Brexit fails to slow Haines Watts

Brexit fails to slow Haines Watts

Haines Watts has released its latest financial results, with the firm recording a second consecutive year of double-digit growth, taking their turnover to £96m

Brexit fails to slow Haines Watts

Haines Watts has released its latest financial results, with the firm recording a second consecutive year of double-digit growth, taking their turnover to £96m.

Following a strong 16% revenue growth last year, Haines Watts had predicted a slower growth rate in the second half of FY19 due to Brexit but has achieved a 13% leap in revenues from both organic growth and its acquisition strategy.

“The Brexit scenario was aimed for our year-end so we had some concerns clients would rein in activity or investment, which to an extent has played out but we are still showing a healthy 13% increase in revenues,” said managing partner Michael Davidson.

“With the addition of new businesses to our group, we are steadily expanding our service offering which is leading to a rounder advisory service with existing clients and generating new fee income. Haines Watts is now able to advise wider on complex tax matters and private client work; we are fully able to provide business owners advisory support in today’s challenging climate.”

The firm remains firmly in acquisitive mode, already recording 6% in acquired fee growth in the current financial year including its latest North East deals.

Profitability last year also recorded double digit growth at over 10%, albeit slower than FY18 which Davidson puts down to the firm investing heavily in recruitment, tech and office environments.

“We have spent a lot of time working on developing our people in the last few years through our leadership development programme which has been well received. From this we have rolled out our ‘coaching for success’ programme across the business and we are preparing for a company-wide vision and values project to tie in with this which will prime everyone for a very powerful growth opportunity,” said Davidson.

Haines Watts has over 60 offices across the UK and rolled out a regional model in late 2018 to foster greater collaboration across 10 regions.

“We have spent 2019 looking at where every region is in their business cycle and have benchmarked best practice levels – effectively we’ve been getting our ducks in a row which will now leverage our organic growth opportunity. We intend to recruit further across all our service lines and functional support to facilitate regional growth further in 2019/20.”

Looking ahead, what challenges will Haines Watts and its SME client base expect to see as Brexit is still unresolved and Britain awaits Government’s next move?

“We had the stockpiling in the Spring, which was artificial spending that many fell into trap of assuming was general trading. Q2 seems to have been car crash across most sectors. We are seeing corporate finance deals drifting, businesses are not investing in assets and capping headcount, all because of uncertainty and fear being whipped up in the government and media. That paralysis is very unhealthy for business but without greater certainty it’s the only strategy for most.

“We are acutely aware the impact of how we end up leaving the EU will impact on our clients’ performance. At present our focus with them is on looking after cash forecasting to fight off any disruption post the Brexit deadline,” said Davidson.

Alongside eyeing the growth of tech, through AI and machine learning, in the accountancy sector, Davidson also has his attention firmly set on human talent.

He added: “We have a workforce of over 54% millennial and 15% generation z employees across the firm so have been piloting changing our working culture to create an environment fit for the future.

“We know agile and flexible working is attractive to ‘future of work’, so our new offices in Birmingham have no fixed desks and soon we will bring our most recent London acquisitions into our Holborn office and take a similar approach. We are even looking at co-working space for clients in our future plans and are very keen to lead the way in being a modern business unafraid to adopt change.”

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