Yesterday at the Practice Excellence Awards in London the winners were announced, celebrating the best accountancy firms across the country from start-up practices through to large firms.
The winners were:
- Small practice: Stark Main & Co – winner (Gordons Knight and AWR shortlisted)
- Medium practice: Lamont Pridmore – winner (Houghton Stone and Cedar + Co shortlisted)
- Large practice: Milsted Langdon – winner (Cassons Chartered Accountants and PM+M shortlisted)
- Start-up practice: Accountancy Advantage – winner (Bainbridge Lewis and Telford Associates shortlisted)
AccountingWEB editor John Stokdyk, who presented and handed out the awards on the night, said how “all those who made it through to the final should be congratulated”.
The great and good of the profession gathered at the London Film Museum on the Southbank for the awards, which for the first year included an accompanying forum featuring an inspired keynote from accounting heavyweight Ric Payne, co-founder and chief executive of Principa.
Payne shared his 20 most valuable observations from the last 30 years and spoke about the ‘client value equation’, bringing home the point that process quality is the key driver of value. His overall message was: “clients don't care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
The afternoon included an expert panel discussion on the state of the profession between adjudicator John Stokdyk and software representatives Andrew Ross, Nigel Powell and Gareth Abraham representing sponsors BTC Software, Digita and Iris.
The session moved on to a “lessons learnt” discussion focussing on the 2012 Awards, which saw last year’s winners Woods Squared and Milsted Langdon share the stage with AccountingWEB contributing editor Mark Lee.
The results of the client survey showed that overall the 2012 figures were slightly down, which could be sign of the recession affecting the client-accountant relationship, however one of the key messages was that even though the figures weren’t bad there’s still no room for complacency.
With audit exemptions kicking in from next week, many clients may review their need for professional services. Stokdyk said you really need to get close to clients and demonstrate that you’re delivering value for them to prosper through any disruption to come.
Firms who took part in the Practice Excellence survey, but couldn’t come to the forum, will receive specific feedback on their own performance and their market segment in benchmark reports due to go out in the next week.
Further coverage on the award winners, survey findings and underlying trends will follow in the coming weeks. If you haven’t already done so, sign up for our weekly practice management bulletin to keep up with this topic.
Following a short break in the afternoon PracticeWEB’s James Scanlan and Chris Arnold stepped up with an exclusive insight into the results of their upcoming survey into online engagement in the profession. Expect to see a report on their survey in the coming weeks.
After a final Any Answers panel session with questions from the floor, it was on to a networking session, tour of the museum and dinner.
AccountingWEB publisher Andy North opened the evening proceedings and it was then up to the individual software vendors, Digita, Sage, Iris and BTC Software, to reveal who the 2012 winners were across all four categories.