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Accounting Excellence photo of the winners
Alistair-Veryard

The 2023 Accounting Excellence winners revealed

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The best of the best in the profession were recognised at the Roundhouse in London on Tuesday for the biggest Accounting Excellence Awards yet. Here are the evening’s winners. 

4th Oct 2023
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A staple in the accounting calendar since 2006, last night the Accounting Excellence Awards recognised firms, accountants and bookkeepers across the country in a glitzy ceremony hosted by comedian Tom Allen in London in front of 650 attendees. 

This year’s Accounting Excellence Awards featured brand new categories that reflected not only the changing demographic of the profession but also the changing landscape in which the profession operates. 

Award winners

Kreston Reeves picked up two awards: for Audit Team of the Year and the AccountingWEB Pride Award for ESG; while FD Works was another multiple winner, collecting both Employer of the Year and the AccountingWEB Pride Award for DEI. 

Due to the overwhelming number of entries, the Small Firm of the Year award was split into four separate regional awards, with Tennick Accountants being awarded the Grand Prix Award for national Small Firm of the Year. 

Tennick Accountants, who also took home the North of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland regional prizes, stood out from the other regional winners by building a firm around quality service delivery rather than simply trying to increase client numbers. 

As for the other fiercely competitive firm awards, Scholes Chartered Accountants secured the Mid-Tier Firm of the Year after a strong year driven by acquisitions and organic growth, while Haysmacintyre broke Kreston Reeves’ three-year streak and was Large Firm of the Year after the roll-out of new DEI and ESG strategies, plus an emphasis on audit tech and quality; and in a strong category, Prevail Accountancy was crowned Sole Practioner of the Year. 

Past winners of awards successfully defended their prize on the night: Simon Cowie from Infinity Partnership won the Practice Leader of the Year Award for the second year in a row, and Makesworth regained the Client Service of the Year Award (Small) after previously lifting the prize back in 2021. 2022's bookkeeping team of the year Arden Bookkeeping also returned to the podium this year, only this time they were awarded the Client Transformation Award for turning around the fortunes of a new client saddled with fines and late filing penalties. 

Elsewhere, We Are Safe Hands reclaimed the Bookkeeping Firm of the Year; a prize they previously won at the 2021 Accounting Excellence Awards. The other service line went to BKL for Tax Team of the Year and Qtac Payroll for Payroll Team of the Year. Meanwhile, Sobell Rhodes received the Client Service gong for mid to large firms.      

This year’s awards also had brand new awards for International Firm of the Year, In-house Marketing Team of the Year and Digital Transformation whose winners were HB&O, Linford Grey Associates, and Azets respectively. 

The evening concluded with a number of individual awards: Becky Glover won the inaugural Finance Director of the Year Award, Cowie collected the Practice Leader prize, and Rachel Harris from StriveX and Accountant_She in her trademark pink attire carried off the Break Out Star of the Year Award.  

John Stokdyk tribute and award

Missing from the evening’s celebration was AccountingWEB’s editor at large John Stokdyk, who sadly died in June. The evening started with a minute’s applause and a tribute to the AccountingWEB icon, where the prestigious Outstanding Contribution Award was renamed after John for the night and going forward. 

“It means that we will all remember him at the end of the evening, as an integral part of our annual celebration of excellence for a profession he contributed so much to,” said AccountingWEB editor Richard Hattersley. 

The recipient of the award this year was AccountingWEB’s former tax editor Rebecca Cave, who retired at the end of August. 

Trends and themes

The evening is about the winners and the finalists, but in the months to come, AccountingWEB will explore the trends and themes that led to Accounting Excellence glory. 

As always, client service remained a top priority with all the finalists. A handful of the winning firms used client satisfaction surveys to strengthen their offering and adapt their services, with one firm even putting in place a dedicated client satisfaction officer. 

With recruitment and talent retention topping the biggest challenges amongst entries for the past couple of years, it was unsurprising to see successful firms putting an emphasis on staff development and exploring new ways to solve the talent crunch, such as New Firm award winner Kennedy Accountancy investing in apprenticeships. 

The arrival of the new ESG award followed a trend across several categories of firms embedding environmental and sustainability strategies into their operations, with a number of entrants becoming - or on their way to becoming - B-Corp certified, or in the case of Small Firm of the Year (Midlands, Wales and East of England) winner Triple Bottom Line Accounting, helping clients meet their environmental goals with a Net Zero advisory service. 

The 2023 Accounting Excellence Award winners

Here is a complete list of the winners: 

FIRM AWARDS

Small Firm of the Year (London), sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks

  • Bradbury Stell | Rise
  • Major's Accounts & Co Ltd
  • Telic Advisory Ltd
  • The Accounting Crew
  • Urban Ledgers Limited - WINNER

The judges were highly impressed by the way the firm worked closely with its clients and its genuine interest in the vibrancy of the sector - not just in the fees it could earn from it.   

Small Firm of the Year (Midlands, Wales and East of England), sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks

  • Direct Peak Accountants
  • LJ Accountancy Services Ltd    
  • SAS Micro Limited
  • Triple Bottom Line Accounting Ltd - WINNER
  • Zoo Accounting & Business Solutions    

A commitment to sustainability made this entry stand out, with a Net Zero service that helps clients align with environmental goals, improve their corporate image, and contribute to long-term profitability and stability.

Small Firm of the Year (North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland), sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks

  • Bee Motion Accounting Ltd
  • Gravitate Accounting
  • M Squared Accountants    
  • Satori Accounting
  • Tennick Accountants - WINNER

Tennick's use of Power BI to gain insight from data, the launch of its Academy and an investment in coaching skills all contributed to the firm’s ability to understand its clients not just as businesses but as people.

Small Firm of the Year (South of England), sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks

  • de Jong Phillips Ltd
  • LKA Chartered Accountants - WINNER
  • Smooth Accounting Ltd
  • Starfish Accounting Ltd
  • Wood & Disney Ltd

Clear objectives and an equally clear strategy for achieving them sat at the heart of this entry. The judges particularly liked the firm’s client satisfaction surveys and the determination to adapt its service offering based on feedback.

Small Firm Grand- Prix Finalists

  • Urban Ledgers
  • Triple Bottom Line Accounting Ltd
  • Tennick Accountants - WINNER
  • LKA Chartered Accountants

All our finalists showed real client commitment, smart strategies, progressive thinking and a laser focus on their markets but Tennick truly stood out.

Mid-Tier Firm of the Year, sponsored by TaxCalc

  • Harold Sharp Ltd
  • Ramsay Brown LLP
  • Scholes Chartered Accountants - WINNER
  • Sobell Rhodes LLP
  • Seymour Taylor
  • Whitley Stimpson Ltd

Our judges felt this was a standout submission, with a good spread of complementing strategies around acquisition, organic growth and market sectors. 

Large Firm of the Year, sponsored by Dext

  • Bishop Fleming
  • dns accountants
  • Haysmacintyre - WINNER
  • Hentons
  • Kreston Reeves
  • Old Mill

So many key initiatives underpinned this successful entry, including the appointment of a Head of L&D; the development of both DEI and ESG strategies plus training around audit tech and quality. 

New Firm of the Year, sponsored by Xero

  • Chadwick Accountants & Bookkeepers Ltd
  • Clarative Accounting
  • Kennedy Accountancy - WINNER
  • Thomas and Clark Ltd
  • VE Medical Accountant

With a human-centric offering built on tech and a commitment to her local community, Kennedy Accountancy has demonstrated a strong commitment to its surrounding area and used this to solve any potential recruitment challenges.

International Firm of the Year, sponsored by Makosi

  • Azets
  • Euro Accounting Ltd
  • HB&O - WINNER
  • Soaring Falcon

HB&O showed what's possible from a deliberate effort to grow outside of the UK market, building a strong reputation as a mid-tier firm specialising in cross-border VAT and indirect tax queries that has led to international work accounting for 10% of this Midlands-based firm’s fee income.

Employer of the Year, sponsored by Mercia

  • Bishop Fleming    
  • FD Works - WINNER
  • Harland Accountants    
  • Heelan Associates
  • Monahans
  • Sobell Rhodes LLP    

The winning entry from FD Works stood out because of its schools’ outreach programme, the amount of trust and empowerment it demonstrates towards its people, clear KPIs, transparency and commitment to impacting society as a whole.

Client Service Award (Small Firm), sponsored by Moneypenny

  • Assure UK
  • CRC Advisory Ltd
  • Gravitate Accounting
  • Kennedy Accountancy
  • Leonard Business Services
  • Makesworth Accountants - WINNER

Makesworth clearly cares passionately about client service with a dedicated customer satisfaction officer monitoring client feedback to an admirable and effective degree.

Client Service Award (Med-Large Firm), sponsored by Moneypenny

  • Bishop Fleming
  • IN Accountancy Limited
  • Old Mill
  • Raffingers LLP    
  • Ramsay Brown LLP
  • Sobell Rhodes LLP - WINNER

A clear winner in a very strong field, all our judges praised the firm's regular Awesome Service Meetings plus its clear focus on values and rewarding the behaviours that lead to client satisfaction.

Sole Practitioner of the Year, sponsored by Allica Bank

  • Adams O'Rourke Accountants
  • BW Business Accountants & Advisers
  • Louise Herrington
  • Prevail Accountancy - WINNER
  • Kennedy Accountancy

Our judges were impressed with Prevail Accountancy’s focus on servicing a relatively small bank of clients, while offering new services to ensure fees grow year on year. 

