This article was first published in Heart of the City's Good Business newsletter and can be accessed here.
As part of British Science Week and and Westminster City Council’s STEAM week, Ecovis Wingrave Yeats opened its doors to our first ever data analytics workshop for students. As an accounting firm with a data analytics service, we are in a unique position to combine all elements of STEAM – science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and even art, through data visualisaton! The aim of the workshop was to support young people to raise aspirations, develop an appetite for success, broaden their horizons and explore the world of STEAM subjects and how they can translate to real-world careers later in life.
The workshop invited students from St George’s school in Westminster, a comprehensive school with pupils from minority backgrounds. We took the students through the creative process of a commercial data science project, in the fun context of chart music trends. Members of our data analytics team presented on topics that helped the students to understand what it means to be a data analyst in practice, to appraise a dataset in groups, encourage them to think about additional data sources that could be layered with their data sources that could be layered with their data to gain stronger insights, and to consider the implications of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).
Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from the attendees and on social media, the data analytics workshop we ran will soon become an integral part of our training programme, which is open to anyone who has a passion for what we do here at Ecovis. We actively recruit school leavers into our apprenticeship scheme and offer work experience to local schools. Going forward, we are looking to create a more structured work experience scheme for the future, much like our work experience schemes with Thames Reach and House of St Barnabas – our charity partners that aim to get disadvantaged people back into work.
Not only do these schemes create an opportunity for people to gain valuable experience and insight, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests cognitive diversity contributes to better decision making within teams. Studies show that diverse teams pay more attention to risk management and are less susceptible to group think. Many studies have explored the link between corporate diversity and performance, and have found that gender, ethnic and cultural diversity correlate to greater company profitability.
As the tech industry evolves, and data, AI and machine learning become more prevalent in what used to be ‘traditional’ careers such as accounting, it is important for firms like Ecovis to ensure that our workforce keeps up with the pace of change and is trained and understanding the relationship between data analytics and accounting. As a firm that focuses heavily on training the future leaders of tomorrow, a good chunk of whom are school leavers and apprentices, it is important for us to provide skills training that reflects the evolving nature of the industry, as well as the diverse and talented pool of candidates that a city like London offers.
We strive to make our firm an engaging and open place to work. By coming together as a company and donating time as well as money to our Giving Back initiatives, we can see and feel the difference we’re making to society. In early 2016, the partners of Ecovis Wingrave Yeats set up our own charitable foundation - the Ecovis London Foundation (ELF). Each year a percentage of the firms profits are allocated to the foundation, and it is the responsibility the Board of Trustees to determine how the money should be spent. Through our partnership with Heart of the City, we are aiming to further define and develop our existing responsible business approach, strategy, and programmes.