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We have recently released Haines Watts’ latest financial results and are delighted to break the £100 million barrier by recording £106m turnover in FY20.

Another year of double-digit revenue growth was achieved; with 11% growth predominantly down to our 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.

Our Group Managing Partner, Michael Davidson, shares his comments and looks to the future:


Breaking the barrier

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.

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.

We’re now able to provide wider advice 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 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.

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

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

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 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.


A culture change

Changing our 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. We successfully transitioned 1000 employees to work remotely overnight when 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.


Having one adviser who understands your aspirations and knows your business can be a huge help. For help and advice with your business, contact your local office

Find and contact your local Haines Watts office

About the author

Michael Davidson

Michael is the driving force behind the success of Haines Watts expansion in and around the M25 region. Michael joined Haines Watts in 1991 as a trainee and became a Partner in 1999. He specialises in, and is passionate about, advising owner managers with turnovers from £1 million to £20 million.

He challenges clients on their business and delivers advice in a very pragmatic way. Being an owner manager himself, his advice extends beyond financial input and he supports owners in managing the business through it‘s various cycles. This advice is underpinned by a ‘practical’ MBA completed at Cranfield School of Management.

Michael was voted on to the national Haines Watts Group Board in April 2008 and was made Group Managing Partner in 2018.


I’ve always thought it’s important to work with people you like – be it business owners, my team, suppliers or business acquaintances – so that you can laugh together and share the drama of experiences on the OMB rollercoaster.

I also think it’s very important to stay humble and be able to laugh at yourself.

I fear the day I don’t, to all of the above.

If I wasn’t doing this I’d be: a sports journalist.

Favourite Sports Team: Chelsea.

Dream Location: Naples, Florida.

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