Haines Watts’ acquisition policy sees 13% rise in revenues

Top twenty firm Haines Watts has reported turnover of £96m for the year, up from £84m, recording a 13% hike in revenues from both organic growth and an active acquisition strategy

Profitability last year also recorded double digit growth at over 10%, although this is slower than FY18 which the firm said was due to its substantial investments in people recruitment, technology and office environments.

The firm, which was ranked at number 14 in the Accountancy Daily Top 75 league table for 2018, had predicted a slowing of its growth rate in the second half of FY19 due to Brexit concerns, following 16% revenue growth the previous year.

The £11m growth in turnover during the financial year was attributed to acquisitions as Haines Watts took over new accounting practices in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and Nottingham while recent acquisitions in the North East will be reflected in next year’s accounts.

Despite its Kent and Glasgow businesses leaving the group with a slight £3m turnover drop, overall new acquisitions have formed 7%, around half of the company’s overall growth this year.

Managing partner Michael Davidson said: ‘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 but we are still showing a healthy 13% increase in revenues.

‘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.’

The firm remains in acquisitive mode, already recording 6% in acquired fee growth in the current financial year, including its latest North East deals.

Founded in 1930, Haines Watts has over 60 offices across the UK and employs around 1,000 UK-based people. It made 13 new partner appointments in April. The firm also rolled out a regional model in late 2018 to foster greater collaboration across 10 regions.

Davidson added: ‘We have spent 2019 looking at where every region is in their business cycle and have benchmarked best practice levels – effectively we have 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.’

The firm is also looking at reviewing working practices in line with its changing employee profile.

Davidson said: ‘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, 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.’

Pat Sweet | 17-07-2019

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