MHA Larking Gowen appoints new Managing Partner in 2021
Julie Grimmer has been appointed as Managing Partner to MHA Larking Gowen, taking effect from 1 January.
She is the first woman to be elected to this prominent role and says that while 2021 will be challenging for many businesses, there is wide scope for optimism as well.
Julie said: "The relationships we have with our clients have never been more important. Supporting our clients to meet their statutory reporting and filing obligations is essential but it is the advice that we can give them personally and in running their businesses that really makes the difference.
"Whether this is helping them to negotiate their way through complex VAT rules, understanding available tax reliefs, advising on funding investment in new plant and equipment, or in buying and selling their businesses, we are here to help as their trusted advisor. We have even produced podcasts to help people meet the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to their personal and business lives."
Julie continued, "COVID-19 has caused people to re-evaluate the way they work, manage their time and use technology. Some of the changes we've made to adapt to the situation are very positive and beneficial."
Julie’s first day in her role will also see new rules coming into force, affecting the way businesses trade across international borders, as Brexit finally kicks in. While some businesses will need to adapt, it will also signal the end to what has been a long period of uncertainty which can only be beneficial.
Commented Julie, "Undoubtedly, as the economy recovers, there will be tax rises in the future to rebalance public finances. The final Brexit settlement will also shape our future tax and subsidy regime and we will need to see whether our region will benefit from the Government’s levelling up project funding.
"A lot of engagement and planning is required, and the importance of our firm as specialist tax and business advisors will really come to the fore."
However, while there are changes ahead, there are some things that don't change in the way an accountancy practice should be run.
Julie explained, "One of the things I am most passionate about is empowering our team at MHA Larking Gowen. Client service, excellence and working collaboratively and supportively will always be a given. We provide a huge variety of different services, with specialists in many fields, but we work together as one team on behalf of our clients.
"Our communities and local connections have always been important to us and this remains the case. We value being connected and embedded in this region. The reciprocal relationship between business, charities and community has been brought into sharp focus by the current situation. We have all relied on our communities for support during the periods of lockdown. Before then, we talked about the importance of community, but now you can really appreciate what it means."
Julie joined the firm as a trainee in 1984 at the age of 19. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant and worked her way up as a manager and a senior manager, taking two breaks for her children along the way, and was appointed as a partner in 2006.
From the start of her career, she had ambitions to be one of the business’s leaders, and to the firm's credit then, as today, there was a strong focus on career development and training.
Julie explained, "When I started my accountancy career, there were no women partners and there was what would now seem an air of very old-fashioned formality. You addressed the partners as Mr, rather than using first names, and there was a feeling that they were quite scary and remote. It was even written into the office dress code that women weren't allowed to wear trousers! Things have changed a lot since those days.
"I've had the benefit of a lot of people within the firm supporting my career development. I’m hugely grateful for this and I want to play my part in securing the continued succession of the firm. There is no point gaining experience if this is not shared, and the team supported, to meet their potential to become the future leaders of the business.
"Today, the profile of the firm is 58% women, and there are more women in senior positions in the business than ever before. We have a great team of people at MHA Larking Gowen and I am absolutely committed to our training and development strategy. This strategy is based on inclusion right across the firm. We are going to continue recruiting as well as training and nurturing homegrown talent. I want all of the team to benefit and feel supported and encouraged in the way that I have been over the years."
Julie concluded, "I'm 100% committed to keeping the firm independent as I believe this is one of the firm's greatest strengths. We are all personally invested in this region and therefore understand what is important to our clients. We shape our services in response to what our clients tell us. When you join MHA Larking Gowen, you join a firm where you can help shape the future and be master of your own destiny."