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Mazars

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International accountancy firm Mazars has announced 11 promotions across its central region offices in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester and Milton Keynes.

In Birmingham, Lee Patrick has been promoted to manager in the audit team, Timothy Thackaberry to the senior manager in forensic investigation services, Matthew Byers to manager in the internal audit team, and Adam Webb to assistant manager in the financial planning division.

Birmingham office managing partner Lee Cartwright said “Mazars is a firm which recognises and nurtures talent.

“Our growth in the West Midlands has reflected the national success of the firm and Birmingham is now a £12 million revenue per year office.

“This has seen our headcount in the city increase from 90 to 130.”

Ian Pickford, Mazars’ central region managing partner, said: “We are constantly looking to the future and I congratulate all of the staff who have been promoted.

“In the same breath though, as a national firm, we are already looking ahead to the autumn and seeking applications from school leavers and graduates to support our next phase of growth.”

The news comes after Mazars nationally announced growth in UK profits by 18.2 per cent in the year to August 31, 2014.

The firm’s profit before tax increased to £26.2 million compared to £22.2 million in the previous year.

Overall fee income for the same period was up 8.6 per cent to £130.9 million, marking five successive years of growth and an overall increase in revenues of 28 per cent during the same period. The firm has now recorded fee income growth for nine out of the last ten years.

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International accountancy firm Mazars has announced 11 promotions across its central region offices in Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester and Milton Keynes.

In Birmingham, Lee Patrick has been promoted to manager in the audit team, Timothy Thackaberry to the senior manager in forensic investigation services, Matthew Byers to manager in the internal audit team, and Adam Webb to assistant manager in the financial planning division.

Birmingham office managing partner Lee Cartwright said “Mazars is a firm which recognises and nurtures talent.

“Our growth in the West Midlands has reflected the national success of the firm and Birmingham is now a £12 million revenue per year office.

“This has seen our headcount in the city increase from 90 to 130.”

Ian Pickford, Mazars’ central region managing partner, said: “We are constantly looking to the future and I congratulate all of the staff who have been promoted.

“In the same breath though, as a national firm, we are already looking ahead to the autumn and seeking applications from school leavers and graduates to support our next phase of growth.”

The news comes after Mazars nationally announced growth in UK profits by 18.2 per cent in the year to August 31, 2014.

The firm’s profit before tax increased to £26.2 million compared to £22.2 million in the previous year.

Overall fee income for the same period was up 8.6 per cent to £130.9 million, marking five successive years of growth and an overall increase in revenues of 28 per cent during the same period. The firm has now recorded fee income growth for nine out of the last ten years.

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Budget changes will encourage business, says Mazars

It was a Budget for votes but with some useful initiatives for business and savers, according to international accountancy firm Mazars.

Eric Williams, partner and head of tax at the Birmingham office, said there was particularly good news for the vast majority of employees and pensioners with the move from annual paper tax returns to digital and also for the self-employed and small businesses with the proposed abolition of class 2 National Insurance contributions, which was really a tax in all but name.

HM Revenue and Customs will automatically collate the tax affairs of millions of Britons from employers, banks and investment firms into a single “digital” tax account which can be checked at any time online, although this is unlikely to help many self-employed, or those with more complex tax affairs where HMRC will not have access to online information to complete the new tax account. “Tax bureaucracy can be something of a nightmare for sole traders and small businesses,” commented Mr Williams, and the new digital account process is likely only to be of limited help for them.

“By early 2016, the Chancellor estimates five million small businesses and the first ten million individuals will have access to digital tax accounts. Wisely, many will still want their accountant to advise – on what they can claim, how best to minimise payments, and how to take the business forward – but they will now have a running picture of where they stand.”

Though well leaked in advance, he noted the promised review of the business rates scheme would also be of benefit to traders, both small and large.

He said: “This has been something of a running sore. Most businesses simply want a fair system which is regularly updated. Thankfully the Chancellor has agreed that it needs far reaching reform.

“It will be interesting to see what proposals they come up with. The reform of stamp duty has been widely welcomed by the housing sector; it should equally be possible to address the business rates issue. In the interim the extension of small business rate relief will help.”

The also well leaked relaxation allowing those pensioners who have bought annuities to convert those annuities into up front cash will be a very welcome initiative for many, but it is also a potential minefield for both pensioners and advisors, commented Mr Williams.

