means our approach has to change in order to keep pace and grow the business, and we believe our focus on long-term partnerships and relationship building through our new board will enable us to do just that.”
The firm has always been supportive and encouraging to women. Until recently they made up 70% of the 16-strong workforce although the ratio has altered slightly with the arrival of three new men.
Borowski says that the three directors bring much experience to the table and that they have each been successful in their chosen fields. And they are already proving their worth by increasing turnover from existing clients.
Although it is early days, working on an all-women board feels very different, she adds. “There’s more multitasking, it’s more proactive and there are fewer board meetings.”
The three are also making their mark by revamping the firm’s branding. This will include losing the “We’re not just men in suits” strapline on their website, she laughs.