Russell & Russell increases portfolio by a fifth despite COVID-19

Glasgow-based accountancy and business advisory firm Russell & Russell has overcome the interruptions and restrictions of the Covid year and increased its limited company client portfolio by a fifth, while keeping the firm’s three-to-five-year growth plan firmly on track.

Russell & Russell increases portfolio by a fifth despite COVID-19

The Russell & Russell team

The firm has maintained its staffing levels and is actively seeking more hires as it positions itself to take advantage of opportunities arising from the imminent recovery.

While it has in many cases adopted a supportive role for clients struggling with business interruption, income loss and furlough, the business growth adviser has also managed to materially increase its ongoing turnover, which it still plans to treble within its current plan period.

Russell & Russell is now poised for geographical expansion from its core activities in Central Scotland as the year of home working and video interaction has graphically demonstrated the fact that business can be conducted from anywhere. It already works with clients across the UK and offers tax advice to numerous clients in Europe.

Stuart Clark, managing director at Russell & Russell, who took the helm at the firm just before the Covid closedown in February last year, said: “Of course, it has been a challenging year for everyone, but the firm has come through it relatively unscathed.

“We made a policy decision at the start of the crisis to take a long-term view and to concentrate on supporting clients rather than on fee income. But, despite that, turnover has remained steady.

“The firm has also taken on 26 new clients over the course of the year, taking the current total of active limited companies to 168, up from 142 at the start of 2020. In recent weeks alone, we have handled five or six incorporations and the new clients we are working with are across a variety of sectors: manufacturing, engineering and professional services, construction, consultancy, medical and renewables.”

The firm has 15 staff but is planning to increase this to 18 over the next few months. It is now also eyeing potential acquisitions as an add-on to its organic growth, with a focus on firms which have not been proactive about the changes which are sweeping the profession, particularly the implications of Making Tax Digital.

Mr Clark is exploring the route of partnering with firms which have lacked support over the past year, and which may not have prepared adequate succession plans, before offering their owners a mutually beneficial exit.

He said: “There is definitely scope for us in acquisition territory if we can identify businesses which would be a good fit with our own. Growth is still very much heading the agenda at Russell & Russell and we look forward to another very positive year.”

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