Accountants need personality as well as technical expertise,” says Mac Robertson, Managing Partner at the Hornchurch offices of Haines Watts and just a few minutes in his company shows you he practises what he preaches.
And his commitment to both accountancy and Havering is more than enthusiastic.
A former student of Coopers Company and Coborn School he fast tracked through his accountancy examination, after graduating from Bradford University, to become the youngest qualified chartered accountant in the country at the age of 23.
He started his career with KPMG in London before setting up his own practice in partnership with fellow Coopers student Ian Milroy in 2000. That practice out grew offices in South Woodham Ferrers and Butts Green Road, Hornchurch before finally settling in Wingletye Lane, Hornchurch.
Mac said: “The offices are ideal as we are a few minutes’ walk from Upminster Tube Station, are close to the M25 and there’s a public car park just opposite.
“We quickly expanded and filled the new offices so in 2012 we built Coopers House to give us the extra space we needed. That was a major investment for us, costing around £150,000, but we were pleased that the work was done by one of our clients so we knew the standard would be good”.
Mac continued: “In October 2014 we embarked on the next phase of our growth by merging with another successful local firm, Haines Watts. Through our expertise and service range, combined with our experience of working with over 35,000 business owners nationally, we are ideally placed to help local owners build profitable and valuable businesses.”
“But it’s the people that make our business a success. When I’m interviewing someone to join the team I’m looking at their personality as the technical side can be taught.
Out of the 28 staff we have at this office, most of whom are living in Havering, 8 of them are trainees as I believe that we should be encouraging young people to gain professional qualifications that will give them a good career.
I love seeing people develop into their job and actively encourage all staff, no matter how junior, to meet with clients and build good relations with them.
We’re also linking up with Havering College to offer placements for their accountancy students so they get some hands-on experience.”
The firm also encourages people to work from home using a highly successful cloud based service supported by our internal IT support company and a very good broadband connection.
Haines Watts services are aimed primarily at owner managed businesses by providing compliance services for taxation and accounts but also specialist services such as exit strategy planning, legal forensic accounting support and corporate and personal tax planning advice.
Mac said: “We’re a local firm employing local people so we get involved in our community. We offer work placements each year for a student from Coopers School, I’m a Trustee for Thames Chase Community Forest as well as Havering Chamber of Commerce and Industry Treasurer and a member of Hornchurch 41 Club.
Other partners are involved with the monthly Hornchurch Business Lunch Club and organise a charity golf day for Havering Chamber.
All of our staff get involved in events such as Red Nose Day; we entered two teams for The Queen’s Theatre quiz nights (one of which won the top prize) and also hold dress down days for different charities throughout the year.
In short Haines Watts gives a high standard of professional service for our clients, a good working environment for our staff and a commitment to our local community.”
“I joined Haines Watts four years ago and this year completed by ACCA qualification and have been taken on to a permanent contract.
I have my own list of around 200 clients providing everything from personal tax returns through to corporate accountancy. It’s a lot of responsibility but that’s something I enjoy and when doing my exams I could turn to practical experience to help me answer the questions.
I’m happy to be working here as the people are really friendly, there’s a good social life and interesting work without the hassle and expense of working in central London.”
“I was looking at different careers having graduated with a psychology degree and accountancy was an interest so I started on the ACCA course as someone funding their own way.
About 18 months ago I asked Haines Watts if they could give me a work placement and was told no but Mac invited me to an interview. From the start he made me feel at ease because he was so nice and relaxed.
At the end of it he offered me a trainee role here and I’ve not looked back. I have one of the recently qualified accountants as a mentor and already have my own client list of nine companies as well as working regularly for the same companies on other people’s lists.
There’s a lot of support available from colleagues as well as the opportunity to take on responsibility too, which is great.
Everyone is very friendly; it’s the first company I’ve worked for where I can honestly say I like everyone.”
Mac Robertson, mobile: 07885 792 611, office: 01708 475220
Jim Sheringham, Business Development Consultant, mobile: 07976 746 599