The New Year is traditionally a time for evaluating the past and looking towards the future. It is just over a year since the partners of N C Campbell & Co Chartered Accountants and Greaves West & Ayre announced the merger of their practices. We asked Ewan Millar who has been a partner in the Haddington office since 1986 to give us his thoughts on the merger one year on.
It is difficult to believe that over a year has passed since the two firms merged. The time has just flown by but yet so much has happened. Merger aside, we and our clients have been faced with continuous increase in regulation, increased demands placed upon us by H M Revenue & Customs, the digital age, the uncertainty over Brexit and the constant changes and challenges thrown up as a result – and which seem never ending. There is no question in my mind that the merger has put us here in Haddington, in a much better position to meet these challenges head on. The much publicised spectre of Making Tax Digital (MTD) and quarterly accounting has been postponed but it has not gone away. As part of GWA it has been a great comfort to me that we now have the back up and expertise to assist our clients with the necessary software and IT support in readiness for the MTD revolution.
A merger is like a marriage and like all marriages there is a period of adjustment for both sides. It naturally comes as part of the process of integration, the need to implement new systems and procedures, to get used to new and different software. These are not insignificant challenges but over this past year great progress has been made in that regard. I am immensely proud of how our staff, “the girls”, here in Haddington have embraced the changes and met the challenges head on and that they have done so with determination and the will to make things work. Their loyalty to the firm and our clients is unstinting. Getting used to the new software does take time and I know that this has in rare cases lead to some delays in the normal service we supply. To those few clients who have been affected, I can only apologise. The past year has been a steep learning curve for everyone but I would like to assure our clients that we are now well down the road to having everything merged.
I have been asked more than once by clients – “What does the merger mean for the future of the Haddington office?” This article gives me the opportunity to say unequivocally that the commitment of the new enlarged firm to maintaining Haddington as a permanent, fully functioning, fully Partnered and fully staffed office is total. Also it is, as many clients have found, already benefiting from the additional services a larger firm can provide such as advice on pensions and investments, wealth management as well as IT services already referred to above. And just as importantly the merger has given the security needed by Haddington clients and staff for the longer term.
I very much look forward to 2018. A year is a long time (although ironically the years seem to be getting shorter!) and we and our clients will inevitably continue to face many challenges in the year to come. But there is no doubt in my mind that we, as part of Greaves West & Ayre are in the best place to see these through.
Ewan C Millar