Opus Accounting is an accountancy practice that likes to stand out from the crowd. From social media, to community support to online competitions, the company is always finding new and interesting ways to reach new audiences. Director, Nigel Coombs FCCA, describes their approach:"We like to think of ourselves as 'refreshingly different'. We believe it's the added value that each individual and the company as a whole brings that makes us stand out from the competition". It's this approach that led Nigel, and the other two directors of the company, to sign up for the free mentor training. Nigel says, "We met Get Mentoring at the Business 2012 event at the 02 earlier this year. We thought the mentor training and volunteering was a really interesting way to develop new skills and contacts and consider how we can expand our service to existing clients. When we discussed it as a management team we felt it was definitely worth the time commitment." The team already do a number of voluntary activities in the local area, mostly for personal satisfaction and enjoyment, but they also recognise that it can help raise their profile in wider networks too. Nigel says that another driving factor behind him signing up was to replicate the support he has had from his mentors throughout his career. He says that one person in particular was very supportive. "When I was first starting out I joined a very small practice in the West End of London and I was lucky enough to have a very supportive and encouraging employer. I worked directly with the sole practitioner who encouraged me to take professional exams and become a qualified accountant. Lots of his professional habits rubbed off, such as how to manage clients and handle the revenue. When I was doing the mentor training, I was very keen to find out how I might be able support people both inside and outside our business with this kind of guidance, and be open to what I can learn from them too". When asked why people should engage with a mentor, Nigel says: "For anyone starting out I'd definitely recommend that they seek mentoring support from people who have been there and got the tee-shirt, they will learn a lot and shouldn't be afraid to ask questions to get the most out of the relationship". All three Directors completed the training at a workshop rather than online although both options are available. Nigel says of the training: "Going out of the office for a training course works best for me as there are so many distractions in the office and you get to meet people you wouldn't otherwise meet. The course was really useful as a way to understand the mentoring role, but as well as this it made me think about how a mentoring approach could be useful in some interactions with clients and staff too". Nigel feels that mentoring also helps him add value as an accountant. He says "A good accountant should be able to look at the business as a whole, not just the numbers. If you can understand the wider business you can really help that business to develop ". The business is also an ACCA recognised training practice,meaning that developing mentoring skills will also contribute to the support they give to their students. Ruth Lowbridge, Executive Chair of SFEDI Group, the organisation behind Get Mentoring is very keen to encourage more accountancy firms to sign up. She says: "The combination of business experience and accountancy skills are invaluable to people starting up and growing their businesses. The course helps individuals explore how their experience and skills can be applied to that of a volunteer mentor and can help in their wider business activities too". Do you or people in your company want to Get Mentoring? Sign up for a workshop or complete the training course online at www.getmentoring.org Five great reasons to Get Mentoring There are loads of great reasons to sign up as a volunteer business mentor, here's just five of them.