Against the backdrop of the global pandemic and the continued uncertainty around Brexit, last year our focus was to safeguard our team, maintain business continuity and to ensure our clients continued to receive the same quality of service.
Our operational resilience allowed us to achieve this and the changes we have made to our internal operating practices mean that we are not only well placed to manage any ongoing impacts but to also support our future growth.
Despite the turbulent and uncertain times 2020 presented, we are pleased to report an increase in turnover to £5.4m. Our operating profit grew by 12% and net profit increased from 17% in 2020 to 26%.
In addition, we saw substantial growth of 31% in our Employee Benefits department as a result of our corporate clients focusing on staff retention and supporting their people with health and wellbeing.
As a financial services business, we provide an essential service to our clients and our professional connections. At the heart of our business is a clear and succinct purpose – to provide a positive client outcome in everything we do.
It is this clear purpose that has allowed us to maintain our high-quality service consistently and continuously throughout the pandemic. Our core values are central to how we adapted to new ways of working, communicating and collaborating.
The wellbeing, safety and development of our people has always been a priority, and this was more important last year than ever before.
We continued to support our people and maintain a sense of community through increased communications, video updates and regular online team meetings and social events.
To facilitate successful agile working, we invested heavily in our IT hardware and software. We engaged Novem to provide an enhanced IT support function which also helped to ensure we could continue to provide the highest client advice and service levels.
Our headcount has increased by 10% over the past 12 months to support our exciting and ambitious strategic plans.
In a year of doing things differently, we continued our charity fundraising efforts, raising over £1000 for our 2020 charity of the year The Rainbow Trust. Adapting from our planned activity to virtual events and fundraisers.
We also remain committed to our environmental responsibilities. Our Culture & Values Committee has driven forward with initiatives to help us achieve our goals in this area. This has included working with City of Trees and pledging to plant a tree for each member of staff every six months.
Looking forward, we are concentrating on expanding our relationships with strategic partners and have secured growth finance to help us accomplish this and other strategic plans.
It is our fantastic team that has seen us through the past year and on behalf of the Board, I thank all of our people for their outstanding work and commitment. The adaptability, flexibility and spirit of Team Pareto has enabled us to remain committed to our clients throughout the year and will continue to do so going forwards.
We were pleased to receive recognition of this dedication by being listed in the Top 50 Financial Times UK Advisers in October last year; one of only two North West based independent firms to do so.