Laura Adkins, director of Whitley Stimpson, talks about her role in charge of the Witney office.
I work for Whitley Stimpson, one of the country’s leading independent accountancy firms. We have offices in Banbury, Bicester, High Wycombe and Witney that provide financial advice to businesses and individuals, something we’ve been doing for over 87 years. We’re proud to be ranked within the top 100 practices in the country.
As part of its ongoing strategic growth, we merged with Witney-based Morgan Harris in 2016, creating one of the biggest independent regional accountancy firms. Our coverage spans Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, and that has now been extended into West Oxfordshire. The Witney office was rebranded so everyone now works under the brand name of ‘Whitley Stimpson’, and in June we moved into bigger, newly refurbished offices in Witney town centre.
I took over as director in charge of the Whitley Stimpson Witney office in April 2016, having previously worked at our Banbury office for 11 years. Witney is my home town, so it was very exciting to head up this office and spearhead its future growth. In the past two years our focus has been primarily on the existing clients of Morgan Harris, and making sure the service and technical expertise offered is to the very highest standards by aligning our procedures with the rest of Whitley Stimpson. The move to 13-15 High Street on a 10-year lease is another major step forward; it’s really important to me that we have a quality environment in which to work, as well as being a nice place for clients to come and visit. It helps that we’re right on the High Street, with all the local amenities close by, and there’s plenty of parking available.
My role means I’m responsible for the audit of some of the firm’s largest corporate clients, as well as providing business support to SMEs. I’m also responsible for training across all four branches of the business. After all, it’s not just about our clients, it’s about the staff too, and bringing on our new recruits to nurture the next generation of accountants with the right training programmes.
Talking of the future, I’m keen to see us grow and I want us to develop our client relationships, both existing and new ones, and excel in the level of service that we provide. I would like to be in a position where we can offer an even broader range of services to businesses in West Oxfordshire via closer integration with the expertise available across our business overall.
I was honoured recently to be listed 27th in Accountancy Age’s ‘Top 35 under 35’ awards, which was amazing and quite a surprise. I love this job, and I enjoy working with the team, developing our people; to have our work recognised on a national basis was very satisfying.
Yet at the same time, I firmly believe there should be more to work than delivering on a professional level; I do everything I can to inspire the team to be involved in a range of good causes. For example, we recently took up the Twin Town Challenge organised between Witney and Le Touquet in France. This involves purchasing an old car for £500 and then driving to the famous town in north west France, negotiating a number of challenges along the way. The money raised goes to SpecialEffect, a charity that help children with disabilities play video games for their fun and social inclusion. I think it’s a fantastic way to raise money for a good cause, and I was really proud that we managed to raise £3,000 for the charity. We try to support as much as possible within the local community, with the Pooh Sticks Challenge, the local Beer Festival and Ocktoberfest just some of the events on the horizon. All in, it’s a great place to work.