Haines Watts tops £100m in revenue

Top twenty firm Haines Watts has broken the £100m barrier, recording a 11% increase in revenues for the latest financial year, largely due to its acquisitive ‘buy and build’ strategy

The firm, which is ranked at number 13 in the Accountancy Daily Top 75 league table, posted a £106m turnover in FY20, which it said was attributable to increases from FY19’s new territories, as well as more recent acquisitions in the North East and Scotland.

Profitability last year was more muted at 5%, which Haines Watts said was down to the firm investing heavily in technology and office environments, and in a recruitment strategy into new service line specialisms.

However, it said its technology investment meant the firm was able to transition its 1000 employees to work remotely overnight when lockdown was imposed.

Michael Davidson, Haines Watts group managing partner, 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 had 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.’

Davidson said new acquisitions had enabled the firm to expanded its service offering, including wider advice on complex tax matters and private client work. 

He reported seeing continued growth in new client acquisition in what he termed ‘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.’

‘The Coronavirus has meant we can bring in experts in all aspects of business, from legal to tax planning, cash flow management to crisis 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,’ Davidson said.

The global pandemic has mitigated the predicted impact of Brexit on Q4 of FY20, but Davidson said he expects advisory work on Brexit to ramp up as the deadline gets closer this year.

‘Coronavirus 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,’ Davidson said.

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