A steady ship to navigate turbulent financial waters
We live in challenging times with soaring energy prices, rapid inflation and general economic problems sparked by world events all raising their heads even within the last six months.
Combined with the ongoing effects of the pandemic, this has created a huge amount of uncertainty, not least for our clients, but they can be assured we will offer the best services and advice to help them tackle issues as they arise.
We can say that with confidence – it was no coincidence that Whitley Stimpson recently celebrated 90 years in business.
Back in 1931 there were perhaps even greater challenges with the country in the grip of the Great Depression.
From those early days we have expanded and thrived with a client base that now stretches the country, employing 83 staff across offices in Bicester, Banbury, Witney and High Wycombe.
How has this been achieved? A key theme throughout the firm’s history has been its commitment to friendly and personal service as well as its dedication to nurturing young talent among its ranks.
As a result, many clients have been retained for decades from their early days as start-ups through to becoming multi-million-pound enterprises. But recently there have been new challenges as we adapt to clients’ changing needs.
Laura Herbert, director of the Bicester office which can trace its roots back to the 1960s, said:
“Traditionally the Bicester office has provided advice to owner managed businesses while we also have many private clients for whom we provide personal tax advice.
“We have seen a significant increase in individuals seeking inheritance tax planning and are advising families following the changes in reliefs that have happened surrounding property. Two webinars we held recently about inheritance tax were well attended so this is a hot topic and an issue of concern.”
Like many business sectors, the aftermath of the pandemic has led to recruitment issues for the accountancy industry.
“We have seen an increase in the number of people within accountancy practices who have taken the opportunity of home working to set up on their own and over the last year the Bicester office has lost a couple of senior accountants to this.
“However, staff retention remains strong. I have been with the firm for 15 years and others at the Bicester office have stayed with the company many more. We look to grow people within the firm to stay with us for the long term.”
This year the company has promoted five staff to become local office directors. Changes to the team in Bicester has allowed Frances Simpson, Balvinder Kaur Sangha and Sam Speed to also step up in their roles. Clients have chosen to stay with Whitley Stimpson due to the firm’s breadth of knowledge, with a team of experts providing advice and support they can rely on.
“We can advise at every step from starting up a business to planning ahead and setting up planning and exit strategies,” said Laura.
“We provide a far higher level of expertise due to our breadth of accountancy understanding and specialisations. Significantly, there is a lot of new business that we take on from smaller firms where we unravel and correct errors and issues.
“The key message is that we continue to provide existing clients with the assurance that we are providing sound advice across the full spectrum of accountancy with a higher level of service.”
This consistent approach is also being applied to the firm’s focus on training and development to support the next generation of accountants with eight new starters joining last year. Three staff also passed their final professional exams to become qualified accountants.
Tamjid Ali, Macaulay Fletcher, Robert Lay, Cindy Osei Kuffour, Charlie Paviour and Jacob Powell joined the firm as trainee accountants. Emma Butler and Lauren Paviour have joined as qualified accountants and Micaela Cardoso has joined as a junior payroll administrator.
These new starters are based throughout the firm and will receive tuition on the well-established and respected Whitley Stimpson training and development programme, whilst studying for their ACA/ ACCA qualifications.
“The trainee role applications are picking up now, but we still have vacancies to fill and recruiting staff at a higher level is still challenging.“
We are pulling out all the stops to encourage people to join the firm, such as flexible working. The core hours we require people to work can be moved according to their needs while everyone can work from home a couple of days a week. “We have also expanded employee benefits to include private medical cover and our staff have a substantial recruitment bonus to encourage them to bring other people they know into the firm, and we have an award-winning training programme so we are a company with a great future.”
For advice on business or personal accountancy or to book a free consultation, please contact Laura Herbert at Whitley Stimpson on 01869 252151.