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Lynsey Light and her team at Kreston Reeves
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Recruitment and culture Q&A: Kreston Reeves

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As recruitment struggles continue to torment accountancy firms, Kayleigh Graham interviews Lynsey Light on culture at Kreston Reeves and how they have embraced core values as a firm.

11th Jul 2022
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This is the first in a brand new series of interviews which showcases what different firms are doing to create great cultures and attract and retain talent. The first firm under the spotlight is Kreston Reeves. 

The 2021 Accounting Excellence large firm of the year opened the discussion of their personal values beyond the corporate boardroom and included everyone in the firm. It used all the feedback from its employees to roll out its personal values and purpose. 

The Kreston Reeves purpose is “guiding our clients, colleagues and communities to a brighter future”. So, with accountancy firms struggling to recruit at the moment,  how does this purpose translate to the culture within the firm? 

Having worked at Kreston Reeves for 11 years, and in her role as senior business advisory manager, Lynsey Light (pictured above) has seen the firm really embrace the needs for great culture and, during the pandemic, helped to spearhead the firm's initiative of each individual defining their purpose.

Lynsey Light

In this interview, Lynsey explains how this ‘bottom up’ approach with personal purpose has strengthened the culture at Kreston Reeves and has informed their hiring process. 

So Lynsey, what’s your purpose?

My purpose is to encourage others to find their voice in business and help them to grow. I think it’s important to speak up and I encourage everyone, regardless of race, sex, gender to do just that!

How does having a personal purpose affect work? 

We’ve encouraged everyone to find what they’re passionate about so that not everything is just about work. If someone is really passionate about the environment that means they can bring that passion into work, they can champion those things and really affect change. It allows us to be more than ‘just a business,’ we can look at what people care about and be conscious about the impact it has on the world. Ultimately it helps us all to live the KR purpose and really embrace our clients, colleagues and communities. 

Can you describe Kreston Reeves’ culture in three words? 

This was really difficult but I think I’ve managed it (with some help from the team). 

  • Grass roots: We do lots in our communities and we want to keep that up and stay involved
  • Ambitious: We really try and encourage our people to be innovative and think big! 
  • Robust: We not only survived the pandemic but launched our values in the middle of it and have continued to drive them forward ever since.

You’ve mentioned the launch of personal values during the pandemic. How did you go about that? 

Firstly, we reached out to everyone and said that we understood that there was a lot going on and that everyone had their own passions and concerns and that we wanted people to be able to express that at work.

We asked for lots of feedback around what people were interested in and had things ranging from ‘women in business’ to ‘saving the fish’ which allowed us to then group them into sustainable development goals. From there we had everyone expand on an individual purpose and created a firm wide video of people sharing their purpose. 

This has then evolved into being included in our appraisals, our hiring process as well as adding new things like paid volunteering days to our overall benefits package.

Setting objectives around an individual's purpose, understanding purpose at a hiring level has really helped to keep momentum around this. 

How do you strike the balance between cultural fit and bringing in new ideas/innovation when hiring? 

We want to hire people who have the same underlying values that we hold as a firm but we still want to introduce new ideas. No one is perfect and we encourage people to speak up and challenge ideas - accountancy is still changing so much. 

How has culture changed, if at all, since the introduction of personal purpose? 

People used to buy into ‘why’ now they buy into ‘who’ and so our team having a personal purpose and brand is crucial. We’ve seen so much more networking, volunteering and such a shift in how people want to be viewed both internally and externally  

What’s one piece of advice you would give to a firm looking to improve culture? 

Make sure it’s authentic! Embed it in all that you do and live the values day in, day out. It can’t just be a top down activity.