Accountancy Age Awards 2006 winner: Landers – Small firm of the year
Finola McManus and Robert Brown, co-directors at Landers the Accountants,
believe that the key to helping clients develop their businesses to their full
potential lies in finding out about clients’ ambitions both business and
Each meeting with a client includes ‘goal-setting’ to ensure that discussions
get down to what McManus and Brown believe is the heart of the matter: they need
to understand the personal circumstances and aspirations of their clients so
their advice does not conflict with those circumstances.
McManus and Brown maintain that it is pointless developing a growth plan that
requires relentless 50-hour weeks when a client wants flexible working
arrangements to cope with family needs or to pursue other interests.
It is an ethos that runs through everything they do. Aside from the usual
armoury of tax, financial management and audit services, Landers offers strategy
and marketing support and staff and customer surveys. The firm advocates
one-page business plans and helps owner-managers to implement them.
Landers’ own directors practise what they preach. McManus and Brown go
through the goal-setting process themselves each year and stick to their own
one-page business plan. They share these plans with their team along with
financial performance targets.
Their approach has paid dividends. Over the past three years, turnover has
increased by 43% and profitability by 40%. Both directors work a four-day week
and take nine weeks annual holiday each. Staff work flexitime and there is a
strict ‘no overtime’ rule.
It adds up to a service that goes far beyond normal accountancy services.
‘You aren’t just accountants,’ said one client. ‘We wouldn’t be where we are
Impressed with Landers’ professionalism and level of attention to client
care, the judges said: ‘The firm is absolutely excellent. The work ethic stands
out a mile. This is a firm that cares about its clients and cares about its
people. The professionalism and dedication of the firms at this level is
astonishing and if I had to hire one it would be Landers.’
WHAT LANDERS HAS TO OFFER
? Women’s Business Builder Forums – a bi-monthly event to encourage business
development ideas among women owner-managers and entrepreneurs.
? Wealth Tracker – away of helping clients to assess their current and future
worth. Landers asks clients how they want to live following retirement and
offers strategies to achieve those goals.
? Goal Getter – a goal-setting strategy.