A Teesside accountancy practice is working with a niche firm of employment law solicitors to offer a series of advice sessions to local businesses – all for a good cause.

HMB Accountants, based on Belasis Hall Technology Park, in Billingham, is working with HR and employment law specialist Guardian Law as the firm expands into Teesside.

HMB accountant Sarah Bedford said: “We have worked closely with Guardian Law for almost 13 years, so formalising our partnership, as part of which they will also move into our office, is the next step in this relationship.

“As our clients’ trusted advisors, we appreciate that businesses have many issues they need to deal with that may impact on their financial position and plans.

“We’ve noticed that many clients are asking questions about staff-related issues, especially with the end of furlough approaching, and so the Guardian team are the obvious choice to help with this.

To launch the partnership, the firms are collaborating on a series of sessions, entitled ‘A lawyer, an accountant and an employer walk into a room…’. The events will be held at the Billingham office in October and the companies are encouraging attendees to donate to charity in lieu of payment for the event.

“Each session will be led by the employer’s needs, and we will offer confidential tailored financial and legal advice and support to them,” Sarah added.

“The sessions will be free, but we will ask for a donation to Nitelight CIC, which provides food and drink to those who need it most, although this will not be a pre-requisite to booking a slot with us.”

Guardian Law was set up in 2006 by Nickie Elenor. Nickie also runs a sister company, providing HR support to SMEs, Guardian Business Services.

Nickie said: “The pandemic has hit employers hard. On top of keeping their businesses afloat, they have had to adapt quickly to new employment laws and ways of working, and we can foresee that some of the issues that have been put on the backburner will have to be addressed once furlough ends on September 30th.

“We want to ensure that employers have the right support in place to deal with those issues and avoid unnecessary disputes with their staff so that they can concentrate on running their businesses.

“The team at HMB Accountants have asked us to help several of their clients based locally over the years and have a growing client base in the area.

“Whilst our support can be provided remotely, sometimes our clients prefer to see us face to face, particularly when discussing sensitive and stressful HR matters and so wanted to make that possible by setting up an office in Teesside.”

Sarah added: “The end of furlough and opening up of the economy, including the investment into Teesside’s Freeport, raises many challenges for businesses as well as opportunities.

“Business owners have so many balls to juggle right now, the addition of Guardian into our support mix will take the pressure off for company owners in relation to dealing with employees and allow them to focus on driving their firms forward.”