“The simplifications to pension funds, abolishing the 55 per cent charge on funds and thus limiting tax on pension funds to the pensioner’s marginal rate of income tax and the relaxation of the tax charge on interest from bank accounts, with the first £1,000 of interest for a basic rate taxpayer and £500 for a higher rate taxpayer being exempt from tax, coupled with the freedom to now withdraw funds from an ISA without penalty, are all welcome too.”

With Mazars having a strong not-for-profit arm, Mr Williams hailed the increase from £5,000 to £8,000 a year in the amount in small cash donations on which charities can claim a gift aid top-up, benefiting over 6,500 small charities.

“Anything which can help charity funding has to be a good thing.”

He went on: “Overall, the enhancements to the personal tax allowance, abolition of class 2 NICs and the improvements to the pensions regime and taxation of interest plus the ISA enhancements, including the very attractive new ‘buy to let’ ISA, will be welcomed by many middle income families and the Chancellor has clearly displayed his political antennae in delivering a Budget designed to win votes in May this year.

“Of course, given the General Election, many of the Budget initiatives will have to await the outcome. For the moment you might as well flip one of the new look 12-sided £1 coins complete with rose, leek, thistle and shamrock.

“To that extent it is almost a phantom Budget yet full of talking points.”

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It was a Budget for votes but with some useful initiatives for business, according to international accountancy firm Mazars.

Alistair Wesson, East Midlands managing partner, said there was hopefully good news for the self-employed and small businesses with the move from annual paper tax returns to a digital process.

HM Revenue and Customs will automatically collate the tax affairs of millions of Britons from employers, banks and investment firms into a single “digital” tax account which can be checked at any time online.

“Tax bureaucracy can be something of a nightmare for sole traders and small businesses,” commented Mr Wesson.

“By early 2016, the Chancellor estimates all five million small businesses and the first ten million individuals will have access to digital tax accounts. Wisely, many will still want their accountant to advise on what they can claim, how best to minimise payments, and how to take the business forward, to give them a running picture of where they stand.”

Though well leaked in advance, he noted the promised review of the business rates scheme would also be of benefit to traders, both small and large.

He said: “This has been something of a running sore. Most businesses simply want a fair system which is regularly updated. Thankfully the Chancellor has agreed that it needs far reaching reform.

“So it will be interesting to see what proposals they come up with. The reform of stamp duty has been widely welcomed by the housing sector; it should equally be possible to address the business rates issue. In the interim the extension of small business rate relief will help.”

With Mazars having a strong not-for-profit arm, Mr Wesson hailed the increase from £5,000 to £8,000 a year in the amount in small cash donations on which charities can claim a gift aid top-up, benefiting over 6,500 small charities.

“Anything which can help charity funding has to be a good thing.”

Stephen Fuller, Head of Tax at Mazars for the East Midlands, added a few points of caution: “Of course, given the General Election in May, many of the Budget initiatives will have to await the outcome. For the moment you might as well flip one of the new look 12-sided £1 coins complete with rose, leek, thistle and shamrock.

“To that extent it is almost a phantom Budget, although full of talking points for the next few months!

“The most sensible advice to business owners is to concentrate on their own plans and not be distracted by political rhetoric. There is a lot of money out there at the moment available for investment, and those who would like to be at the front of the queue shouldn’t delay – those who do could get left behind.”

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Mazars, the international accountancy firm, grew its UK profits by 18.2 per cent in the year to August 31, 2014, it has been announced. The firm’s profit before tax increased to £26.2 million compared to £22.2 million in the previous year.

Overall fee income for the same period was up 8.6 per cent to £130.9 million, marking five successive years of growth and an overall increase in revenues of 28 per cent during the same period. The firm has now recorded fee income growth for nine out of the last ten years.

While robust organic growth continues to constitute a significant proportion of the rise in turnover, merger activity – namely the acquisition of Deloitte’s specialist public sector internal audit business – contributed three per cent towards overall growth. It also positions the firm as one of the country’s leading suppliers of outsourced internal audit and anti-fraud services to local authorities and NHS bodies.

The firm’s  advisory service lines experienced significant growth of 22 per cent from £28.2 million to £34.4 million, thanks in particular to strong performance from a number of specialist areas including financial services consulting, project finance and forensic and investigation services.

