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The Chartwell Practice Story

The Chartwell Practice Story so far…

The early years…

The practice was founded by Steven Bourne and Frank Startin on the 1st November 1999 in offices on the Branston Road.


Frank and Steve were joined by a small team initially – mostly made up of new mothers looking to return to the world of work, on a part-time basis.


Right from the start we built the practice on the belief that our team are our greatest asset. This was confirmed when we were awarded ‘Investors in People’ at an early stage in 2001. We run our practice based on these principles and this standard today still informs our ethos and the way that we work.


As our client base and our team continued to grow we soon realised that the premises where we started (which seemed enormous when we moved in) were no longer going to be adequate – so in 2004 we found more prestigious, larger premises in the beautiful St Paul’s Square, near the Town Hall in Burton-on-Trent: where we still are based today.


“We are first and foremost business people who enjoy being accountants and helping business people to get the most out of their enterprises”


We do this through doing the traditional year-end work but also in passing on our business learning and experience to our clients. We know what it is like to start a business from scratch and we know what the risks and rewards involved in that can be. It is good then, from time to time to have our success in that confirmed in the form of business awards.


Almost before we knew it, 10 years had passed since The Chartwell Practice was founded and we thought it would be fun to re-create the mothers and children on the stairs shot that launched the practice in 1999 but now in 2009 in a different building, different stairs and all of the participants looking that bit older (and wiser!)


We very much believe in working to a high standard to meet all of our clients’ needs whilst still maintaining a work life balance for our team and their families. Consequently we have always operated flexitime – well before it became a legal requirement. The Chartwell practice is family orientated and that is probably why we have built a specialty in looking after family company clients.


By 2009 we had added quite considerably to the team and so, as part of our celebrations, we thought it would be good to invite some of our team’s families to help us celebrate our first 10 years.


We also took a day out of work and spent the day navigating a couple of boats down a local canal. This proved to be a great team bonding (and building) exercise as well as an opportunity to practise time management in getting to a canal side pub for lunch and back to the marina again before our boat hire ran out! This definitely reflects our Chartwell Practice culture of “serious stuff in a fun way”!


In 2006 Martin Chilver became the third partner of the practice. He initially joined us as a summer intern from university and then trained and qualified with us as a chartered accountant. He is now our tax guru and company finance and restructuring specialist.


We think it is vital to encourage our team to grow through training, delegation and through passing on our experience and knowledge. We have found that one of the best ways of doing this is through the apprenticeship scheme. We thoroughly recommend this as a route to growing a solid and successful business. Our commitment to this was recognised back in 2011 when we won the National Apprenticeship Service regional award for apprenticeships. This picture shows Lauren Guyler and Joe Dimambro our two apprentices at the time helping Frank and Steve collect the award.


We were immensely proud when Lauren Guyler helped us to win the North West Region Small Employer Apprenticeship of the year 2012 which was well deserved recognition of her dedication and hard work in studying, her training and helping our clients.


Leonie Williams of Bentley Motors, presenting the NW Region Small Employer Apprenticeship Award 2012 to Lauren Guyler and Martin Chilver.


The local business community also recognised Lauren’s excellent work with this practice when she was judged the winner of the Young Employee of the Year at the Burton Mail Business Awards in October 2013.


Here at the Chartwell Practice we firmly believe in local networking and referrals as a way of helping our clients to do business with each other as well as building new business contacts and relationships. This is an excellent way to establish solid growth in any business.


To that end, in 2008 Frank Startin of The Chartwell Practice, together with Chris Towe, an expert business networker, founded a local business network called “Gone Fishing For Business”. We co-sponsored this excellent business network for five years before letting others take over in supporting Chris in helping people who have “Gone Fishing for Business” which he is still doing today.


The Chartwell Practice prides itself on being part of the local business community and we are always looking for opportunities to support local initiatives such as business exhibitions and business award competitions. Taking part in these is an excellent way of keeping in touch with the local business community and, in entering for awards, a great way of celebrating success and ensuring that our team’s valuable contributions to our clients are recognised publically (even if we don’t always win!).


‘Grow Your Own Business’ at the Think Local 4 Business Show September 2011.


Excerpt from the Burton Mail covering our “Super Accountant Stand” at the 17th July 2013 ‘Business Connects’ Exhibition.


Over the years, as business owners ourselves and through our privileged position in advising hundreds of clients firms, we have learnt a great deal about what it takes to grow a small business and the things that can happen that get in the way of that growth. In 2012 Frank Startin co authored a book with Steve Hackney of Academy for Growth, which is packed with real, hands-on examples of practical measures to ensure that any small business can boost its growth and get back on track to expansion, profits and success.



In 2015 The Chartwell Practice celebrated its 15th Birthday by shutting its office for the day and taking the whole of its team out for the day. The morning kicked off with coffee and cake at St John’s Street Gallery in Ashbourne, followed by a walk along the Tissington Trail in Derbyshire. This was followed by a celebratory meal at The Devonshire Arms in Hartington before heading back to St Paul’s Square in Burton.


Steven Bourne, co-founder of The Chartwell Practice said: “We didn’t want our 15th birthday as a business to pass without saying a big thank you to all our team who have worked so hard in helping our clients and building this practice over the years.


This was recognised in our winning the Burton Mail Business Award for Customer Service.

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"The Chartwell Practice – we make the serious stuff fun"

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