A fast-growing team of accountants has taken on more staff after creating its own traineeship programme which has produced four new apprentices. The Durham franchise of Certax has been based at Parson’s Court on Aycliffe Business Park since August 2013. After impressive growth, partners Matthew McConnell and Jonathan Tait bought their own premises in 2015 after renting a nearby office block for two years. In September 2016, Certax Durham added eight new employees to its growing team and has since added another four. They include new payroll director Craig Holmes and apprentices Nathan Ebblewhite (accounts), Ellis Tait (accounts), Shelby Raine (admin) and Aran Wilkinson (tax), who have completed a new training programme with the firm. Certax teamed up with a local recruitment consultant to advertise the traineeship scheme, which received 60 applicants who were whittled down to 10. Seven took part in the six-week training programme. The four successful applicants started their apprenticeships in January, three studying at New College Durham and one at Bishop Auckland College.

Matthew McConnell said: “We wanted to come up with a training programme to give young local people the opportunity to get a foot in the door of accounting and finance. During the six-week training programme the applicants got a general feel for how the business works. They’d spend the morning on basic work experience – answering the phones and general admin – and in the afternoon they spent time with a tutor, learning basic accounting and VAT return analysis. Along with the appointment of Craig Holmes as payroll director, Certax has also promoted three junior staff to account managers. The move will enable the partners to spend more time on business development while completing their studies to become fully-accredited chartered accountants. Matthew said “We have ambitious plans to grow the business so we’ve appointed three accounts managers to manage our bank of clients, while Craig will also be solely responsible for existing payroll clients as well as winning new work. It will enable us to spend more time with our clients and develop the business, as well as complete our studies to become fully chartered accountants. “Becoming fully chartered will enable us to win more new clients and grow the business further.”

Certax’s team at Aycliffe is now 20, with a client list of over 1,000. .It’s an impressive success story for entrepreneurs McConnell and Tait, who were aged just 23 and 22 respectively when they launched the business with one administrator. Certax Durham can help businesses with all elements of finance, from audits, self assessment tax, payroll and VAT returns, accounts for sole traders, partnerships and limited companies, personal and business taxation planning, company formation and corporation tax compliance and planning. Certax also uses and offers free training in the KashFlow accounting system, which saves businesses precious time by providing a quick and easyto-use online system which helps them keep on top of their finances with invoicing, cash flow management and automatic VAT return generation and filing at the touch of a button. Certax  is at Units 8/9 Parsons Court, Welbury Way, Tel: 01325 315666, email info@certaxdurham.co.uk or www.certaxdurham.co.uk