AccountingWEB Pride Award: DEI, sponsored by Bright

  • Bee Motion Accounting Ltd
  • FD Works - WINNER
  • Q Accountants
  • Saga plc

FD Works demonstrated exactly how a DE&I strategy needs to be part of the culture, lived and breathed by the people in the business AND built into the organisation’s processes.

AccountingWEB Pride Award: ESG, sponsored by Bright

  • Bishop Fleming
  • Kreston Reeves - WINNER
  • Kung Fu Accounting
  • Profit Impact    
  • Seymour Taylor
  • Thrive Accountants

As one of the largest accounting firms to obtain B Corp status, Kreston Reeves has shown a clear understanding of the need to make a positive impact on the planet, society, and its stakeholders.

Digital Transformation Award, sponsored by Sage

  • Azets - WINNER
  • Johnston Carmichael
  • LHP Accountants
  • MacroFin
  • Your Ecommerce Accountant    

In a high-quality field packed with a diverse range of impressive projects, Azets’ work in a school for children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health conditions stood out as an exemplar of digital transformation done right.

Client Transformation Award, sponsored by Roebuck

  • Arden Bookkeeping - WINNER
  • BAS Associates Ltd
  • Crisp Accountancy Ltd
  • Ellacott Morris Ltd
  • Prevail Accountancy Ltd
  • Xeinadin Murray Associates

When Arden first met the client at the centre of this transformation story, he was facing fines and late filing penalties from HMRC. Arden supported the client and helped transform the business, ultimately saving him a year’s worth of turnover in fines.

SERVICE LINE AWARDS

Bookkeeping Team of the Year, sponsored by IRIS

  • Arden Bookkeeping Ltd
  • Bluebells Bookkeeping Ltd
  • LJM Bookkeeping Ltd
  • Morphry Thyme Ltd
  • Pink Pig Financials Ltd
  • We Are Safe Hands Ltd - WINNER

The judges were impressed by the growth and ambition of the team, how they have overcome challenges and have clear plans for future expansion. 

Tax Team of the Year, sponsored by Allica Bank

  • Azets | Tax Team
  • BKL - WINNER
  • Evelyn Partners | R&D team
  • Sanjay K Sah
  • Telic    

As well as achieving B Corp certification, BKL's application stood out from all the others for its focus on staff development and health, growth and use of automation

Payroll Team of the Year, sponsored by Employment Hero

  • Payroll Sorted Ltd
  • Grenfell James Payroll
  • Qtac Payroll - WINNER
  • Virtual Accounts & Taxes Ltd
  • Whitley Stimpson | Payroll Team

The judges were collectively of the opinion that Qtac Payroll's team operated in tandem with the company’s mission to provide a secure, timely, accurate, compliant and efficient payroll service. 

Progressive Audit Firm of the Year, sponsored by Circit

  • Beever and Struthers
  • Hentons
  • Kreston Reeves - WINNER
  • Old Mill
  • Seymour Taylor

What set the winning entry apart from the other applicants was the firm’s recognition that while investment in technology is essential, the audit profession is still a people-based business and it is how its people behave, think, interact, innovate and utilise technology that is most important. 

In-house Marketing Team of the Year, sponsored by PracticeWeb

  • Accounts and Legal
  • Bishop Fleming
  • Elemental CoSec
  • Linford Grey Associates - WINNER
  • Provestor | Sales & Marketing Team
  • Raffingers Chartered Certified Accountants | Marketing Team
  • TaxAssist | Business Development Team

A clear strategy around organic marketing content and outreach has built momentum for the firm by driving awareness, attracting new business and increasing average client fees over a three-year period.

INDIVIDUAL AWARDS

Finance Director of the Year, sponsored by iplicit

  • Liam Davis
  • Becky Glover - WINNER
  • Sherif Mankarios
  • Ciaran O'Donnell
  • Mark Preston FCMA    
  • Linda Richards FAIA

Our winner topped the list by demonstrating how it drove profitability in the business, how it introduced and championed change, how it communicated a clear strategy throughout the business, and how it invested in building effective communities.

Practice Leader of the Year, sponsored by GI Outsourcing

  • Calvin Cooper
  • Simon Cowie - WINNER   
  • Daniel Crowther
  • Adam Kusnierek
  • Sanjay K Sah    

Simon has again delivered impressive and consistent levels of controlled growth, showing how he can adapt and steer his firm even with changing market conditions. 

Breakout Star of the Year, sponsored by Davenport Thomas

  • Siddharth Sunilkumar Agarwal
  • Ryan Alderson
  • Rachel Harris - WINNER
  • Sam Inkersole
  • Ian Pay
  • Max Whiteley    

Our judges said: "Quite simply, Rachel is changing what it means to be an accountant, what it feels like to have an accountant, and what being an employer in the accounting industry looks like."

John Stokdyk Outstanding Contribution Award, sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks

  • Rebecca Cave