Mike Lloyd, Managing Partner of Haines Watts Swindon looks back at his 25 year career with the firm.
It was never a burning desire in my youth to be an accountant (as evidenced here I wanted to be a rock star. Hardly changed a bit have I!). To be honest I fell in to this career and then found I was pretty good at it.
I’m not the world’s greatest mathematician, however, this profession is more about rules than numbers. I’ve always been a people person though which becomes more and more important as you progress.
I started out in the profession in 1985 and the first person to inspire me was Geoff Gollop, Senior Partner at Kidsons Impey in Bristol. Geoff, who later became Mayor of Bristol, let me run a client base before I was even fully qualified.
However my biggest inspiration came much earlier – my father. He is the kindest most decent man I have ever met and he’s now 92. He brought me up on his own whilst working full time and he taught me so much.
It was on April Fool’s Day in 1995 that I joined Haines Watts (read into that what you will!). I was so happy to become a partner after just six months and then Managing Partner after a year.
I learnt so much in those early years and made plenty of mistakes (which hopefully I learned from) and I’m very proud that of the four clients I brought with me in 1995, I still look after three. I’m also proud that when I look at a list of my clients today, I see many that have been there since my first day at Haines Watts.
Another thing which I’m grateful for is the fact we have a such strong history of team members wanting to stay with us. I have one colleague who has been there longer than me (two more who retired in recent years) and several more who have been part of the team for at least ten years. I work with some amazing people and I feel very fortunate.
I have so many great memories of our annual office trips to Europe and the office notice board has many incriminating photos! Sadly, in the current circumstances this year’s trip to Amsterdam had to be called off.
A FEW OF MY HIGHLIGHTS SO FAR
Helping a client through a management buy-out and to be still working with them 13 years later.
Helping a client sell their business to private equity.
More recently working successfully in a strategic partnership with Inspire.
Being a founder member of and involved in the success and growth of the BusinessWise referral group in Swindon.
Seeing one of my partners build a hugely successful charity and not for profit specialism from an almost standing start.
Helping many clients over the years fulfil their ambitions and buy businesses they were involved in managing or had identified as wanting to acquire.
Working with family businesses to plan succession to the next generation.
HOW HAVE THINGS CHANGED?
Things have changed over that time. Manual systems became computerised and computers got smaller and cheaper but so much more powerful. Now those systems are moving to the Cloud (or in reality, actually just someone else’s building!).
Audit thresholds increase and regulation gets greater all the time.
Every year something gets thrown at us as a profession and we wonder if it’s all worthwhile but the next year comes around and here we still are!
WHAT HASN’T CHANGED?
Client service is still key to success. That trusted advisor role is what sets you apart.
Another thing is our less than flattering image to the rest of humanity! The stereotype of the boring accountant. Some of us do what we can to refute it, however we still have a lot of work to do! Maybe that blockbuster TV series or movie set in an accountancy practice is just around the corner.
WHAT’S TO COME?
Technological advances will undoubtedly continue to reduce the compliance work of accountancy firms though it won’t disappear completely.
The future is advisory and planning work. The added-value work that clients want rather than the things they have to have. It has been quite a journey for me and it’s not over yet!