Few people could have foreseen the speed and spread of consolidation within mid-tier firms this year. Merger talks have been rife and experts are predicting that the mid-tier will be unrecognisable in three years’ time.
What was once the preserve of partnerships has been turned on its head as accountancy firms become publicly listed companies on the UK stock exchange. Tenon has proved to be one of the most challenging drivers of change for the mid-tier as it has charged around the country snapping up firms in its wake and leaving little for those slow on the uptake for expansion or change.
Consolidation and rapid technological changes began to affect the mid-tier last year, but it was this year that firms really began to experience the pressure to adapt or die. And the judges certainly had a very tough task in selecting the winner out of the shortlisted accountancy firms of Baker Tilly, Chantrey Vellacott DFK and Levy Gee.
Baker Tilly merged in August with the software vendor Harris Walters with a view to expanding the software company into the US later this year.
Chantrey Vellacott more than doubled its earnings from insolvency work when it reported its fee income this year and advanced from a brochure-type website to a more advanced online presence after investing an extra #100,000 on the relaunch.
Nevertheless, Levy Gee scooped this year’s prestigious award for the medium-sized firm category. Judges of this award – which was open to all firms with more than 16 or more partners, excluding the Big Five – said despite the competition, Levy Gee outshone its rivals.
‘Levy Gee’s presentation was very business-like and innovative,’ they said. ‘It’s an innovative practice with enterprising partners and always has been.’
It’s a well-deserved award. Since judging day, Levy Gee has become the largest constituent under the new accountancy consolidator Numerica, which recently floated on the Alternative Investment Market. The firm has also said it will drop its name next year.
Levy Gee’s growth rate also impressed the judges. The top 20 firm grew 21% this year – the average mid-tier growth rate being 12%.
It also figured as the firm with the most productive professional staff with an average of #122,624 per professional.
The achievement of Investor in People accreditation nationally also caught the judges’ eyes. Levy Gee is the first professional firm to achieve the accreditation since forming the Learning & Skills Council.
Technology has become a key part of the firm’s growth, too. Levy Gee is a pioneer of the paperless office and remote working.
E-commerce is also a priority for one of the first firm’s to set up a venture capital trust, eTechnology VCT plc, targeting investment in early and mid-stage technology companies.
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