Audit and actuarial services remain Mazars’ principal generator of fee income: turnover increased by 8.3 per cent from £48.3 million to £52.3 million. The tax practice recorded a slight drop in fee income of 0.8 per cent, from £24.5 million to £24.3 million. Turnover in insolvency and investigation services grew by 2.2 per cent to £19.9 million. The firm’s wealth management business performed very well, seeing funds under management grow by 27 per cent to £376 million over the year.

Phil Verity, UK Senior Partner, said: “The results demonstrate very encouraging progress: our strategy is based on achieving long-term sustainable growth through responding to clients needs, investing and innovating in the markets and areas where we shine, and pursuing the right opportunities as they arise. The significant increase in profitability is testament to this.”

He continued: “This year we have continued to invest in developing the range and depth of skills within our teams – increasing reward to our staff by more than ten per cent – and rolling out a series of people-focused initiatives to help support and build a best in class team. Delivering outstanding quality to our clients will always be our foremost goal; we know that goes hand in hand with seeking out, nurturing and channelling a diverse range of top class talent.”

Alongside the recruitment of several new and highly experienced partners in dedicated client teams such as financial services, investment in people was represented in a number of firm-wide programmes, including national drives focused on diversity and people engagement. Significant resource has also been dedicated to the upgrading and integration of key internal systems.

Following the external recruitment of new teams in Scotland and the East Midlands – numbering over 50 people in total – in the early part of the financial year, the firm opened two new offices, one in Leicester and the other in Perth.

Lee Cartwright, Birmingham office partner, said: “Our growth in the West Midlands has reflected the national success of the firm and Birmingham is now a £10 million revenue per year office.

“This has seen our headcount in the city increase from 90 to 116.”

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Mazars, the international accountancy firm, grew its UK profits by 18.2 per cent in the year to August 31, 2014, it has been announced. The firm’s profit before tax increased to £26.2 million compared to £22.2 million in the previous year.

Overall fee income for the same period was up 8.6 per cent to £130.9 million, marking five successive years of growth and an overall increase in revenues of 28 per cent during the same period. The firm has now recorded fee income growth for nine out of the last ten years.

While robust organic growth continues to constitute a significant proportion of the rise in turnover, merger activity – namely the acquisition of Deloitte’s specialist public sector internal audit business – contributed three per cent towards overall growth. It also positions the firm as one of the country’s leading suppliers of outsourced internal audit and anti-fraud services to local authorities and NHS bodies.

The firm’s  advisory service lines experienced significant growth of 22 per cent from £28.2 million to £34.4 million, thanks in particular to strong performance from a number of specialist areas including financial services consulting, project finance and forensic and investigation services.

Audit and actuarial services remain Mazars’ principal generator of fee income: turnover increased by 8.3 per cent from £48.3 million to £52.3 million. The tax practice recorded a slight drop in fee income of 0.8 per cent, from £24.5 million to £24.3 million. Turnover in insolvency and investigation services grew by 2.2 per cent to £19.9 million. The firm’s wealth management business performed very well, seeing funds under management grow by 27 per cent to £376 million over the year.

Phil Verity, UK Senior Partner, said: “The results demonstrate very encouraging progress: our strategy is based on achieving long-term sustainable growth through responding to clients needs, investing and innovating in the markets and areas where we shine, and pursuing the right opportunities as they arise. The significant increase in profitability is testament to this.”

He continued: “This year we have continued to invest in developing the range and depth of skills within our teams – increasing reward to our staff by more than ten per cent – and rolling out a series of people-focused initiatives to help support and build a best in class team. Delivering outstanding quality to our clients will always be our foremost goal; we know that goes hand in hand with seeking out, nurturing and channelling a diverse range of top class talent.”

Alongside the recruitment of several new and highly experienced partners in dedicated client teams such as financial services, investment in people was represented in a number of firm-wide programmes, including national drives focused on diversity and people engagement. Significant resource has also been dedicated to the upgrading and integration of key internal systems.

Following the external recruitment of new teams in Scotland and the East Midlands – numbering over 50 people in total – in the early part of the financial year, the firm opened two new offices, one in Leicester and the other in Perth.

Alistair Wesson, East Midlands Managing Partner commented: “These are great results and also completely indicative of the direction of travel Mazars is taking in the East Midlands.

“During the financial year to August 31, 2014, we established a new office in Leicester and significantly grew our Nottingham office.

“At the time of writing, our staff and partner numbers had increased by over 250 per cent with commensurate growth in revenues. Mazars nationally and across the East Midlands is in a great place and keenly looking forward to the future.”

