Our award for Small Firm of the Year goes to FPM Accountants, a three-partner
chartered accountancy and business consultancy practice.
FPM has taken a dynamic and innovative approach to both their client work and
the development of their business, with enviable results.
Turnover has grown by an average of over 25% per year since the Northern
Island-based firm was founded in 1991. In the last three years, the company has
secured new business worth almost £2.5m. Manufacturing, tradeable services and
the public sector are all represented among its clients.
Although most of the firm’s business comes from clients in Ireland, including
cross-border trade, it is also a member of Polaris International, a network of
more than 170 accountancy and consultancy firms, which allows it to offer an
FPM promises its clients transparency, accountability and integrity in all of
its work, while concentrating on its core services. Often, FPM has competed with
big Four firms for clients and won.
‘This was an easy winner to pick,’ said our judges. ‘They’ve focused on what
they are good at, put into practice some fantastic ideas, all the while pushing
for a friendly workplace.’
Part of the firm’s success is due to its focus on increasing value for
clients. Its approach to improving client relationships can be seen in its
innovative Tax Now Folder , which it has issued to all of its personal tax
clients. The folder asks questions about personal income and simply requires the
client to fill in the blanks.
The aim is to save clients time and enable them to manage their wealth and
tax-planning more efficiently.
It is also hoped that it will encourage more clients to submit their income
tax returns early. FPM believes that the folder is the first of its kind in the
Efficiency is also at the heart of FPM’s use of technology.
Following an external technology audit in 2004, the firm created an internal
Technology Group to oversee ongoing improvements. Currently, 5% to 7% of annual
turnover is invested in IT.
Investment in staff is also crucial to the firm’s success. FPM currently
commits 11% of income to its staff development and coaching strategy. As a
result staff turnover is low and absenteeism over the last five years has been
The firm’s commitment to its staff was marked in 1995, when it was the first
in Ireland to be awarded Investors in People recognition. It also won an
Opportunity Now award in 2004 for its policies to make its working environment
more female-friendly, particularly to working mothers.
FPM also conducts extensive staff and customer surveys. Each year, it holds a
staff day, when employees and the management assess the firm’s performance and
agree the aims for the coming year.
Although much of its new business comes from client referrals, the firm also
keeps a high media profile and publishes a client newsletter as part of its
The firm now has a new clipping to add to its growing collection.
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