HVCA is one of the largest trade associations in the UK and is the controlling entity of seven operating subsidiaries. The Group is not large in financial terms when compared with the general level of UK businesses but it operates on commercial lines wherever possible, particularly at subsidiary company level.
In 1997, it was decided to emulate the practices being adopted by bigger businesses by the creation of an Audit Committee and an internal audit function. This was operated by Finance Department staff initially and then, in 2000, a decision was taken to transfer all internal audit functions to an external firm. After a carefully structured selection process, Armstrong Watson were appointed.
We have never regretted the decision. Every element of the Group has now been subject to rigorous review at least once, and there has been a clearly recognisable improvement in our systems, internal control procedures and reporting functions. The quality of reporting by Armstrong Watson, both for management and the Audit Committee, is very high with no punches being pulled.
Internal audit has become an integral part of our operations. We are now entering the next phase of internal audit review processes with Armstrong Watson and look forward to even more improvement in our underlying systems and controls.
Ray Barraclough, HVCA
Armstrong Watson has been my adviser since I started my business over 26 years ago. As the business has grown and developed, so has the relationship. Margaret is part of our extended team – I don’t always take her advice, but I feel secure knowing that she will tell me the way it is. She is a sounding board for my ideas. Businesses take risks, accountants crunch the numbers, so I’m very happy is that I’m getting sound advice.
David Hayton, Peugeot
We have no doubt that many accounting firms could provide us with an audit service but I am certain that very few take the care and interest in the company and the people behind it. Armstrong Watson has been our auditors and tax advisers for 10 years and has provided us with support when it was most needed.
Jim O’Connor, Kirklees Youth Training
Because Armstrong Watson is onside, support is always at hand if we have a decision to make or an idea for the farm that we want to explore. They give us the genuine, honest advice we appreciate. They understand agriculture and they know how we operate.
James and Eleanor Irving, Stockdale Farm
After having taken the decision to diversify part of the farming business into a visitor attraction, Armstrong Watson spent a great deal of time in helping us with the financial planning; in areas of budgets, costings, staffing numbers, wages etc. This then formed part of our business plan which was submitted to Defra in applying for a Rural Enterprise Grant. Thankfully, we successfully received a grant, without which the Hesketh Farm Park would never have happened.
Chris and Sue Heseltine, Hesketh Farm Park
I feel safe having my money looked after by Armstrong Watson. I can make an appointment to see my financial adviser and I know he knows what I want and that he is monitoring my investments.
Being part of Armstrong Watson has given me the opportunity to join other investors and invest in one of their own major financial projects, which hopefully will improve the growth of my pension. I get updates about the project and feel looked after as one of the investors.
My financial adviser has helped me with a number of other matters like managing my Mother’s financial affairs. He has been great with his advice even when it would not result in income for him.
Nothing seems too much trouble for my financial adviser – he is always on the end of the phone and ready to help with any query whether it is relating to my SIPP of other matters such as tax or endowments.
I had been looking for a financial adviser I feel comfortable with for a long time – since my previous adviser retired. I am really pleased I have found David at Armstrong Watson. He has really put my mind at rest about my pension.
I have always been rather cynical about financial advisers – but David Squire has filled me with confidence. He isn’t always trying to change investments in an effort to make himself some money – if an investment is working his advice has been to leave it alone, all the time monitoring it and only changing it if and when he could improve the outcome.
The information I am given is always clear and easy to understand. I have never felt baffled by financial jargon.
Jo Hampson , Personal Client
Both Steve and Sharon instill a level of confidence and professionalism which is very reassuring, It is good to know they are on your side. When they told me they could reduce my tax liability by 50%, I thought they were joking- It was like winning the lottery!
David Wright BDS LDS RCS (Eng) , Owner , Denny Wright & Associates (Dental Practice)
Having worked with Armstrong Watson for many years, we have found their knowledge and services invaluable in running our business. Not all our queries are straightforward, but we always receive expert knowledge promptly and in a plain and simple English.
Paula Gibson, Director, Thistle Products