Managers' Conference 2020

Being an effective Manager in the Modern Practice

This virtual conference provides an opportunity for delegates to develop their current skill set and focus their attention on the non-technical aspects of their role. It will cover specific techniques to support you in your role whilst working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing on both self-management and the management of others.

The conference is aimed at supporting those new to management as well as more experienced managers who would benefit from an update on modern management methodology.


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Full conference agenda

Michael Siviter

During this session, Michael will support you in understanding the benefits of a motivated team to both you and your firm and to your individual team members.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to mainstream remote working, which has brought about various challenges. It’s therefore more important than ever that managers recognise the needs of the individuals within their teams during these difficult times and understand the current factors leading to dissatisfaction and demotivation within our profession. The session will focus on practical tips and techniques to help you support your team and improve team member engagement and morale.

Kate Shepherd

Kate is a highly interactive speaker and will cover the key elements involved when proactively managing staff. In her talk, Kate will consider the tools of day to day performance management that impact on many aspects of HR; providing managers with some effective methods to improve employee performance and relations, which may serve as an alternative to or may help avoid the need for more formal legal steps. 

  • What is proactive performance management?
  • Day to day performance management
  • Managing under performance
  • Objective setting
  • Timeframes
  • Legal aspects
  • Practical methods and solutions
  • When do you involve more senior managers and HR?

Hannah Jones and Natalie Bracey

Ensuring a job gets done to standard and in on budget is a difficult challenge as it encompasses so many internal and external issues, where each one can have a huge effect on this specific challenge managers face. The aim of the discussion is to prompt ideas and improved working practices which should not only improve the standard and timings of jobs but also contribute to a more efficient, happier practice for the team and clients.

  • Key problem areas linked with poor recoveries and/or poor standard of work
  • Managing client’s expectations and setting boundaries
  • Managing the team throughout the process
  • Informing Partners throughout the process and establishing responsibilities

Victoria Burns

The role of a manager is not as clear cut as what you thought it may have been during your training.  Who do you ask questions of when you are now the person that you thought had all the answers? Whose timetable do you work to?  Prioritising your own workload can be quite the challenge when your year is no longer mapped out for you.   Victoria will talk you through some of the common pitfalls that she made during her first few years as a manager (and beyond), and why it is ok to make mistakes.  A useful guide to new managers and a valuable chance to reflect for the more experienced manager.

John Sharkey

Due to Covid-19 and the associated changes in our working practices, we are all having to deal with an upheaval in our personal and working lives unprecedented in modern times.  Under such conditions it has never been more important for us to be able to remain resilient in order to cope with these changes.  This session will help you in understanding how you can maintain and develop your own resilience and help others in your team to do the same.

The session will cover:

  • What is personal resilience and why it so important in the current environment
  • What factors can affect your own and your colleagues’ personal resilience
  • Spotting the warning signs in yourself and your team
  • When and how to intervene
  • Practical tips to help you develop your resilience and help your team to do the same.


John Sharkey and Michael Siviter

It is often said that coaching is superior to managing as it promotes self-discovery and allows team members to arrive at solutions on their own, creating longer-term benefits for individuals and businesses. Managing can be seen as a more directive approach often to aid shorter-term decision making but may not be conducive to team member growth and development.

In this interactive session, Michael and John will introduce you to the Mercia Coaching Toolkit which will support you in coaching your team members through difficult situations. They will provide you with insight into how the toolkit is used whilst providing you with ample time to practise and develop your coaching skills.

Conference speakers

Before joining Mercia, Michael was a lecturer for four years at Kaplan Financial, lecturing on professional accountancy qualifications. Michael qualified as an accountant at Rolls Royce where he worked as a Corporate Accountant. He started his finance career at Ashgates Corporate Services in Derby, working in their Business Services department dealing with the financial affairs of small and medium sized clients.

At Mercia, Michael presents mainly on tax and management skills courses but is also heavily involved in developing our digital products and services.

He enjoys holidays abroad and keeping fit.

Kate Shepherd is a charismatic employment lawyer and delivers both training and consultancy. She trains and advises a diverse set of employers from small and medium sized enterprises to charities, PLCs and international companies, as well as taking board level director roles for some clients. Prior to establishing her consultancy, Kate Shepherd Associates in 2005, Kate qualified as a solicitor, and practised employment law at a senior level with a leading firm in the Midlands.

Hannah started her career with Hart Shaw in the Firm’s Business Services Department, auditing and preparing accounts, where she qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

Hannah has remained in the Business Services Department where she also became a Manager, with a varied portfolio of clients, and went on to head up the Academies Team. Hannah was invited to join the Partnership in 2018.

Hannah is a RI with a mixed audit and non-audit role, predominantly supporting SME’s. Hannah is jointly responsible for leading the Firm’s Business Services Department with Natalie Bracey.

Natalie started her career with Hart Shaw in the Firm’s Business Services Department, auditing and preparing accounts, where she qualified as an ICAEW Chartered Accountant.

Natalie went on to work within the Firm’s Corporate Finance Department predominantly on business disposals, acquisitions and forecasting and then as part of the Specialist Tax Planning team dealing with business valuations, EMI schemes and other tax advisory work. She then returned to the Business Services Department, becoming a Manager with a portfolio of clients ranging from recruitment and healthcare to electrical and engineering. Natalie joined the Partnership in 2016.

Natalie is a RI with a mixed audit and non-audit role, predominantly supporting SME’s. Natalie is jointly responsible for leading the Firm’s Business Services Department along with Hannah Jones.

Victoria is a Senior Manager within the audit team at BHP, the largest independent firm of chartered accountants in Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.  BHP most recently won National Audit Team of the Year at the 2019 British Accountancy Awards.  Victoria joined BHP in 2008 as a graduate trainee and provides compliance and business advisory services to a range of clients from owner-managed to mid-sized corporates.

John is Director of Mercia's Management Training Division. For over 20 years, John has been helping professional firms to increase profitability through more efficient and effective working practices by harnessing the untapped potential of their people and delivering service excellence to their clients.

He joined the Mercia consultancy team in 1998, having previously been the Managing Director of a training consortium in the Thames Valley. He has built Mercia's Management Training Division into one of the leading providers of management and personal skills consultancy to the independent accountancy sector. His presentations are renowned for their energy, enthusiasm and practical relevance and for challenging participants.

One Day Conference