Despite a strong performance at 16% revenue growth last year, the firm had expected a slower growth rate this year while there are still uncertainties surrounding Brexit.
“The Brexit scenario was aimed for our year-end so we had some concerns clients would rein in activity or investment, which to an extent has played out”, said Haines Watts managing partner Michael Davidson.
Nonetheless, the firm is still enjoying a healthy 13% growth in its revenues.
In a busy financial year, Haines Watts has brought in an £11m turnover and taken over new businesses in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and Nottingham.
Revenue from recent acquisitions in the North East will flow into next year’s accounts, although they have already contributed to a 6% acquired fee growth from this financial year.
“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 fee income,” said Davidson.
Haines Watts now has over 60 offices in the UK, and has initiated a regional model to improve collaboration across the 10 regions in which it works.
Davidson explained, “We have spent 2019 looking at where every region is in their business cycle and have benchmarked best practice levels – effectively we’ve been getting our ducks in a row which will now leverage our organic growth opportunity. We intend to recruit further across all our service lines and functional support to facilitate regional growth further in 2019/20."
Like many in the sector, Haines Watts has a close eye on political developments that will affect both the firm and its SME client base.
“We had the stockpiling in the Spring, which was artificial spending that many fell into trap of assuming was general trading. Q2 seems to have been [a] car crash across most sectors. We are seeing corporate finance deals drifting, businesses are not investing in assets and capping headcount, all because of uncertainty and fear being whipped up in the government and media. That paralysis is very unhealthy for business but without greater certainty it’s the only strategy for most.
“We are acutely aware the impact of how we end up leaving the EU will impact on our clients’ performance. At present our focus with them is on looking after cash forecasting to fight off any disruption post the Brexit deadline,” said Davidson.
Davidson is paying close attention to the talent in the firm; adapting elements of the firm’s working style to appeal to younger employees.
“We have a workforce of over 54% Millennial and 15% Generation Z employees across the firm, so have been piloting changing our working culture to create an environment fit for the future.
“We know agile and flexible working is attractive to ‘future of work’, so our new offices in Birmingham have no fixed desks and soon we will bring our most recent London acquisitions into our Holborn office and take a similar approach. We are even looking at co-working space for clients in our future plans and are very keen to lead the way in being a modern business unafraid to adopt change,” he explained.
The top 15 accountancy firm now employs over 1,000 people in the UK, as it looks set to enter its third consecutive year of growth.