Azets crowned best accountancy firm in FD excellence survey 2020
Azets, formerly known as Baldwins, has been named the UK’s Best Accountancy Firm in this year’s Financial Directors Excellence survey.
The survey, which is now in its 20th year, asked the UK’s leading finance directors and financial decision makers to rate their satisfaction with key service providers. As such it provides a definitive analysis of how well UK businesses are being served.
Dawn Marriott, CEO of Azets, said: “We are naturally really thrilled to win this award. To have been chosen as Accountancy Firm of the year based on feedback from the FD community we serve including many of our clients is really special and a fantastic accolade to our Partners and teams across the regions we serve.”
Baldwins was brought under the Azets brand earlier this year, along with other legacy brands Campbell Dallas, Scott Moncrieff and Wilkins Kennedy, to create a single unified brand offering advisory services to the owner managed entrepreneurial business community.
A key element of what makes Azets different, Marriott said, was its unwavering commitment to helping entrepreneurial businesses thrive and grow: “Accountancy is a people based business driven by trusted client relationships and that definitely sits at the heart of what makes Azets and our award winning sister brand Blick Rothenberg stand out.”
“We are also absolutely focused on serving the entrepreneurial owner managed business community. This group of SME businesses continue to be the lifeblood of our economy and through our sector expertise and national coverage we can help them as they need to scale to become the next big medium sized or large international corporate.”
Underpinning this client relationship is Azets’ extensive network of local offices, she said. “Whether they’re located in Bristol, or Oslo, Edinburgh or Copenhagen, we recognise that to serve our clients, you have to live and breathe the local community they are based in. We are committed to retaining our local office network to offer a local and personal service.”
She said that clients liked working with Azets because the firm placed great importance on being collaborate and proactive: “We care about our clients and want them to achieve their ambitions, which means thinking ahead, saving them time and giving them the right advice as they grow and expand or wish to retire or sell.”
That commitment to helping its clients was clearly in evidence right through the pandemic, to the extent that the firm delayed its re-branding for several months to focus on helping its clients. Azets also ran a national campaign called Survive Revive Thrive which delivered hundreds of webinars to clients and created a ‘call a client’ initiative to make sure they kept checking in with their clients to offer advice. During this time the firm also invested further in their digital technology to make it easier for their clients to do business.
Marriott said: “Moving our 6,500 people in the UK and Europe to home working and supporting their wellbeing, whilst simultaneously having a razor sharp focus on helping our clients survive everything that Covid has thrown at them has been immense. We are proud of how all our Partners and teams have committed days and hours to helping our clients understand and make the most of the government’s various loans and initiatives to support them.”
Marriott said their clients would benefit from both their investment in technology and their commitment to their local office network over the coming years: “Our vision is to make our services smarter, more effective and more personal every day and that means two things – making sure that we can continue to serve our clients digitally and at their door in their local community.”
“Technology will continue to play a central role in how we truly maximise our ability to serve all 120,000 clients. For example automating certain statutory compliance tasks and document sharing means our clients can drive even more value by using us as true and trusted business advisors. We have also developed our own secure, cloud-based portal called CoZone where our clients submit and access all of their financial information and business performance data and interact digitally with their partner and team. This really does help us work effectively and digitally.”
Azets also plans to continue to invest in industry-specific experts who are able to provide a deeper level of advisory support to its clients, Marriott said: “This is really important because, as a client, if you deal with a general accountant you might be missing out on industry-specific knowledge. Vertical specialists have deep knowledge of industry specific legislation and insights that will benefit our clients.”
We would like to thank all participants for their time and contribution to the FD Excellence Survey. Please do join us at our next Finance Leaders summit which takes place online on 10th December.