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An innovative and fast-growing accountancy firm has launched a human resources division to complement the existing business advisory services it offers clients.

EST Accountants and Tax Advisers, based in Cardiff and Bristol, has hired HR professional Kate Matthews as a non-executive director to help develop the new division.

DSC 9053A Chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), Mrs Matthews has considerable experience in human resources, together with extensive experience of founding and growing companies in the business services sector.

Targeting start-ups and SMEs in Wales and the South West of England that can’t justify having in-house expertise but now need support and advice as a result of pension auto-enrolment and new employment initiatives such as shared parental leave, the HR division will provide a full service offering.
The division will be headed up by Rhian Hayes, who joins from Business Wales, the business advisory body of the Welsh Government. With over a decade of HR experience, spanning both the public and private sectors, Hayes will provide a day-to-day advisory role to EST’s clients.

Delivered on both a retainer and ad hoc basis, EST will guide clients through all of their HR requirements, from pre-employment issues, such as recruitment and induction, to employment matters, such as training and development, through to post-employment issues, including dismissals and redundancies.
Mrs Matthews, said: “With pension auto-enrolment and employment law changes, such as the introduction of national living wage, many SMEs who would not previously have sought HR advice are now seeking professional expertise and solid legislative guidance to give them peace of mind that staffing and employment issues are being managed appropriately.

“The division has been established to complement EST’s existing services, particularly its payroll offering. We want up to free up the valuable time of our clients, many of which are owner-managed businesses, leaving them to focus on progressing and growing their businesses and doing what they do best.”

Seen as a natural bedfellow to EST’s payroll services, the firm has also strengthened its provision in this area with the appointment of Michelle Clark, as payroll manager. Joining from residential and supported living company, Tracscare Group, where she was responsible for managing the payroll of over 1200 employees, Ms Clark has more than 20 years’ payroll experience and is currently studying to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals.
While a unique move for an accountancy firm, with HR notoriously a service tagged on to law firms, EST is hoping to differentiate itself from other providers in the marketplace due to the trusted advisory role it has with its clients.

Barry Esterhuizen, director of EST, said: “While there are law firms that offer a HR provision, we will be one of only a handful of accountancy firms across the UK to have a dedicated HR division. But when you consider the trusted relationship we have with clients, and the fact that payroll spans both human resources and finance, it is a natural move for us.

“The approach we will take to our new HR offering, echoes that of our accountancy provision, in that it is based on strong client relationships, commercial advice and a solid understanding of our clients’ businesses.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that we add value to businesses, not just compliance advice, and this will be mirrored in our HR division where we will provide an exceptional level of support on an ongoing, not transactional, basis. It is a much more value-for-money offering and allows us to partner with businesses to provide trusted advice, which will not only help them grow, but recruit and retain the best staff.”

Established in 2013, EST has quickly made a name for itself in the marketplace not only for the added-value accountancy and tax services it provides clients, but for being a good employer. In 2015, the young, dynamic firm took a bold move to offer its employees unlimited holidays. Esterhuizen continued: “We know how important it is to look after our staff and we are not afraid to adopt innovative employment initiatives in doing so. Having developed a reputation for providing flexible working schemes and using unlimited holiday to retain staff and create an attractive place to work, we can use our own first-hand experience when advising clients on HR matters.

“There are no other accountancy firms in our marketplace offering HR advice and we believe there is a real opportunity for us to make a huge difference to our clients and businesses in the area.”