In the third of our profiles of Wilmington leaders, we meet Nicola Hurley, Managing Director of Mercia Group, and learn about her management style...
“Lead with conviction, passion and purpose. Give people wings and let them fly, then recognise and reward success, while allowing room for error without blame.”
Wilmington’s core values feature prominently in Nicola’s approach to managing her people. “They mean everything! If you lead by example and embed all four values within your team, your business can’t help but grow”, she says. “You develop an exciting environment, both to work within and to partner with. You become an employer and business partner of choice, providing products that clients need and which help their businesses to grow.”
Nicola is adamant that Wilmington’s values also encourage team members to grow and reach their potential. “Give people wings and let them fly” is her mantra – one that both shapes and exemplifies her leadership style.
Aged 21, Nicola Hurley already managed her own graphics studio, working primarily for London-based print consultancies. In 2006 she was working for Mercia Group – a leading provider of training support services to the accountancy profession in the UK and Ireland – and when that year Mercia was acquired by Wilmington, Nicola was the first non-accountant to be appointed a Director.
In 2014 Nicola was promoted to Managing Director, and since has been instrumental in the drive to move the company firmly into the digital era, developing and enhancing its online presence on all fronts. Mercia firmly employs technology as an enabler for its clients – accountancy businesses ranging in size from sole practitioners to top-ten firms. Keeping them competitive is as important as future-proofing Mercia itself.
In 2017, Mercia’s overriding priority was to complete the integration of SWAT UK Limited, one of Wilmington’s 2017 acquisitions. SWAT’s business largely mirrors Mercia’s, with complementary geographical coverage of the same target market. Nicola’s objective is to exploit business opportunities and to realise efficiencies through a unified set of business tools, best-in-class processes and a shared, innovative culture.
“We have to become one team, selling an extensive portfolio of products that supports our clients through a period of major change in the sector”, she insists.
Small wonder then, that her secondary objective is to improve Mercia’s use of technology, enlarge its portfolio of online courses and broaden its range of publications. These are projects that mean recruiting new team members, highly capable people who thrive on responsibility, enjoy technical challenges and exceed demanding targets.