Recession or not, local accountancy practices can help their clients to grow

Recession or not, local accountancy practices can help their clients to grow

Sumer’s CEO Warren Mead believes accountants have a responsibility to champion smaller and medium-sized businesses and that successful entrepreneurs are the key to helping communities prosper.

We’re in a technical recession, yet I see a rosier picture. OK, recent GDP stats are disappointing, but throw in falling inflation, the potential for interest rate cuts and falling taxes, and we have the foundations for the UK to rebound strongly.

Despite the economic challenges, there are growth opportunities to be realised now and in the future for entrepreneurial businesses. I believe that community-based accountants have both the financial and advisory skills to help SMEs in the UK and Ireland not just survive, but thrive. And in doing so, they will flourish themselves.

But the profession has an image problem. We’ve been hiding our great work under a bushel. It’s time to be proud of what we do and the positive impact we have on our communities.

A growth success story 

I’m happy to talk about growth because I’m cultivating an exciting new business myself. I’m on a mission to prove that if you have a strong proposition, do the right thing by your clients (and by that I mean have titanium-like ethics) and surround yourself with talented people, growth is the inevitable outcome.

We launched accountancy business Sumer in 2023. Since then, Sumer’s acquired regional practices – eight at the time of writing. Achieving a revenue run rate of £100 million within a year, and today our collective of partner practices boasts over 1,000 colleagues; who I call champions.

Accountants are the growth engine of the UK’s economy

Today, there’s one group of people left who are genuinely supporting smaller businesses, and that’s great local accountants.

These practices have supported their business customers through the last ten years. The combination of Brexit, supply chain issues, COVID-19, rising interest rates, the cost-of-living crisis, and increasing regulation have put a stranglehold on growth for almost every SME subsector, whether hotels, farms, healthcare clinics or builders’ merchants.

Political and economic uncertainty has also made it really hard for SMEs to drive economic growth and prosperity.

Productivity in the UK economy has flatlined, but it would have been worse without the intervention of highly trusted accountants.  I heard countless stories of accountants doing midnight zooms with clients to help them get access to Covid support. Sumer clients tell me they’ve only had the confidence to invest (and grow) with our help.

Strategic business advice is a growth driver

A recent survey found that 95% of UK SME[1] business owners recognise the strategic importance of accountants. Yet these relationships could be more robust. As we are demonstrating, offering help with strategic planning, especially during challenging times, is a massive opportunity for local firms.

Practices can benefit from diversifying their offer, to include advisory, consulting, legal, and niche specialisations. They can provide insights into effective financial management practices, including budgeting, cash flow management, and prudent investment strategies. And they can address the importance of balancing short-term financial goals with long-term sustainability.

More than anything, entrepreneurs need a supportive and critical friend who has their back through good times and bad. That’s the definition of a great accountant.

Here at Sumer, our model is rooted in supporting local businesses, so that if they grow, we grow and everyone benefits.  This is a simple approach, with a big ambition, it’s what I call our champion mindset to empower communities.

[1] https://www.accountancytoday.co.uk/2023/12/06/95-of-smes-recognise-strategic-importance-of-accountants-freeagent-finds/

 

Chartered accountant Warren Mead has experience in financial services, professional services and fintech. He co-launched UK accountancy business Sumer in 2023, and has orchestrated Sumer’s rapid growth through strategic acquisitions of leading regional firms. The company achieved a turnover of £100 million within a year, and today encompasses over 1,000 accountants, financial advisors and skilled support staff.

Sumer has ambitious expansion plans, shaped by Warren’s zeal for championing community-based SMEs, and the accountancy profession as a whole.  He is a Fellow of the ICAEW.

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