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Accounting Excellence

The 2021 Accounting Excellence finalists are...


The Accounting Excellence Awards revealed today the 2021 finalists, recognising accountancy firms and vendors for their client service and technology innovations and help for pandemic-hit businesses. 

18th Aug 2021
Editor AccountingWEB
In association with
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The Accounting Excellence judges deliberated over all of the entries and after plenty of rumination and debate, we can now reveal the firms and vendors that will duke it out for the Accounting Excellence Awards across 19 categories. 

Live and in person award ceremony!

After social distancing rules forced the 2020 awards presentation to go virtual, the 2021 Accounting Excellence Awards will return to The Brewery in London for an in-person award ceremony on 21 October. 

The awards are supported this year by category sponsors FreeAgent, Sage and Xero, while Chaser is an ambassador for the event. Accountancy body ACCA,  BASDA and PracticeWeb are partners for the awards. Joining us this year to support the new Payroll Team of the Year category is the CIPP.

Five new trophies will be handed out to deserving accountants and vendors this year, as the Accounting Excellence Awards recognise product innovation, accounting software partner programmes, tax teams, payroll teams and a rising star in the profession. 

This year’s big trends

This year’s award entries told the story of the accounting profession’s heroic efforts over the past 12-18 months and how the best performing firms capitalised on strengthened client relationships to expand their services. 

The pandemic featured heavily in the majority of entries, especially the payroll team of the year category, so it’s no surprise there's a greater emphasis on people issues this year. These challenges were twofold; first, there was the toll of the virus and the resulting client demands and then there was the transition to remote working, which has continued as pandemic restrictions were lifted. 

Firms also explored new territories such as environmental issues. Several entrants explained how they were becoming certified B Corporations to support the type of clients they work with and to fulfil the expectations of their employees. 

Diversity was another trend emerging within cutting edge firms. When the subject was brought up in an AccountingWEB Live Accounting Excellence Talk, leaders from finalist firms including PJCO, Kreston Reeves and Inform reported that a diverse workplace was one of the key attributes Generation Z accountants look for in a company. 

As always, and unsurprisingly after a year of tending to the needs of small businesses, client service was a dominant theme. So intense was the focus on this area that eight finalists will be competing for the Client Service of the Year award. Examples of excellent client service this year included pro bono work, anonymous client surveys and firms trimming their client base so they can offer more bespoke service to a smaller number of clients. 

The breakout trend from the Small Firm of the Year award was the surge in firms offering virtual finance director services. The trend ballooned as the pandemic encouraged businesses to turn to their accountants for help in accessing Covid loans and downsizing businesses looked to accountants for finance function support.

Here are the finalists for the 2021 Accounting Excellence Awards:

Small Firm of the Year, sponsored by FreeAgent

  • Headline FD
  • Linford Grey Associates
  • Portt & Co
  • Raedan
  • The Online Accountant

Medium Firm of the Year, sponsored by Xero

  • Accountancy Cloud
  • Ad Valorem Group
  • Goringe Accountants Ltd
  • PJCO Chartered Certified Accountants
  • Scholes CA
  • Sobell Rhodes LLP

Large Firm of the Year

  • Albert Goodman
  • Duncan & Toplis
  • Grunberg & Co
  • Johnston Carmichael
  • Kreston Reeves
  • Milsted Langdon

New Firm of the Year

  • Alchemy Accountancy
  • Gareth Lawrence Ltd
  • Gravitate Accounting Ltd
  • Heaton Vences
  • Kennedy Accountancy
  • Vibrant Accountancy

Fast-track Firm of the Year, sponsored by Sage

  • CBTax Limited
  • Inform Accounting Ltd
  • Makesworth Accountants
  • Sterling Accounting Solutions

Investing in People Award

  • Ad Valorem
  • Charterhouse (Accountants) Ltd
  • Inform Accounting
  • Sobell Rhodes
  • Wilson Partners Ltd

Client Service Award

  • DNS Accountants
  • Infinity Partnership
  • Inform Accounting
  • Jeffreys Henry
  • Kreston Reeves
  • Makesworth Accountants
  • Pentins Business Advisers
  • PJCO Chartered Certified Accountants

Sole Practitioner of the Year

  • CRC Accountancy
  • LJM Bookkeeping
  • The Beauty Accountant

Bookkeeping Team of the Year

  • Arden Bookkeeping Ltd
  • Corient Business Solutions Ltd
  • LJM Bookkeeping
  • Safe Hands Bookkeeping Ltd
  • The Accounts Place

Specialist Team of the Year

  • Cooper Parry R&D Incentives
  • Cooper Parry Retail
  • Jeffreys Henry
  • Next Level Business
  • Writers Tax Ltd

Tax Team of the Year

  • AVS VAT Consultancy Ltd
  • Charterhouse (Accountants) Ltd
  • Infinity Partnership

Payroll Team of the Year

  • Connected Voice Business
  • Mazars
  • Nicholson & Co Accountancy
  • Whitley Stimpson

Practice Pioneer of the Year

  • Lucy Cohen
  • Nikki and Nigel Adams
  • Reza Hooda
  • Sergio Avalos

Hero Award: Software vendor

  • Fathom
  • Karbon
  • Senta by IRIS

Hero Award: Accounting firm

  • Beach Accountants Ltd
  • Headline FD
  • Maslins Ltd
  • Sterling Finance UK Ltd

Hero Award: Individual

  • James Twigger
  • Jennifer Barker
  • Paul Layte
  • Shona Barker
  • Trent Mclaren

Rising Star of the Year

  • Chloe Leslie
  • George Moss
  • Lewis Reynolds
  • Rose Morgan
  • Victoria Bretherick

Partnership Award

  • AccountancyManager
  • Cashplus Bank
  • Fathom
  • Fluidly
  • Syft Analytics

Product Innovation of the Year

  • Capitalise
  • Connect4
  • Fathom
  • Fluidly
  • Inflo
Over the coming weeks, AccountingWEB will delve into the trends from this year's entrants and report on the growth and client satisfaction lessons that you can implement in your practice. These trends will also be featured heavily in our ongoing AccountingWEB Live show, Accounting Excellence Talks.  

Replies (4)

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Red Leader
By Red Leader
18th Aug 2021 11:25

There were so many firms listed, I was almost expecting to see my name there! Perhaps the more exclusive list is the list of those not on the list. If you see what I mean.

Thanks (3)
By Open all hours
18th Aug 2021 16:32

The most prestigious award should go to whoever can explain how Making Tax Digital can operate efficiently for the profession and cost effectively for the client.

A case of Big Beat Manifesto from Turning Point Brew Co will reward your genius.

Thanks (0)
By TaxTeddy
19th Aug 2021 12:15

Surely we should be nominating Rebecca Cave for a special award this year.

It seems to me that Rebecca's articles on MTD have done more than anyone else to clarify the issues and problems we might expect to face.

Thanks (2)
Replying to TaxTeddy:
By AdamMurphy
19th Aug 2021 13:49

Yes, a great assistance and her articles are the only ones which aren't advertorials.

Thanks (0)