Accountants may not draw quite the same level of disdain as banks, but nobody in the financial sector came out of the crash with a great reputation. With that in mind it’s good to see Grant Thornton’s new boss planning a radical shakeup aimed at boosting integrity and trust in the business.
The firm’s already structured as a partnership but Sacha Romanovitch wants to create a profit share scheme that benefits every employee rather than just those at the top. It stops short of the employee-ownership model of the likes of John Lewis but at least means junior staff will get a share in the firm's good fortunes.
She will also cap her own total remuneration at 20 times that of her average employee – compared to an average multiple of 149 for FTSE 100 chief execs. That’s likely to generate a more hefty salary at a professional services firm than it would at a supermarket of course, but it's nonethless a bold step.
Romanovitch’s desire for change goes way beyond pay though. She says she wants to allow some junior staff to attend board meetings, boost diversity and modernise views on flexible working and social media.
‘If there’s a message that I’d want to get out to people, it’s that this world needs people to be authentic, to be themselves, clear about what their passion and purpose is, and bring that into the business world,’ she told the Evening Standard. ‘What you really want are people who think differently, have a different perspective on the world.’
Romanovitch’s ideas aren’t all that new but it’s refreshing to see a top beancounter who recognises the sector’s problems and is keen to address them.