Best Practice Representative

Best Practice Representative | Published February 20 2018

Hardwick & Morris

Founded in 2003, and based in Great Portland Street, Hardwick & Morris prides itself on the way that it is able to navigate the complicated territory between accountancy, business management and the music industry. Stephanie Hardwick discusses her business, how similar businesses can manage in an ever-competitive global environment and how to expand a business in a modern context.

I have spent 29 years working with music firms, which has consolidated my personal and professional experience. After completing a degree in music, I worked as an accountant in the music department of a large city-based accountancy firm in London, where I juggled my passion for music with the systematic rigour and accuracy of accountancy. It was during this period that I gained invaluable experience in business management under the umbrella of a professional firm. This enabled me to develop sector specific expertise and skills pertaining to accountancy and business management within the remit of the music industry. The skills that I picked up have helped Hardwick & Morris to become a successful, well esteemed and reliable leader in its field, with an internationally well-renowned reputation. 

Industry specifics

One of the guiding principles of Hardwick & Morris is a willingness to subvert the hierarchical nature of accountancy firms, that, in my experience, I have come to understand as one of the hallmarks of the industry. From starting off as a two- person team working out of a single room, we have since accumulated offices in London, New York and Los Angeles, emblematic of our expansion from a grassroots consultancy and accountancy firm to a global employer. We have three partners and 25 staff actively employed in our UK office; we cannot recruit staff quickly enough. 

In order to fulfil the demands of the modern industry, we see our business expanding even further. We are looking to employ a greater number of staff, particularly to deal with US based work, which bears great importance to the success of our firm. In my opinion, the best way to grow as a business within the remit of the music industry is to forge close partnerships with the US, as their music industry is arguably the most dominating and influential market worldwide. 


When we started, our client base was relatively small. We started with a select number of clients and gradually garnered more, as our foothold in the market became steadier. In our first year, our firm’s turnover was £100,000. Fourteen years later, our revenue is in the millions. We work confidentially with some of the largest names and brands in the music industry, a testament to our professionalism, industry knowledge and experience. 

We are a client-centered firm, which is arguably one of the most important reasons behind the success of our business. We listen to our clients and provide them with what they want, at the same time as fulfilling their statutory and legal needs.

Clients are seldom aware of the compliance aspects necessary to maintain their affairs properly. We
use all resources available to us at any given time to cater to the specific requirements of our clients. Our original ethos has remained the same, although the firm has seen substantial growth over the last decade, highlighting how our business strategy and initial concept has stood the test of time, and is a reliable model to follow. 

Another way in which we have managed to take our business further is through investing in our staff. Within our limitations, we endeavour to provide staff with adequate training, the right equipment for the job and the best working environment. In my eyes, proper investment in your team is a crucial aspect of running a successful business and essential to group cohesion. Proper investment in our staff enables us to work towards the maximum levels of efficiency, cost- effectiveness and productivity. 

Unprecedented pace

One of the major challenges that we face working within a music-industry focussed accountancy practice, is the pace of life, owing to the sheer volume of overseas deadlines that dictate our work. Particularly for us, the combination of UK and US deadlines makes our workload constant throughout the year, meaning that the amount of downtime that we have is limited. 

All deadlines incur financial penalties if not met, meaning that failure to keep on top of the work is not an option for our business. Overall, the deadlines and our commitment to meeting them is stringent. The organisation and running of our business is rigorous, so that we manage to maintain a level of success in keeping with what we have previously achieved. Working efficiently and reliably is paramount for us, insofar as protecting the image and integrity of our business is concerned. 

The music industry within the UK has seen an unprecedented period of growth in recent years. At the end of 2016, the music industry was valued at £4.4 billion, and is continuing to grow at a steady rate. The largest area of growth within the music sector was live music, which grew 

by 14 per cent. Alongside this trend, the American market has gone from strength to strength in previous years as the traditional industry model has shifted, largely due to the increase in streaming services and downloads. More emphasis is currently placed on live shows and merchandise rather than record sales. 

Our job is to deal with and identify such trends in business on behalf of our clients. This ensures that we enhance profitability, while allowing their innovativeness to thrive and enabling them to focus on their core business: creativity.

See Hardwick & Morris in the Accountancy and Financial Services edition on page 35: