Glasgow-based Ideal Schools marks 40 years and announces new leadership
At a gala event to commemorate its 40th anniversary, Glasgow-based bookkeeping and accounting educational firm Ideal Schools announced a significant change in its leadership team.
Founder Elias van den Akker, known as Al, confirmed his retirement and introduced the company’s new managing director, Brian McVean, and chairman, his son Scot van den Akker. The changes took effect from 1 September 2023.
Ideal Schools, established in 1983, is a family-run business specialising in online and distance-learning courses in bookkeeping, payroll, and taxation. The firm has garnered several awards, including being named ‘Large Training Provider of the Year’ at this year’s Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) Luca Awards.
Speaking at the voco Hotels Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow, Al reflected on the company’s 40-year journey, highlighting its achievements in student guidance and skill development.
He said: “It has been a long journey, but over the years we have had some triumphs in not only guiding students to exam success, but also to improving their skills and job prospects. We have also taken on the challenge of facilitating accreditation, which is now a requirement for bookkeepers under money-laundering regulations.”
Scot talked about Al’s lifetime of achievement, from Friesland in Holland to New Jersey and Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the US, including an honours degree in Economics and a return to his late wife’s home in Scotland to establish Ideal Schools and an MBA.
He said: “When Al started out, there was no internet, no Facebook, X or Instagram, no electric cars. Nowadays there is so much chatter that it is hard to make an impression, but I think the interpersonal relationships between staff and students have helped immeasurably.
“Ideal Schools has always been student-centred. From the early days we have taken our lead from Al, who takes a genuine interest in every individual and encourages communication. This allows us to get to know our students and to achieve not only exam passes but also to attain our shared goals.”
Mr McVean said: “Like Scot, I started out helping in the office on weekends and in the holidays and the 40 years have gone by very quickly. I have always had a good working relationship with Al, who gave me an insight into what a good business should be like.
“When I was getting qualifications in management and accountancy, I did distance learning courses and that is just what they were – distant and uncommunicative. In contrast, Ideal Schools has always tried to ensure that students are treated properly and given the support they deserve.
“We now have a very good management system for students and our social media helps keep them engaged with each other as well as teaching them to work as a team. I have been very privileged to work with our amazing teachers in this fantastic community.”
The Glasgow-based firm specialises in delivering home study bookkeeping, payroll and taxation courses.