Ade Cheatham
23 November '20

8 minute read

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Back in 2019, we started our financial year with ambitious growth plans. Our expectations, optimism, and energy? Sky-high.

Now, we’ll be the first to admit plans for a global pandemic escaped our flipcharts, and yet, here we are.

Preparation wasn’t an option. But the flexibility to reimagine and revolutionise every aspect of life at CP was. And – as ever – it was led by our people. Every step of the way.


We’re delighted to share that for the year ending 30 April 2020, our continuing business revenue grew organically by 10% to £31m, with average partner profits increasing by 22%.

Our first half FY21 results for the six months ending 31 October 2020 are also incredibly positive. Revenue continues to grow strongly, with first half like-for-like growth of 12%. Despite depressed economic conditions, H1 has been our best ever, with equity profits up 79% on the same period last year.


We’ve continued to invest in our teams, bringing fresh expertise in to complement and build on what CP already had to offer.

In particular, our R&D Incentives, Private Client Tax, Indirect Tax, and Not for Profit Audit teams have all welcomed a number of new senior faces over the last year – across the Midlands, London, and the UK.

Other senior hires have led to the unveiling of our new package, CP Futures – a team working with early stage, scale-up and high growth businesses, navigating the finance, strategy, technology, fundraising and cultural challenges on their growth journey.


Our culture and the flexibility that includes are an irreplaceable part of what makes CP, CP.

When the first lockdown began, we transitioned to remote working effectively, building on two years of remote audit experience and our pre-existing, business-wide usage of Microsoft Teams.

But, more than that, we were able to quickly introduce a virtual wellbeing program to give our people the support they needed too – keeping them connected, even when they were apart.

That included virtual pub quizzes, HIIT classes, yoga classes, workshops, mindfulness tips and much more. We quickly realised tech isn’t a barrier to human interaction. It’s an enabler. And although our interactions moved online, our culture and close-knit commitment to our values never skipped a beat.

Likewise, our productivity. And the transition went so well, in fact, that towards the end of April, our CEO, Ade, announced we’re now ‘Working From Anywhere. Anytime. Forever’ – a decision built on freedom of choice, trust, and the power to shape your work around your life – and not the other way round.

In October 2020, our Chief People Officer, April Bembridge, was once again named in the Inspiring Workplaces Top 101 Global Employee Engagement Influencer list, and one month prior to that, we welcomed our new People Team Director, Cathy Hastie, to CP.

Now, boosted by fresh ideas and energy, we’re all set to take our all-important culture from strength to strength.


We set up our COVID-19 taskforce, reaching out to businesses to see where we could help, assisting with government support packages, and summarising the daily wave of comms in an easy-to-digest manner.

We moved things around too. Some clients needed to postpone; others had the capacity to do things quicker. And because we’ve been delivering remote audits for a few years now, we were able to continue doing so smoothly throughout lockdown.

Our focus on client engagement stood tall, with our popular programme of physical events paused and re-launched virtually. Our HUB CP events, designed to bring together and inspire entrepreneurs, continued to do just that. And our first HUB CP podcast with Rob Law, founder of Trunki, featured in ‘Top Entrepreneurship Shows’, ‘Top News Shows’ and ‘Top Business Shows’ on iTunes.

Client experience (CX) as a whole is something that’s super important to us. We’re proud to say our Net Promoter Score (NPS) reached +75 recently – indicating exceptional client satisfaction and loyalty levels, and showing our switch to remote working has been well received.


COVID-19 aside, the year continued to be successful in its own right. We climbed 5 places to 8th in The Sunday Times’ 2020 Best Companies to Work For – a list that means so much to us because it’s based on our peoples’ feedback. And now we’ve broken into the Top 10, next stop: #1. Here’s hoping.

Then, there were these wins, too:

  • Best Wellbeing Strategy at the 2020 European Employee Engagement Awards;
  • Best Employer in Tax at the 2020 Tolley’s Tax Awards;
  • Top Employer in Accounting & Professional Services and Most Innovative Recruitment Campaign at the 2020 School Leaver Awards;
  • Pensions Accountancy Firm of the Year at the 2020 Pensions Age Awards;
  • Property Week Management All-Stars Employer of the Year 2019; and
  • Highly Commended for Tax Team of the Year at the 2019 British Accountancy Awards.

It may seem like a strange time to dwell on award wins. But each prize is a timely reminder that it’s all working. Our focus on culture is building an engaged, inspired team, and they’re giving our clients the service and expertise they deserve.

Our ‘make life count’ mantra burns brighter than ever, and this year, our main charity partner was the incredible Anthony Nolan. 243 of our people gave 1,700 hours back as part of our Community Day, and we’re currently running, walking, cycling, dancing, baking and pogoing our way through our ’10 for 10k’ challenge – aiming to raise £10,000 for Anthony Nolan before 2020 ends through a variety of challenges involving the number 10.


Our goal is always to make sure we’re best-placed to deliver exceptional client service and be #1 in our target markets. Our plans to make that happen always rest on the learning and development and wellbeing of our teams. So, that will remain priority number one for us.

That’s why, at the start of FY21, we re-invented our Wellbeing Wheel, focusing on Gallup’s strengths-based approach and the five essential elements of wellbeing – physical, community, social, career and financial – with excellent feedback from our teams.

Last year, we spoke about our exit from the PKF international network. This year, we’re excited to have started collaborating with likeminded businesses and building a global community. It’s early days but it already feels like the start of something special for us and our clients.

2020 has been a tricky year. No doubt. But we’ve stuck to what we know best, and, importantly, what we know works. Get your culture right, give people the chance to play to their strengths, and everything else falls into place. In the great times. And the unique ones.


“I often talk about the 2008 financial crisis as a major turning point in the CP story, using a four-letter word that’s probably not fit for print. 2020 has been another one of those moments – for us and most of our clients – but to look back at the year and share these results means a lot, and it’s testament to the incredible people we’ve got here and the culture they’ve built.”


“What’s stood out more than anything through 2020 is that the culture we strive so hard to build at CP is stronger than ever. CPers have come together and feel closer and more connected than I believed possible in multiple lockdowns.

“The spirit of our people makes CP what it is. That spirit’s got us through this past year, and despite many personal struggles our people have faced, they’ve still found the time and compassion to help others less fortunate than themselves, through various community focused activities and charitable fundraising.

“We’ve continued to attract and retain amazing talent, setting us up for continued success. So, whatever the next few months or next year brings – we’re ready for it.”


“I’ve had my nose pressed up against the window of CP like a sweet shop for years! I was really excited to have the opportunity to join the tribe. I’m two months in and I can honestly say that the people focus is real and genuine and the results are evident. This continues to be our focus and we are adding in HR Transformation which is such an important part of how we support CP in its next phase of growth.”