Interview: New Clark Howes owners Tony Sarin and Tim Shaw

by Kevin Reed

More from this author

14 Jun 2013

  • Comments
Tony Sarin

THE BUZZ of hands-on practice management has drawn Tony Sarin and Tim Shaw back into the running of a firm.

The two experienced businesses and practice heads have bought a controlling stake in Oxford and Buckinghamshire-based Clark Howes.

Sarin (pictured above) is well-known to the profession as the founder of former AIM-listed Numerica, while Shaw formed his own practice before serving as a CEO in the sports, leisure and charity sectors.

"Ultimately it's about being back doing what you know and love," says Sarin.

Shaw says that both want more involvement in a business, compared to their recent investment advisory roles. "Both of us have invested in businesses where we're not there day-to-day. We wanted closer input," says Shaw.

While some might describe Sarin's return to practice as unfinished business after Numerica was split up a couple of years after his departure as chief executive, his attitude towards Clark Howes is one of opportunity - and shows a mixture of pragmatism and pride about that time.

The model of a mid-tier firm listed on the stock exchange "didn't work", he admits, in that remunerating both partners and shareholders is too big a hurdle. "Unless you have big margins, like the Big Four - the pressure is on what you leave the shareholders. As a mid-tier it becomes much more difficult," says Sarin.

"However, it was a very significant business," he counters, with it reaching 15th in the 2004 Accountancy Age Top 50 survey of firms, commanding £46.6m in fees and 92 partners. He also claims that rather than being a pure ‘consolidator' of firms, its approach was more to acquire and integrate. Numerica was "groundbreaking", he adds.

There is growth potential at Clark Howes. The new management team will look to build up its service lines, including corporate finance, while beefing up its tax offering.

While there will acquisitions alongside organic growth. There will be "no rush" to acquire firms, they say.

They view the firm as a high-quality regional business, with strong London representation. However, London will not be the pure focus for them. "It's a regional business with a London office. We will be able to offer a London-type service, but regionally," says Sarin.

He talks of Clark Howes' "phenomenal people", and they will be looking to motivate staff and reward them as the practice evolves.

Both believe that they've hit the market at the right time. There are sparks of life I the economy, and many practice owners of the baby-boomer generation are looking to step away from their firms.

Sarin says: "We're doing it at the right time, let's take advantage."

Visitor comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
display:none

Add your comment

We won't publish your address


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms & Conditions

Your comment will be moderated before publication

Submit
  • Send

conservatoire-for-dance-and-drama

Finance-Director-part-time

Conservatoire for Dance and Drama, London, Permanent, Part Time, £60,000 pro rata

 

 

Newsletters

Get the latest financial news sent directly to your inbox

  • Best Practice
  • Business
  • Daily Newsletter
  • Essentials

Careers

Search for jobs
Click to search our database of all the latest accountancy roles

Create a profile
Click to set up your profile and let the best recruiters find you

Jobs by email
Sign up to receive regular updates with the latest roles suitable for you

Briefings

budget-management

Why budgeting fails: One management system is not enough

If budgeting is to have any value at all, it needs a radical overhaul. In today's dynamic marketplace, budgeting can no longer serve as a company's only management system; it must integrate with and support dedicated strategy management systems, process improvement systems, and the like. In this paper, Professor Peter Horvath and Dr Ralf Sauter present what's wrong with the current approach to budgeting and how to fix it.

cchcover

iXBRL: Taking stock. Looking forward

In this white paper CCH provide checklists to help accountants and finance professionals both in practice and in business examine these issues and make plans. Also includes a case study of a large commercial organisation working through the first year of mandatory iXBRL filing.