The Manchester-based accountancy, which works primarily with co-ops and non-profits, has staff across the country and in Germany. With 20 members and nearly 400 clients, it uses sociocratic working models for its stated vision where “compassion, co-operation and autonomy are the guiding principles, rather than greed and competition”.
Co-op member and chartered accountant Scott Lockwood said: “Over the past six years we have grown significantly. This success is down to a range of factors, including our unique structure, specialist knowledge, our experienced and friendly team, and the high standards of our work.”
He added: “One of our greatest successes and advantages of being a workers’ co-operative is that we have not had to rely on external borrowing to fund such rapid early growth. However, as the composition of the co-op has changed entering a new and more controlled growth stage, we recognised the importance of obtaining external borrowings.
“Co-op Loan Fund was the obvious choice for funding due to their structure as a co-operative, their shared vision in promoting the co-operative sector and their open and transparent investment policies.”
Kevin Lloyd-Evans, lending and relationship manager at Co-operative & Community Finance, said: “The Co-op Loan Fund is designed to support co-operative development in the sector. This loan is a great example of sector support. Not only are we supporting an individual co-op we are supporting the many co-operative organisations which use Third Sector Accountancy.”
Co-op Loan Fund was set up in response to the barriers co-ops face in terms of access to capital, a lack of public awareness due to competition with bigger for-profit firms, and the need for resources for digitisation.