WorkspaceIf you follow us on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed we advertise new vacancies quite a lot. It’s certainly no secret that we’re expanding fast, and taking on new recruits like it’s going out of fashion – we were the UK’s fastest growing accountancy firm last year, after all.

Side wallIn the last year or so, though, we’ve been having trouble finding people with the skills we need. Accountants are in short supply up and down the country (vacancies increased 15% in the last year according to APSCo), and it’s no different down here in Brighton. Darren was even interviewed by Accountancy Age on this very subject. To address this shortage, and make sure we have a steady supply of talented accountants and Account Managers as we take on our next 5,000 clients, we’re today opening the Crunch Academy.

We’ve recommissioned the space that served as the very first Crunch office (affectionately known as The Dungeon to those who worked there due to its somewhat subterranean setting) and worked with local designer Clare Devlin to transform it into a modern, open space perfect for training small groups.

The Crunch Academy is where we’ll be doing all our staff training from now on (we actually test-drove it with some Product Owner training on Tuesday – but keep that to yourselves), including all our accountancy qualifications, starting today with the AAT Level 2 Bookkeeping certification. As of yesterday we’re an approved AAT training provider, meaning AAT courses and exams can all happen on-site.

Who will be receiving this training, you ask? Well, that’s the other half of the story. We’ve welcomed no fewer than eight new faces to Crunch Towers alongside the Academy. Our new starters (four Accounting Apprentices and four trainee Account Managers) will be enjoying tutelage from our Training Managers Laura and Chloe in the Academy. But they won’t be the only ones enjoying our new digs – the Academy will be open to the entire Crunch team.

Why are we bringing our training in-house?

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Plenty of reasons!

We already have the skills to do it

Training Manager Laura used to teach this very course before she joined us, and between our team we have almost a century of experience. This brain trust of tax and accounting knowledge has barely been tapped into, and we want to find new ways to share skills amongst our team – the Academy is just the first step.

Waiting area

We like to recruit on potential

Lots of companies will recruit talented candidates even if they don’t have the necessary skillsets or qualifications – and we’re no different – but in accountancy it’s a little harder. We can’t let an Apprentice loose on a set of live accounts if they don’t have the necessary qualifications, no matter how promising they are! Bringing our training in-house means we can help our team attain qualifications quicker, grow our team faster, and service our clients better.

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It’s easier

Having all our training and examinations right here means our Accountants will save days per year in travel time. It also means it’ll be much easier to mix classroom and on-the-job training. Our Apprentices can learn something in the morning, and be using that knowledge in the afternoon.

We think we can train people betterLectern

Not “better” in a vainglorious way, but better for the needs of those involved. We can tailor the training to suit our clients’ needs, and our Apprentices can learn more than just spreadsheets and tax. We won’t just be dishing out accounting training – we’ll also be doing sessions on design, marketing, programming, data protection, productivity – in other words, every aspect of running a modern business. We don’t want to create a production line of automatons, we want to build a collaborative, relaxed place where our whole team can get some professional development, and learn from one another.

Academy render

Note: The final wall design is slightly less… hallucinogenic

 We’re already planning the next intake for the Academy for late summer. If you’ll be finishing College this year and have a penchant for figures – or if you fancy a career change and an exciting new challenge – check out our jobs page and put a reminder in your diary.