Haines Watts Breaks $100M Barrier

Haines Watts has released its latest financial results, with the firm breaking the £100 million barrier by recording a £106m turnover in FY20.

Another year of double-digit revenue growth was achieved with 11% growth predominantly down to the nationwide accountancy group’s continued acquisitive ‘buy and build’ strategy. An increase in turnover flowed through from FY19’s new territories, as well as more recent acquisitions in the North East and Scotland.

Managing partner Michael Davidson said: “We are pleased to close off last year exactly where we thought we would be, with our acquisition strategy delivering the double-digit growth we have planned. Hitting the £100m mark as we enter our 90th year in business is a huge achievement and testament to everyone that works across the UK for the firm.

“With the addition of new businesses to our group, we are steadily expanding our service offering which is leading to a rounder advisory service with existing clients and generating new organic fee growth. Haines Watts is now able to advise wider on complex tax matters and private client work; we are fully able to provide business owners advisory support in today’s challenging climate.”

“We have more than 70 service line across the business. The Coronavirus pandemic has meant we can bring in the experts in all aspects of business, from legal to tax planning, cash flow management to crisis business planning. We have taken on a therapeutic role in a lot of cases, so much so in fact I can see the firm employing business psychologists in the future – wherever the business owner needs advice and support we want to be in a position to help.”

Profitability last year recorded an expected slower growth at 5%, which Davidson puts down to the firm investing heavily in tech and office environments, and a people recruitment strategy into new service line specialisms.

Haines Watts has over 40 offices across the UK and operates a regional model across in 10 regions to support its local offices.

Davidson continued: “We have seen in the last few weeks especially that our local to national model works well in times of change, we remain nimble enough to pivot to the climate for our clients by staying locally relevant but with the firepower, and manpower, of a national firm.

This means we are seeing continued growth in new client acquisition in our SME sweet spot, whereby they have either outgrown a smaller accountant and need more advisory support or feel neglected by some of the largest firms who appear to be focussing their resource on higher value accounts.

Looking ahead, what challenges will Haines Watts and its SME client base expect to see as Brexit looms and the Coronavirus pandemic is still unresolved?

“Brexit had been predicted to affect Q4 of FY20, but the impact has not been as great was expected, mainly due to the global pandemic. Issues like Duty and VAT are being kicked down the road, and we expect advisory work on Brexit to ramp up as this deadline gets closer this year.

“The Coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on our clients of course, but we are seeing that those clients who refuse to tolerate this deflection and move swiftly into business recovery mode are the most successful.

“We know that businesses will continue to avoid any non-critical spend, and reigning in advisory work may fall into that, but it’s a false economy and they need to resist the short termism of delaying addressing issues and/or the need to bring in advice early if they are to survive the impact.”

Changing its working culture last year to create an environment fit for the future, by investing in tech to facilitate agile and flexible working, has paid dividends for the firm which successfully transitioned 1000 employees to working remotely overnight when the lockdown was imposed.

“Nobody could have predicted what 2020 was to bring, but the investment we have made in our people and our technology made us fit for business, which in turn has meant we’ve continued to be there for our clients at a time they really needed us, which is at the core of our values.” added Davidson.

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Lisa Baker is the Editor of Always Finance, and writes about Business, Finance Technology and Healthcare. Lisa is also the owner of Need to See IT Publishing.