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30 Oct 2013

By Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

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Scotland's only "from start-up" employee owned company has achieved record turnover.

Accord Energy Solutions recorded £4.3 million in turnover placing the company firmly on-track to surpass its goal of reaching the £5m mark by 2015.

Co-founder and director Alan Spence credited the firm's employee ownership model for its recent success.

He said: "When we founded the company we set a goal of recording £5 million in turnover by 2015 to mark five years in business. We've increased our turnover by 38 per cent in the past year and aim to replicate that growth in the year to come.

"Employee ownership plays a major part in our company's success. Not only do our employees have a financial stake in the company, but they feel valued and have a vested interest in its progress. We just recently appointed two employees, who were elected by their peers, to the board of directors. This means staff will have an influence on all major company decisions. "Employee ownership has created this really virtuous circle for the company."

Mr Spence said employees will see an immediate benefit from the financial performance. Not only did staff receive annual bonuses, which were on average 12 per cent of their salaries, but the record turnover allows them to benefit from a maximum pay-out of the Share Incentive Plan (SIP).

Employees will be awarded £3,000 of shares each. They also have the option of purchasing up to £1,500 of additional partnership shares, which would then be matched two-to-one by the company.

The chartered scientist, who has more than 30 years' experience in hydrocarbon accounting, added the firm was also looking to nearly double its headcount.

"Right now we have 28 staff and 11 associate consultants," he said. "We want to increase our numbers to 50 staff members. Oil and gas is a competitive marketplace, but we think embracing employee ownership has given us a competitive edge by helping us to attract and retain many of the best people in this specialist area of the business."

Mr Spence added the spike in revenue would also allow the company to increase its community outreach. The firm donated cash to more than 20 different charitable organisations in the past year, including CLAN Caner Support, Aberdeen Group of Riding for the Disabled, Aberdeen Foyer, The Archie Foundation, National Autistic Society Scotland and Engineers without Borders.

Sarah Deas, chief executive of Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), Scottish Enterprise's employee ownership support arm, added: "This is fantastic news for Accord Energy Soltions. This is a dynamic business with serious growth ambitions and employee ownership is playing a big role in its success. Staff have a major say in key business decisions and we wish them future success."