In this section of the website, we introduce you to one of our firms. Up next is O’Brien & Partners run by Managing Director Lewis Van Emden and his team. Read his answers to our questions to get to know him and the firm.
What do you like about working for your firm?
“The opportunity to work with forward-thinking entrepreneurs on a daily basis. We have a fantastic and incredibly diverse client base. I enjoy providing innovative solutions to maximise their wealth and help them in achieving their goals. Most clients are very receptive to our proactive solutions which is hugely rewarding.”
What are in your words the strengths of your firm?
“The in-depth knowledge that the directors have about our clients’ businesses. We are small enough to provide a personal service to our clients, unlike big 4 firms where clients can be left feeling like they are just a number. This close personal service allows us to build a trusted relationship with our clients to understand their business and goals. The knowledge of the clients that is shared between our small team of advisors allows us to use our combined experience to suggest tried and tested solutions to our client base.”
“We are small enough to provide a personal service to our clients, unlike big 4 firms where clients can be left feeling like they are just a number.”Lewis van Emden, Managing Director of O’Brien & Partners.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at your firm?
“We run our practice as a business which you would naturally expect from a firm of business advisors. We understand that cash is king, that a sale is not a sale until the debt is paid, and the importance of ensuring that sales invoices and WIP are not locked up for too long a period. Because these things are well managed and under control, this ensures that time is not wasted by key personnel in dealing with these matters enabling more time for work-life balance and a more enjoyable work experience.”
What is the best or most rewarding experience you have had at your firm so far?
“In a 12 year period as managing partner, overseeing the growth of the practice from a £900k turnover business to a £2.6m turnover practice. This has been achieved mainly by organic growth and client referrals. Naturally, I have had to strengthen the team to service the client base and assist with the growth and am delighted that despite the growth we are still able to stick to our core beliefs of personal service delivered by a competent and experienced team.”
What is your favourite statement that you regularly use when advising your clients?
“Within the accountancy profession there are what I would class as bean counters and proactive business advisors, and I’d like to class ourselves in the second category.”Lewis van Emden, Managing Director of O’Brien & Partners.
What result you achieved for a client, are you most proud of?
“I was called in to review a client that was under severe financial pressure from its bankers and major suppliers. Having reviewed the situation, we advised an insolvency procedure that was able to rescue part of the business. Having held the directors hand through the whole process, assisting with the restructuring of the new business, and implementing new systems, the client has continued with us ever since. Undoubtedly, my assistance saved the client from bankruptcy and losing his home and seeing him now become successful and growing the business exponentially has been hugely rewarding for me personally.”
How do you see the future of your firm from your perspective?
“To continue to be regarded by our clients as a provider of excellent and proactive advice. A measure of this will be continuing good quality client referrals.”