Our next Q&A features Amanda Chadwick, senior presenter at Croner.  For over twenty five years, she’s helped tens of thousands of business owners with everyday issues in employment law and health and safety law.  In her opening day Keynote, she’ll be discussing some of the recent legislation changes that businesses need to be aware of — including health & safety policies, contracts of employment, company handbooks, and GDPR. 

How did you get in to the profession?

I first got into speaking/training at the age of 17.  When I was 16, I started out as a YTS for Hertz Reservations UK in the Sales office, my Mum’s advice was to work extremely hard and don’t answer back!  Within a couple of months, I was taken on full time and became at that time the youngest employee they had.  I found myself with a lovely mentor who became poorly – we were at the end of writing a sales manual for a new very large and important client.  As I was the only other person who knew about the product, processes and procedure, I was thrown in at the deep end and sent out all over the country implementing the training.  I found out I was excellent at communicating complicated things simply.

Further on in my career, I found myself working for cable/satellite providers and broadcasters.  I became responsible for writing and implementing incentive programmes, motivating employees and working on employee engagement.  It was during a million pound conference I organised, that I found myself giving incentive prizes away to employees who I felt shouldn’t have been rewarded due to outstanding disciplinary procedures and questionable performances — while the employees with the best records, conversions, retentions and profit were left at the wayside.

The crunch came when the board were relying on management to deliver targets/objectives but they were not being implemented effectively as HR and Directors were working the business in their favour and with employees they liked.  As a result, nobody seemed to be paying attention to trends and forecasts and inevitably redundancies happened.  Once again I thrown in at the deep end and I quickly realised I needed to know more about employment law and qualified in it.  Wellbeing and health & safety became part of that process and knowledge, as they are all joined together.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging for me is reading, understanding legislation and then transforming, for example, 84 pages of legislation and putting it into a small paragraph for an employee handbook and deliver that message at a seminar.  I don’t know many employers that have the time to do that.

And the most rewarding?

Standing at one of my seminars and actually helping businesses, employers, and HR with workable policies that will really solve issues and stop the worry and stress that comes from it all.

What do you see as key trends for the accounting sector in the coming years?

Having worked with accountants for a long time I have already seen major changes in the relationship between accountant and client.  The pension act highlighted how employers really depend on their accountant for the right advice and support.  Whatever happens in employment, health & safety, finance, and tax law, the accountant will always be the person that their clients turn to in great times and bad – that won’t change but their clients’ demands will.  And because of this accountants will need to learn to change.

Moving forward I believe that accountants will have to embrace a huge change in the use of technology and communicating with clients.  Technology will have an amazing impact on both the accountant and client’s life – it will help with updates, communication, reminders, law changes and accounting data.  I also think that the accountant will also be depended on more as a business growth and financial adviser.

So in summary: more apps, software and technology but be aware of GDPR, which is something accountants forget about.  Sometimes they do not realise the amount of data they hold, how sensitive it is and how protected that data should be…by the way at Croner we can help accountants with this.

How important is Accountex to you and the sector?

I would advise everyone that if there is ONE event to go to “as a one stop shop” they should make the effort every year and put in their diary: “GOING TO Accountex”.  It truly is the place to go for all the best information, advice, support, which will keep you ahead of your game and also you meet great people there.

What do you want visitors to take away from your session?

I want them to know, that we are on their side – employment and health & safety law is there and we can’t avoid it or ignore it.  I want them to think I have made it easier to understand and see policies and procedures as cost saving and preventative.  If they need extra support they know where to go to – Croner (we have been around for over 70 years).

Who or what inspires you to be even better?

Easy answer – the employers of this country.  Especially the small employers – I am here for them alongside Croner.

It hit home last year when I was delivering a talk in Hull and there was an employer there with two part time staff and an apprentice.  He had never had contracts in place or followed procedures and there I am saying it was the law and he needs to get a General Data Protection Policy in place!  It inspires me to make it easier to understand and cost effective to implement.  I am so passionate about making a business work regardless of size and want to teach them everything I know and that Croner knows from employee engagement, incentives, motivation, health and safety, HR issues and employment law.  One wrong step and its over for some businesses, that thought sticks with me.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

I have had loads of advice and it usually came from my late Mother:

  • Honesty – I do not lie
  • Be yourself – what you see is what you get
  • Whoever you meet doesn’t matter who they are treat them as you expect to be treated
  • If you make a mistake, admit it
  • Embrace change both professionally and personally – everything evolves and to make things work we have to too.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that most people don’t know:

I was a cheerleader for the very first Manchester Giants.  I was also a competitive power lifter – rated third in the UK.  Oh, and I only have one working ear and that hears only about 70% — but it does me fine.

See Amanda at Accountex 2018

For session details and timings, please visit: www.accountex.co.uk/speaker/amanda-chadwick.

To register for a free ticket to attend, please visit https://eventdata.uk/Visitor/Accountex.aspx?TrackingCode=ACX108.

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