A BUSINESS near Colchester has been officially named as one of Britain’s best employers.

Software company, Access, based in Stratford St Mary, has made it to the Sunday Times’ list of the 100 best companies to work for in 2011.

The company, which writes software to help businesses balance their books, is ranked 85th overall and 15th in the list of medium-sized businesses.

Chris Bayne, managing director, says: “I’m absolutely delighted.

“Now we’re busy analysing the feedback so we can ensure we maintain those areas where we’re doing everything right and also formulating plans to address the areas where we need to improve.”

Access celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Previously known as Access Accounting, it merged with four other British companies last year and now trades as the Access Group.

Just last week, the firm announced it was to benefit from a £50million investment by growth investor Lyceum Capital, to fund further expansion.

The judging team for the Times list praised staff at Access Group for their “strong one-team culture”, with employees being encouraged to make a positive contribution to the success of the company.

It said Access Group encouraged social and professional interaction between the eight nationwide offices. The company which has a £28million turnover, spent £250,000 on fun events for its 307 staff last year.

Mr Bayne, previously co-founder and director of Armstrong Consultants, one of the companies which merged to form the new group, took over as managing director last year.

He says the company’s success is down to the fact it respected all the people who work there.

He adds: “The bottom line is we have respect for everyone and trust them to deliver.

“It’s a ‘work-with’ company, not a ‘work-for’ one. Everyone is working towards a common goal.

“We also have a work-hard, play-hard attitude and like to make work enjoyable.

“We haven’t got things spot-on, or we would have been in the top 20, which is why we paid for the full analysis on the company.

“We want to improve on where we are, not necessarily just commercially, but on how we can deliver to staff as well,” he added.

The £50million investment deal with Lyceum Capital sees new chairman Gareth Denley joining the group.

Lyceum Capital’s Jeremy Hand and Phillip Buscombe have also joined the board of the Access Group.