Exeter based wealth management and accountancy firm Old Mill has acquired Ilminster financial outsourcing firm Brook Financial as part of its ambitious growth plans to become the fastest-growing practice in the South West.
The deal is the first of a number of carefully chosen acquisitions that will - alongside organic growth - support Old Mill as it targets 15% pa growth for the next five years, and aims to double the size of the business by 2026.
Brook Financial was launched by husband-and-wife team Alison and Kevin Smith in 2006, to offer a solution for ambitious business owners that need more than the traditional services of an accountant but do not have a full in-house finance team.
They provide a variety of outsourced financial services, including provision of a full back office finance team function, cashflow management, consultancy and payroll, to give businesses better financial control, improved operational efficiency and enhanced management insight.
Brook Financial and Old Mill have a long-established relationship, having worked together to service clients for many years. And there is a personal connection too - Alison used to work at Old Mill herself, while Kevin’s sister, Lorraine Bolland, is a Director at Old Mill.
The acquisition will see Alison and Kevin become Partners, and while initially, both firms will retain their separate identities, and Brook Financial will continue to operate from its office in Ilminster, the longer-term goal is for a full integration of the two firms - and all staff - with Brook Financial becoming Old Mill’s specialist financial outsourcing and digital team.
The decision to merge was a natural progression for both firms - who share the same culture and ambition - as it will enable both to significantly enhance their client services, as Kevin Whitmarsh, CEO at Old Mill explains:
“For many firms, Making Tax Digital is just a tick box exercise, but for Old Mill, digital innovation is a key part of our growth strategy plans and we are fundamentally shifting the business to become more digitally enabled. Investing in Brook Financial is a key part of this shift, so this is an incredibly significant acquisition for us.
“By combining Brook Financials’ data-rich real time services with our long-established accountancy and wealth management expertise, we will be able to create a bespoke service for our clients that gives them a better understanding of their business and wider finances, so they can see how they can make efficiencies, boost productivity, cut costs and increase profit. We think this can help us be seen as the one stop shop for entrepreneurial clients.”
Alison Smith, Director at Brook Financial said: “We have worked with Old Mill for many years. Many of our clients are also Old Mill clients - as our services hugely complement each other - so when we were looking to grow our client base, and help more firms to realise their potential, Old Mill was the perfect fit. Not only is Old Mill one of the biggest firms in the region - with a 5000-strong client base - but they share our people-centric culture which focusses on supporting our clients to be successful and nurturing and developing our people to be able to grow in line with our clients' ambitions.
“We wanted to join forces with a firm that had sufficient inhouse technical experience to fully support our clients on their growth journey and Old Mill’s team exceed our expectations in these areas. We are really excited to become part of Old Mill and together become the fastest growing practice in the region.”
While Old Mill is recruiting right across the business with the aim of doubling staff numbers to 600, this latest acquisition means they are now looking to recruit specifically to support the integration of the digital services.
Kevin adds: “This is a hugely exciting time for Old Mill, and we are actively looking for talented accountants and business analysts, from both practice and industry backgrounds, to join our team. In return, we can offer them the opportunity to work on an exciting portfolio of clients in an ambitious business that puts people first.”
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