How Cooper Parry blends profit, purpose and balance sheets - B Lab UK

How Cooper Parry blends profit, purpose and balance sheets

As the UK's largest accountancy B Corp, they’ve found that becoming a B Corp has helped them become a stronger business – and served as the backbone for everything they aim to achieve impact-wise regarding their workers, the environment and the community.

Cooper Parry has been called ‘The Rebels of Accountancy’ as well as the ‘#1 Accountancy Firm to Work For’. But they’re about much more than accounting and audits – they’re transforming the very essence of what it means to be an accountancy firm in the modern age.

  • Company: Cooper Parry 
  • Location: London, Birmingham, East Midlands
  • Size: 1,150 employees
  • Industry: Financial services
  • Purpose: To help entrepreneurial businesses across the UK grow and transform their culture

The challenge 

  • Synchronising growth with sustainable values 
  • Finding like-minded financial partners 

Cooper Parry's 3-year vision in 2022 was to triple in size and become the 12th largest firm in the UK & Top 10 in Ireland – with offices in the East Midlands, Birmingham, London, Ireland, Manchester, Leeds and Bristol. As part of reaching this goal, they needed to find like-minded financial partners to supercharge their growth.  

They were also committed to sustainability – and to working smarter, not harder. They wanted staff who were genuinely happy, engaged and supported in their day-to-day lives, from being paid well to having truly flexible hours and clear career progression. 

Cooper Parry’s head of sustainability, Nicoleta Ciobanu says, “The most impactful part of the B Corp process wasn’t about being certified at all. It was the learning and the chance to re-think, re-imagine and improve every aspect of our business through the B Impact Assessment’s (BIA) wide-reaching lens.”

"B Corp brought everyone together under one mission and, I could go as far as to say, put our house in order."

How B Corp Certification helped 

  • Demonstration of holistic values 
  • Supporting green financing deal

While Cooper Parry was completing its B Corp Certification, it also found a new investor in Waterland Private Equity. “The B Corp Certification and the values it stood upon played a part in this journey,” says Gemma Walton, Sustainability Advisor at Cooper Parry. Being a B Corp signalled to investors that Cooper Parry was built on a foundation of integrity and sustainable growth.

“Investors love the ‘slower, better, stronger’ businesses – although Cooper Parry definitely doesn’t do things slowly. We’ve set our 3-year vision in 2022, and we’ve already achieved it in terms of growth,” says Nicoleta. 

The emphasis on B Corp principles also proved advantageous in financial negotiations. Cooper Parry’s commitment to net zero, enhanced diversity and inclusion, and overall sustainable practices were pivotal in their green financing deal with their bankers. Not only did it cement their reputation as a purpose-driven firm, but it also led to a significant reduction in loan margins.

The impact 

  • Surpassing growth milestones 
  • Building a sustainable framework

B Corp wasn't just a certification for Cooper Parry. It became the blueprint for how they operate now and in the future. “B Corp brought everyone together under one mission and, I could go as far as to say, put our house in order,” says Nicoleta.

The B Keepers Programme, run by B Lab to help B Corps engage their employees, made the B Corp values part of employee performance. By reporting it annually, Cooper Parry has not only elevated employee engagement but also educated them on the importance of their decisions on people and the planet.

“Every new employee that comes on board now has a session on B Corp, wider sustainability, and diversity and inclusion,” says Gemma. “That way, as soon as they start, they know what it means to be a B Corp, and every decision they make can then be infused with B Corp values. It also helps give employees a tangible thing to be loud and proud about.”

Cooper Parry's unique approach to employee engagement is embodied in its four teams (for the purpose of employee engagement and social aspects): Be brave, play all in, be nice, and keep learning. By integrating B Corp values into these teams, the firm has transformed how its employees view sustainability. Being a B Corp is not just an add-on – it's now integral to the Cooper Parry identity.

To learn more, head to the Cooper Parry website and its page on the B Corp Directory.

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