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Mazars is warning East Midlands businesses that they must not allow themselves to be sidetracked by the Budget and Election “sideshows” this year.

The international accountancy firm with offices in Nottingham and Leicester is stressing the need to focus and not be distracted.

Partner Stephen Fuller said: “The Budget and the Election are potential distractions or sideshows for business owners.

“Although they may have a bearing on the economy over the next year, businesses must maintain focus and drive to achieve their objectives – those who wait or allow themselves to be distracted risk losing the inherent capital value within their business.”

He explained that an Election year was different in that any announcements made in the Budget on March 18th are unlikely to be enacted into legislation as there will be insufficient time for the Finance Bill to pass through Parliament before it is dissolved ahead of the election.

“The usual hullabaloo around the Budget will be irrelevant as it will just be electioneering,” he said.

Corporate finance partner Paul Bevan urged businesses not to wait and see whether a “Phantom Budget” or a possible “Hung Parliament” had a negative impact on the economy – or not.

“If the idea of exiting your business is on your mind, start planning now, whatever your timescales.

“Take action now to secure your future rather than leave it to the whims and vagaries of politicians,” he said.

Stephen Fuller then stressed the need to ensure that business owners considering exiting, qualified for Entrepreneur’s Relief.

“If you are nervous about the ten per cent entrepreneur’s relief rate being increased or abolished, there is the potential to protect yourself against post-Budget Capital Gains Tax rises,” he said.

“You should also make sure you plan for your estate and understand Business Property Relief, which could also have a wider impact from an Inheritance Tax perspective.”

He cited Research & Development tax credits and Patent Box as two cash generating tax reliefs that should be reviewed and maximised as they can add significant value and aid cashflow.

And he stressed that if commercial property is involved in any prospective transaction, the Capital Allowances position must be fully reviewed as failure to do so now could have an adverse impact on a transaction

Paul Bevan said:  “Despite comments to the contrary, there is lots of cash – both debt and equity – out there looking for a good home. Interest rates are low, banks are funding and there’s a real buyer appetite out there.

“And don’t limit yourself to looking solely in the UK for a purchaser – look abroad, both east and west,” he said.

“In an Election Year, preceded by the usual March Budget, it is very easy to lose focus, and wait and see what impact is initiated.

“But experience tells us that very little of serious consequence happens between a Budget and General Election, and holding back now merely means you have let six months slip by – while your competitors may be staking their claim,” he pointed out.

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The Birmingham office of international accountants Mazars is forecasting a stream of M&A deals despite the uncertainty associated with a General Election.

It follows a very active 2014 with the international accountancy firm’s Central Region team, covering the Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester and Milton Keynes offices, working on over 30 completed transactions supporting SMEs, international corporates, and listed companies across a range of sectors in the £3 million to £50 million range.

Corporate finance partner Nick Johnson said: “Despite a degree of macro economic uncertainty, and the upcoming election, we are confident that this will be another exciting year for deals.

“We have seen views developing within the business community for some time now – whether it’s selling, acquiring or investing. There has been a sea change in attitudes, with people recognising that there is no time like the present.

“So the outlook is very positive – our pipeline of deals remains strong and continues to build. Our business will grow further in 2015, and we expect to see more of every type of deal including some interesting buyout opportunities.”

Recent disposals completed by the team include the sale of a software business to Sanderson plc, the sale of an online consumer business to private buyers and the sale of a leading provider of marketing fulfilment services to a division of international outsourcing group Bunzl plc.

Fundraising has also been a feature – the team completed the raising of around £8 million for IT services business APSU from Business Growth Fund, a bank funded sale to management, and an equity and bank fundraising. The pipeline is also promising in this area with several buyouts and buy-ins expected in the near future.

2015 kicked off with the £23 million sale of Life Marketing Consultancy Ltd to multi-channel marketing firm Communisis plc. Mazars provided comprehensive corporate finance advice to the shareholders of Life.

Principal vendor David Poole commented: “If there’s one thing the last seven months have taught us, it’s the turbulent waters of M&A need careful and experienced navigation – that’s why we chose to work with Mazars.

“Nick and his team helped with every aspect of the acquisition process, but beyond technical aspects, the extended negotiation and the myriad work streams, it was the human element that Nick managed so well.

“His deep understanding of what both sides are going through, particularly at the sticky key stages, was critical to a successful outcome for us and Communisis.”

