Written by: Claire Thompson, Papa Romeo PR Photography by: Vic Toplisek
Whitley Stimpson is one of the country’s leading independent accountancy firms, with offices in Banbury, Bicester, High Wycombe and Witney.
The company, which has been providing financial advice to businesses and individuals for over 87 years, is ranked within the top 100 practices in the country, is the 2018 overall winner of the Cherwell Business Awards and are finalists in the Large Practice category in the Accounting Excellence Awards 2018. This is down to their expertise and experience in accountancy, tax and business advice together with their strength in a number of sector specialties.
As part of its ongoing strategic growth, the firm merged with Witney based Morgan Harris in 2016, creating one of the biggest independent regional accountancy firms spanning Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and extending the firms geographical reach into West Oxfordshire.
Whitley Stimpson’s director, Laura Adkins, was tasked with heading up the new Witney office, a rising star within the company who has recently been recognised nationally for her skills and approach. Since then the focus has been on developing best practice in line with the other three Whitley Stimpson offices and the Witney office was rebranded under one consistent brand name of Whitley Stimpson Ltd.
The current emphasis is on increasing the Witney office’s service offering to clients and growing the team in order to deliver that. Headed up by Laura, the Witney team moved into bigger, newly refurbished offices in the heart of Witney town centre in June 2018 in order to facilitate that growth.
Meet Laura Adkins
Claire Thompson met with Laura to discuss her role managing the Witney office and recent successes.
Laura says: “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 at the Witney office has been primarily on the existing clients of Morgan Harris, and making sure the service and technical expertise was to the very highest standards by aligning our procedures with the rest of Whitley Stimpson. We’ve made some long term commitments having just moved to far bigger premises at 13-15 High Street, taking a 10-year lease and incorporating the Witney office in to the Whitley Stimpson brand. It’s really important to me that it’s 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 plenty of parking available.”
Laura is responsible for the audit of some of the firm’s largest corporate clients as well as providing business support to SMEs. She is also in charge of training across all four branches of the business, and it’s something she feels really passionate about: “It’s not just about the 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.”
Laura has a clear vision for the future of the Witney office: “To grow from stable foundations that we’ve laid over these past two years. 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.”
It’s this sort of thinking that has propelled Laura into the limelight, with Accountancy Age listing her in their ‘Top 35 under 35’ awards. Laura came in at number 27, and found it all quite a surprise: “It’s been amazing. I love this job, and I enjoy working with the team, developing our people. To think that what we do can be competitive on a national basis – well, it was a shock, and really great to be recognised.”
It’s not all numbers and tax returns at the Witney office, however, as Laura likes to inspire the team to be involved in a range of good causes. Recently the office took up the Twin Town Challenge, organised between Witney and Le Touquet in France. This involves purchasing a car for £500 and then driving to the famous French town, 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. “It was great to be involved”, says Laura, “and a brilliantly well-organised event. 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.”
And that’s not all the team gets involved in: “We try to support as much as possible within the local community. We take part in the Pooh Sticks Challenge and also support the local Beer Festival and Ocktoberfest, too.” Clearly there’s plenty going on in the Witney outpost of the Whitley Stimpson empire.
For further information or to speak to Laura Adkins or one of Whitley Stimpson’s accountancy experts, please visit www.whitleystimpson.co.uk