More than just a trophy

They say that winning an Oscar changes an actor’s career forever. I can’t
personally vouch for that, but having won one of the accountancy profession’s
equivalents ­ The Small Firm of the Year Award 2008 ­ I can tell you that it
really has changed our firm for the better.

I realised that the Accountancy Age Awards are highly regarded and
prestigious when congratulatory emails started arriving before 8am the next

Press coverage of the award showed new people how we complement their work
rather than competing with them. We act as a flexible FD service to companies
who don’t have their own full-time FD, and mainstream practices recognise that,
by introducing us to their clients, they are able to get work undertaken which
may not be their core strength.

Ethical guidelines also preclude firms from undertaking some work for audit
clients ­ the preparation of IFRS accounts for quoted clients, for example.

My partner Richard Brooks realised the upside of winning the award even
before he left the Battersea ceremony. The CEO of another award winner
approached him at the end of the evening, asked for his business card and
Richard has been working as part-time FD for that company ever since.

They say that timing is everything. The Small Firm of the Year Award
coincided with our move to new offices, and the two events combined to raise our
profile considerably. New letterheads and business cards ­ required anyway
because of the move ­ proudly display the award winner logo. Our business cards,
previously with a blank reverse side, are now emblazoned with the winner’s logo;
a great talking point when we give them out at the start of meetings.

Our website and email footers refer to the award ­ plenty of positive
feedback received from visitors to the site or people to whom we have sent
The ICAEW invited my partner Simon Walters to speak at a national roadshow of
seminars on turnarounds and reconstruction. The event chairman clearly values
the award, referring to it when he introduced Simon as a speaker.

We seem to be cornering the speakers’ market. Richard Brooks has been asked
to speak at the forthcoming International Entrepreneurs’ Conference in South
Africa ­ an invitation which we trace back to the prominence of the award.

Richard was also asked to join the finance committee of the Bio Industry
Association, recognising that our new-found profile really does open doors.

So there have been plenty of new clients and other boosts to our business
from winning the award. But above all, I like the feel-good factor which the
award gave us. My staff received a great fillip from being recognised as the
best in Britain, especially as it was awarded by a panel of distinguished judges
­ high praise indeed.

Malcolm Durham is chairman of FD Solutions

To book a table at this year’s awards go to

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