Sean talks to Just Entrepreneurs about how we have embedded our ‘doing things differently’ ethos in the office and working relationships, with a workplace culture that emphasises being yourself.
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Hampshire-based accountants Diverso have embedded their ‘doing things differently’ ethos in their office and working relationships, with a workplace culture that emphasises being yourself.
It is an approach developed and inspired by company founder and MD Sean Toomer, a mohawk-haired, dress down day every day, basketball hoop in the office kind of boss who believes breaking with tradition and doing things differently is a virtue and a strength.
“People think ‘fun accountants’ is an oxymoron – but I want to change that perception. I don’t think the formal, suited and booted, jargon-spouting unapproachable, charge-by-the-phonecall accountant is what small businesses want or need. That’s not who I am – and that’s not what we’re about at Diverso.”
The Diverso team, which includes fellow accountants and a digital marketing apprentice, works exclusively with small and micro-businesses, offering a monthly subscription-based service that includes a package of free business support and advice to help their clients succeed, alongside the accountancy provision.
This industry-disrupting approach, which separates them from their more traditional competitors, is echoed in their workplace culture – no set working hours, no dress codes, no formal modes of communication with clients, and making time for relaxation and downtime, whether that’s a spot of basketball in the office, or live streaming a ‘try not to laugh’ challenge with colleagues.
“I think our workplace culture mirrors that of the businesses we serve in so many ways. It’s about getting out what you put in, welcoming energy and new ideas, and developing your own ways of doing things. Small businesses are the ones who look at what’s there and say ‘we can do that better’ and that’s exactly our outlook too. That’s why we’re such a good fit for each other.
“Our clients love us because we’re different. We don’t go chasing the big boys with the big fees – we’ll leave that to the traditional, grey-suit-brigade accountants.
“We love the little guys. The husband and wife partnership with a couple of staff who are like family, the one-man-band with a van, the side-hustler hustling for a better life.
“These everyday people are small business heroes. They are a fantastically diverse, interesting, fun, warm, and inspirational group who are collectively responsible for keeping our economy alive, contributing more than the big corporates by far.”
As the team expands, they are actively seeking accountants to join them as client partners, taking on the responsibility for onboarding and looking after the businesses in their patch. It is important to Sean that the new recruits embrace the work culture of Diverso, which he hopes will be a big part of the job’s appeal.
“As we grow we want to maintain that focus on individual relationships with our clients – that’s the fuel that powers their success and ours. But how our client partners achieve that aim is up to them. This is results only working environment – so we don’t expect them to clock in and out like robots. We give them the space to do the job in a way that works best for them and their clients.
“To that end, we offer unlimited holiday, no set working hours, no dress code, and they can leave off the grunt work of accounts or bookkeeping which is handled centrally. As long as they win new clients and keep the existing ones happy, then we’re happy – and they’re happy too.
“Ultimately that’s what your workplace culture is all about – or should be – getting the job done well, and empowering your people to have happy, fulfilling lives, both in work and out.”
As Marketing Apprentice Lisa Gilham can attest, the workplace culture is a big part of the reason why employees love being part of Diverso.
“After researching Diverso before applying for the role, I liked the culture – especially with the fact that they have a basketball hoop in the office!
“For me, getting an amazing job in such uncertain times has been fantastic. Not only am I enjoying the role itself, but I love no set working hours and flexibility, dress down code, good bonuses, but to top that off good career prospects. In my opinion, this all makes for a great place to work.”