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International accountancy firm Mazars has helped put together another deal in the Midlands.

Just prior to Christmas it helped the shareholders of a Solihull based software company to complete a sale to a Stock Exchange-quoted purchaser.

Proteus Software Ltd, which is based on Solihull Parkway at Birmingham Business Park, was acquired by Sanderson Group plc, the Coventry-based software and IT services business specialising in multi-channel retail and manufacturing markets in the UK and Ireland.

Now, just days into 2015, Mazars has also advised the shareholders of the specialist shopper marketing agency Life Marketing Consultancy on a sale to multi-channel marketing firm Communisis plc purchase in a deal that could that could potentially yield a value in excess of £20 million.

Nick Johnson, corporate finance partner at the firm’s Birmingham office, acted on both transactions.

He said: “We have a had a great run from the beginning of last summer and it’s fantastic to start 2015 with such a great success story for the shareholders of Life  – we are off and running again.  Despite a degree of macro uncertainty in the UK and overseas I am very confident that this will be another exciting year for deal doing.”

Life Marketing Consultancy will become part of  Leeds based Communisis plc, adding expertise in research and insight-led shopper marketing to its existing experience in customer communication.

The agency, which has 63 staff split between offices in Birmingham and London, focuses on understanding and influencing consumer behaviour whilst they shop and also taking account of retailer strategies and requirements. Life’s clients are leading consumer goods groups especially in the food, drinks, technology and pharmaceutical sectors.

Communisis has staff based across the UK and Europe. The deal will enable it to extend the range of services it offers to its consumer goods clients, deliver more value to its existing leading-brand clients, and expand into higher margin areas.

Andy Blundell, chief executive of Communisis, said: “Life has an excellent reputation in shopper marketing.”

The principal vendors, David Poole and Ian Humphris, join the Group in senior executive roles.

David Poole commented: “If there’s one thing the last seven months have taught us, it’s that the turbulent waters of M&A need careful and experienced navigation, that’s why we chose to work with Mazars.

“Nick and his team helped with every aspect of the process, but beyond the technical aspects, the  negotiations and the various work streams, it was the human element that Nick managed so well.

“His deep understanding of what both sides are going through, particularly at the sticky key stages, was critical to a successful outcome for us and Communisis.”

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Corporate finance advisers at international accountancy firm Mazars have helped a Solihull software company to achieve a sale to a Stock Exchange-quoted purchaser.

Proteus Software Ltd, which is based on Solihull Parkway at Birmingham Business Park, has been acquired by Sanderson Group plc, the Coventry-based software and IT services business specialising in multi-channel retail and manufacturing markets in the UK and Ireland.

Sanderson is paying a maximum of £1,900,000 for Proteus, consisting of an initial £1.4 million and a deferred consideration of up to £500,000, depending on certain performance criteria being met in the 12 month period to December 5, 2015.

Nick Johnson and Steve Talbot of Mazars’ corporate finance team advised Proteus during a two year engagement which led to the sale.

Proteus Software Ltd, a long standing Mazars client, provides warehouse management solutions to businesses operating in the area of third party logistics, warehouse management and supply chain distribution.

The company has longstanding relationships with its key customers, including owner managed businesses and major global corporates, working closely with them to deliver business critical solutions.

In the year to September 30, 2014, Proteus achieved turnover of £1.98 million.

Mazars corporate finance partner Nick Johnson said: “Proteus Software was established in 1987 as a business application software provider and has always been at the forefront of developing software applications that control supply chain business processes.

“We identified a natural fit with Sanderson Group plc, and I am pleased that both parties have achieved a highly satisfactory result.”

Sanderson Group chairman Christopher Winn said: “Proteus is a complementary acquisition for Sanderson and the Proteus products will complement the group’s own products, services and customers within its multi-channel retail and manufacturing businesses.”

Proteus Chief Executive David Gray said: “Having made our decision to seek a buyer for the business, we considered a number of market leading advisors and eventually chose Mazars LLP, who after presentations and careful consideration we felt had the skill, experience and understanding of our business, but most importantly we could trust their advice.

“The Mazars team did a tremendous job of guiding us through the process and providing excellent buyer-seller liaison, as well as advice on the finer transaction details, including tax. Their team gave us confidence and made the process as straightforward as possible.”

Mazars advised Proteus with Greg Emms of Emms Gilmore Liberson solicitors providing legal advice. Sanderson were advised by Schofield Sweeney.