After 9 years in the profession, working for both local and international firms, Richard Allen came to the conclusion that there was a better way of providing quality services to clients. He also realised that providing an excellent service should be more fun.
As a result, the business of Richard Allen Chartered Accountant was born.
The new business started from Richard’s spare bedroom in May 1992, but had no clients. Initial marketing consisted of adverts in shop windows and mailshots to local businesses and soon business started to roll in. Word of mouth referrals then started to kick in and by the end of 1992 the business had just under 50 clients. Several of those businesses are still clients of the firm today.
The business continued to grow and by early 1994 it was time to take on some help. With a baby girl due to arrive in April it was time to move out of the nursery and into a proper office. So, in a matter of weeks, two major decisions had been taken. The first Team member had been recruited and the business had moved to a small office in Market Street, Woodstock.
At this point, the business needed re-branding and Jamesons was born. A name with a modern feel but also with a sense of establishment.
After twelve months renting the office in Market Street, and with the business continuing to grow, the next move was made to freehold offices in High Street, Woodstock.
The business continued to do well but by 1997 had reached a bit of a plateau. Having given much thought to the future, Richard decided to approach Marc Neilon to see if he would join him as a partner in the business and help keep it moving forward.
Richard and Marc had first met in 1981, in the first year of their accountancy studies at what is now Oxford Brookes University but was simply Oxford Polytechnic in those days. Their paths continued to cross until they both found themselves managers in the same local Oxford firm of accountants.
Whilst Richard then left to set up Jamesons, Marc stayed on and soon become a partner in the firm. By November 1997, the timing was right for both of them and Marc joined Richard in partnership at Jamesons.
With two owners to contribute to the development of the business, it took off again and within a couple of years, was again on the move. This time the business rented much larger offices in Hensington Road, Woodstock. Both the Team and the clients continued to grow and everyone became very busy.
After a while, the partners sat down to consider their own futures and also the future direction of the firm. This resulted in their attending an accountants Boot Camp in June 2000 and their subsequent membership of the RAN ONE organisation – the largest association of independent firms of accountants in the world.
Boot Camp really helped the partners focus on what was important to them and to their clients. They held a Client Advisory Board to find out exactly what their key clients wanted and how they felt about the firm. The results were very encouraging and it helped them make a very difficult decision.
In order to focus on what the clients really wanted, and to make sure that the partners and Team enjoyed their work to the full, the very difficult decision was taken to let some of the existing clients go.
They found another accountant who they felt would be able to look after the needs of this particular group of clients and in December 2000, their affairs were handed over. At the time, the clients handed over amounted to 40% of the firm’s client base.
What this did was to free up the firm’s resources and allow it to concentrate its expertise on its core client base – the owner managed business. The firm now specialises almost exclusively in supporting this type of business and the families of those who own them. After all, the firm is an owner managed business itself.
Like many of its clients, in May 2001 the firm incorporated its business and began trading as a limited company. The partners had become directors and the business moved on.
Two and a half years later, the firm made its most recent, and probably final move. With rising rent costs and falling mortgage rates, the firm took the commercial decision to buy its own purpose built freehold offices.
The move to Witney happened at the end of November 2003. The firm settled well into its new surroundings and the offices provided a much improved working environment for both the Team and for visiting clients.
The firm quickly established itself as a highly respected firm within the Witney area and developed and strengthened its relationships with other local advisers such as bankers, solicitors and financial advisers.
Over the next 10 years the business continued to grow and doubled in size. By growing organically, the firm had been able to control the rate of growth and ensure that it had a positive impact on client relationships and services provided.
The firm’s strategy for many years was to regularly take on local A level school leavers to train as accountants. Over time this was an incredibly successful and rewarding process and 4 of our current client managers have qualified as Chartered accountants through this route.
Having built strong links with the local schools, the firm regularly offers their pupils work experience placings. As a result of their work experience, some have gone on to join the firm as trainees.
As the business grew it became important to strengthen the firm’s management structure and also to recognise the contribution of senior Team members. This resulted in Anita Lyon being appointed to the Board of Directors in February 2005 followed by Gareth Jones and Michael Bellenger in April 2011. Whilst Anita joined the firm as a qualified accountant, both Gareth and Mike joined straight from school. Michael has since left us to pursue a successful career in the city.
The achievement of Gareth and Michael to rise to such a senior level in the firm is testament not only to their skills and efforts over the years, but also to the recruitment and training strategy of the firm. These successful young directors also act as role models for all junior Team members.
In September 2008 the firm was awarded its status as an Investor In People which has since been renewed. This recognises the firm’s positive approach to the continuous investment in the training and development of the Team which benefits not only the individual and the firm, but also the client. In fact, the chairman of the Recognition Panel said that Jamesons were one of the most impressive small organisations he had come across and recommended the firm be used as a reference standard for others.
In 2017 we celebrated 25 years in practice with a summer party - inviting both old and new clients and employees.
At the end of December 2017 Richard, as planned, retired from the day to day running of the practice and in line with our recruitment policy we have appointed Matthew Blow as a new director. Matthew joined us as a trainee when he was 18 and after 11 years is now both a fully qualified accountant and director.
Our client numbers are continuing to grow along with our team members.
We continue to act predominately for owner managed businesses in Oxfordshire but have a small client portfolio based in London that is growing from client referrals.
So, that’s our potted history to date, why not be part of the future?
The firm needs quality new clients to help it grow and to enable it to continue to improve its levels of service.
We would be delighted if we could help you and your business, please call and find out what we can do for you.