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When Platinum asked us to think about how we’re doing, it gave us the opportunity to look back and into the future. Like most businesses, MHA Carpenter Box has put together a strategy – the base document was first drafted in 2012 and has been updated annually ever since. Of course, strategy documents are fairly easy to come by; the trick is to make sure that the strategy is implemented. Whilst we’re not perfect, strategy figures highly in each of our quarterly KPI meetings and generally, we do get things done.

At home with MHA Carpenter Box 

A growth strategy first penned in 2012 is obviously at risk of being overtaken by economic and political events, and we face growing challenges in both areas. Inevitably, (and who isn’t bored of hearing the term) Brexit throws up the ‘unknowable’. None of us understand the terms of our departure from the great European experiment, so planning for that is fairly speculative in the extreme.

In relation to our business at this point in time, we think the numbers speak for themselves. Over the past 10 years we have, through planning and a smidgen of luck, managed to grow our business fairly spectacularly. We’ve moved from being perceived as a typical high street accountancy firm to one with a regional, national and global capability.

That’s not only great news for us but also for our clients, who benefit from being able to easily access expertise whatever their issue or opportunity and whatever their sector.

An early appreciation of the role of technology in our world also saw us getting comfortable with the cloud and the opportunities it brings, well before most of our competitors. We are now heading towards our 2020 financial goals with a business headcount of around 155, including this year’s largest annual intake of trainees (12) to date.

Our model is simple: we want to help our clients to succeed by giving them the best business advice based on our understanding of and experience in numbers – including accounting, tax and audit, as well as in independent financial advice through our sister business, Carpenter Box Wealth Management.

Of course, we are in a very privileged position. The relationship that we enjoy with each of our clients means that we know how business is faring generally. More often than not, we will be in conversation with either the business owner or the management team that runs it.

Although each sector has slightly different issues, there are themes. When dealing with the issue of Brexit, most people that we talk to take the same attitude as do we and are just getting on with it. For the most part getting on with it means that business is fairly good but there are struggles.

At the top of the list is a fundamental difficulty in finding good-quality staff. This seems to be pervasive and although finding experienced and highly qualified staff is the most difficult with next to full employment in the region, it’s becoming difficult to recruit at any level. A further barrier is the lack of commercial space which is preventing businesses from growing. If a business can’t find suitable premises to enable growth it not only frustrates the business concerned, but also puts a block on a smaller business utilising vacated space. Lack of investment in infrastructure, especially around roads, continues to have a negative impact. Austerity seems to be misapplied when it risks the very growth that could help end it.

Summing it all up, business confidence at MHA Carpenter Box is pretty high and our strategy for growth seems to be working well. And our understanding of the views of many of our clients is that despite all of the uncertainty, political and economic, business is pretty good and they remain optimistic.

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