Best Practice Representative

Best Practice Representative | Published February 21 2018

Maurice J. Bushell & Co

Stephen M. Foster FCA and senior partner Henry A. Goldstein FCA head Maurice J. Bushell & Co (MJB), a central London- based chartered accountants established 1876. With over 140 years of experience, MJB prides itself on a traditional approach to client service facilitated through a wholehearted accommodation of cutting-edge modern technology. This combination of the new and the old enables MJB to be ever-developing. It offers accounting, business consultation/advice and professional support services. Its clientele ranges from start-ups to businesses of international standing.

Henry has been with MJB since the early 1970s with Stephen joining in 1986. Their combined years of experience have given them an in-depth knowledge of the business and they are confident that MJB will ride the wave of changing client relations and increasing technological inter-dependence and innovation. 

Accountancy in the face of technology

Traditionally accountants have provided compliance services assisting clients in meeting legislative requirements. Automation has commoditised these services reducing the client-accountant interaction. Invoices are uploaded electronically to the client’s digital bookkeeping system with the benefit of substantial time and resource savings. 

Technological advancements have enabled more expedient control and oversight of our clients’ books. Cost-efficiency has enabled natural progression into more advisory work. 

Added value services include the production of management accounts, forecasts and cash flow statements. This has enabled a high degree of collaboration with our clients, allowing pro-active and service-based advisory work, while maintaining our trademark quality. 

We have expanded our base of operations with an offshore office based in Sri Lanka. This has allowed optimum cost control with a new focus on work sourced from overseas. We have a multi-cultural workforce and staff with an excellent work ethic. 

Any firm has to change with the times. Clients are well aware of the revolutionary improvements to technology and we are harnessing this new functionality to best serve them and continue to optimise our services. 

The extent of cloud automation cannot be understated – a technological tsunami “washing over” our industry not seen since the advent of computers. Businesses can either be overwhelmed or modernise and ride that wave; we have chosen the latter for MJB. 

How MJB can make a difference

Barriers to entry to our profession have reduced and the old order is disrupted with larger firms encroaching on clients traditionally served by smaller firms. New firms are able to spring up off the back of state of the art delivery solutions, underpinned by modern marketing techniques, thereby precipitating rapid growth. 

The onus on us is to stay ahead of the curve, delivering above and beyond. MJB is well placed in the field and aware of the new situation – with client-facing staff trained in an advisory capacity. 

Our clients quite rightly expect more from us and now have far easier access to our services via various channels. We operate in a new technologically- invested world, where cloud-based interactions are key. 

Political challenges 

It is incumbent on us to effectively communicate the frequent changes in tax legislation and accounting rules to our clients. We are rightly relied upon to support our SMe clients who have little or no internal knowledge or resource to comply with their legislative obligations. 

The time that goes into this work is not always recoverable from clients and frequently changing legislation, that can sometimes appear to be knee-jerk or politically motivated, hardly helps. 

Many of our clients are faced with extreme uncertainty following the Brexit vote; our workload will certainly increase over the coming years. Despite this, we are looking forward to both the challenges and opportunities. 

SMe entities are an essential ingredient in the UK economy in terms of employment, generating tax revenues and their general contribution to the UK economy. 

Government must support them and it is vital that the period following Brexit is navigated with a positive vision and clear and transparent policies. 

As a member firm of the ICAeW MJB maintain high professional standards, that put us in an excellent position to meet these challenges and obligations. 

Attracting clients

Traditionally, we have grown our client base via referrals from both clients and contacts, contingent upon providing a high quality service. In particular, we find that clients based overseas are attracted by our longevity and central London location. 

More recently, we have developed our online presence both for electronic communication and marketing. Our social media presence is being developed in 2018 to include the launch of a new website, linked to a social media platform. It will provide particular emphasis of our skills in certain sectors – a form of targeted marketing – and will increase our marketplace visibility. 

We put particular emphasis on helping both current and prospective clients understand the changing face of technology as that manifests itself on their financial operating and reporting systems. To this end, coupled with 

our increasing online presence, MJB
 will start to offer regular seminars to current and potential clients based around tax changes and Brexit, together with cloud-based bookkeeping improvements. 

The future

Our future vision for the firm will be built around growth and meeting and overcoming the challenges posed by the rapidly changing environment within which we operate. 

We will achieve sustainability through sector-specific targeted marketing campaigns, strong client service and an ever-increasing online presence. 

Accountants have found it hard to transition from the old system of compliance work to modern pro- active services, a drastic change from the systematised and regimented old ways. everyone at MJB has seized the opportunity brought about through modernisation and we are heading in the right direction.

See Maurice J. Bushell & Co in the Accountancy and Financial Services edition on page 17: