Celebrating 125 years of service: The Garbutt + Elliott team in the spotlight

As part of our 125th birthday celebrations, we spoke to various members in the team across Garbutt + Elliott to hear what they had to say about the journey they have had since joining.

Alan Sidebottom:

Over 20 of Alan’s 30+ years with Garbutt + Elliott have been as audit partner.  During that time, he has worked with a broad range of businesses and charities.  Alan recognises the economic importance of audit and also takes a great deal of satisfaction from seeing individuals succeed. He enjoys seeing clients pushing the boundaries with new product developments or new ways of working and he enjoys supporting them through their successes and equally their challenges.

 

What year did you start at Garbutt + Elliott  
I started a placement year 4 July 1988 working through to summer 1989.  I then returned on completion of my degree, starting again 6 August 1990.

What was your job title and how have your roles and responsibilities changed?
I started as a placement student and returned as a trainee Chartered Accountant.

How has Garbutt + Elliott changed? 
In many ways we’ve changed beyond all recognition.. I recall us getting our first computer.. but at our heart is our people and while faces change they are what makes G+E.

What would you say about the culture and values?
Our culture and values are what has kept me at G+E.  Putting them at the centre of our focus over recent years is what has propelled us forward.  They are critical to business success.

What would you say makes Garbutt + Elliott different to other accountancy firms?
It’s so hard to keep this succinct as our difference is a combination of so many factors.  A key one for me is that we genuinely care.  Rather than being words on a piece of paper, clients and our people experience it day-to-day through our behaviours.. we are always willing to go that extra mile to help.

What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you knew then?
I had it drilled into me quite early in my career that when dealing with clients I should always stand in their shoes to consider how I come across.  This has stayed with me and is a vital ingredient to happy clients. The one thing I wish I had realised sooner is that we’re in the business of communication so it’s not just about how we communicate it’s also about communicating regularly and keeping clients informed all along the way. That way, they’ll generally think we’ve done a great job.  The other thing I would introduce my younger self to sooner is a quote by Arnold Palmer.. “It’s a funny thing, the harder I practice the luckier I get”

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Jeremy Oliver:

Jeremy is currently a partner at Garbutt + Elliott and was the first ACCA student to qualify with Garbutt + Elliott. On becoming a partner in 2001 Jeremy has spent the last 20 years as a general practitioner helping and supporting SME’s on all aspects of business, accountancy, financial and taxation advice. Jeremy has a focus on property and a construction, hospitality and leisure, and agriculture and food working with business owners and management teams to achieve their business plans and objectives and personal financial and lifestyle goals.

What year did you start at Garbutt + Elliott?
I joined G+E on 1 September 1989 a week before my 21st birthday!

What was your job title and how have your roles and responsibilities changed?
I joined as an accounts trainee having spent a couple of years in a small firm in Harrogate. Essentially I was on the bottom rung of the ladder and progressed up the ladder as I passed my exams and qualified in 1993 becoming the first ACCA student to qualify at G+E all the earlier students before me had been ICAEW.In 2001 I became a partner so its great to show its possible to spend pretty much your whole career with one firm. I am the Paul Scholes of G+E !

How have things changed? 
G+E has changed many times in the last 30 years but the last 5 years have seen the biggest changes with the new offices in Leeds and York the headcount over 200 and the firm doubling in size in that period. The big change has come with all the company values initiatives and related behaviours. Its great to see

What would you say about the culture and values at Garbutt + Elliott?
This has allowed the firm to grow at an astonishing rate as we have been able to attract and retain exceptional people. The best team I have seen at G+E in 30 years!

What would you say makes Garbutt + Elliott different to other accountancy firms?
The people and personalities of course that make up the team and the great can do attitude. Playing to people strengths and having non accountants in key internal roles. We may all be accountants but we are very different in personalities.

Tell us about your journey 
I started in 1989 and became partner in 2001. The last 20 years as a partner have been the greatest and its nice now to offer help and support to the younger/ newer members of the team who have all their future aspirations at G+E still to come,

What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you knew then?
G+E has always been a great place to be . If it wasn’t I wouldn’t still be here. The grass can look greener elsewhere sometimes but it often never is, grass is grass and its all green. Its important to get a good balance between work and home but you spend a lot of your life at work so it is your life. If it doesn’t make you happy you re the only one that can change that.

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Matt Grant:

Matthew is a Partner at Garbutt + Elliott and specialises in providing accounts and audit compliance services and general advisory services to his clients. He builds long term, trusted relationships with his clients, which is reflected in an average relationship length of over 10 years. Matthew’s clients are primarily growing, owner-managed and family businesses that operate in a wide range of sectors, with a particular concentration in manufacturing, food & beverage and wholesale and distribution. Matthew is a straight-talking general practitioner who is passionate about beers of the world, especially those from the UK and Belgium, and his favourite G+E value is ‘keep it simple’.

 

 

What year did you start at Garbutt + Elliott?
1997 – just after a week in Magaluf. My hair was still bleached from lemon spray. Don’t ask me why I did that, as I have no answer.

What was your job title and how have your roles and responsibilities changed?
 I started as an AAT Trainee. How have my roles and responsibilities changed? Where to start!? For starters, Jackie Senior and I no longer get banished to the attic to spend days on end archiving paper files and removing old files for shredding! “What are paper files?”, I hear some of you ask!  

How has Garbutt + Elliott changed?
When I started, the Accounts team shared a computer and we had to take it in turns to post our working papers into the new accounts production software. Pretty much everything else was pen and paper and A4 and A3 analysis paper was the norm, as well as adding machines (think calculators that printed the calculations on a till roll). We have a few more bits of IT kit these days!

What would you say about the culture and values?  
Our culture and values steer our people and our people are G+E. As such, they are the most important factors in what makes the firm what it is.

What would you say makes Garbutt + Elliott different to other accountancy firms?
The people. In 24 years, I can honestly say that almost all the people that I have worked with have been great. I have a few ex-colleagues who have become really good friends and who I still see regularly, even though they left the firm well over 15 years ago. No one takes themselves too seriously and I think the firm has a really relaxed working atmosphere.

Tell us about your journey
I would like to think that I can inspire other school leavers joining the firm and show them that with hard work and with living and breathing what G+E stands for, opportunities will come.  

What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you knew then?
When asked by two Partners in my interview why I wanted to be an accountant, I replied “I’m not sure” or words to that effect. I know now that that was not a good answer. That said, I still don’t know the answer!

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Sarah Ashton:

What year did you start at Garbutt + Elliott?
I started G+E on 31 March 1998. I’m a Yorkshire Lass born and bred but had defected to Manchester for 10 years. I moved back to the right side of the Pennines on the Saturday and started at G+E on the Monday.

What would you say about the culture and values?
The culture and values are what make G+E. It’s the glue that binds us all together. It helps us attract the right like minded people and like all great businesses collectively we are stronger than the sum of our parts.

Tell us about your journey
 I started at G+E as a qualified accountant. I progressed over the years managing the firm largest corporate clients. I became G+E’s first non-partner RI in 2008, was appointed a director in 2013 and became a partner in 2017. My career at G+E was fully focused on audit until 2015 when I stepped in to look after the G+E payroll team. I have had a dual role ever since, but in July this year I handed over my last audit – Heck! Foods to Claire Needham. My focus is now 100% on payroll and further developing this service within the business.

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Kevin Hilton:

Kevin has been advising clients and looking after their financial planning for almost 25 years, he has been in his current role as an Independent Financial Planner with GE Wealth Management since June 2007. Kevin believes in building and maintain long-term relationships with his clients, ensuring he explains their financial planning options in a way they understand, value and trust.

What year did you start at G+E Wealth Management?
2007

What was your job title and how have your roles and responsibilities changed?
I joined as a financial adviser, my job title now is financial planner. A subtle change, however the current job title better reflects the planning that I do for clients. My responsibilities have not really changed, although my knowledge and skill sets have increased hugely with working alongside my colleagues in the LLP over the last 14 years giving me far greater experience of advising both corporate and private clients.

How has G+E Wealth Management changed? 
GEWM has changed significantly and for the better, not only in growth in turnover and staff numbers but also in our actual advice proposition and procedures. New advisers, paraplanners and support staff bring a huge amount of experience and fantastic ideas. I remembering thinking  a couple of years ago that we then had the best team that we had ever had, I thought the same last year after new people had joined then and think the same now following further recruitment. Quality people joining a quality firm.

What would you say about the culture and values?
Fantastic – these are genuine and very strong, as you see them in new people joining with a focus on quality, client care and making the client feel as though he/she is the most important client. The team spirit and caring for colleagues is also very clear to see, we have seen this ‘from the top’ in how G+E have focused on staff welfare during the pandemic.

What would you say makes G+E different to other accountancy firms?
Difficult to comment, as I have no experience of other accountancy firms. However, from the stories I hear from new advisers joining from other IFA firms, it would seem that a lot of firms just don’t get the importance of client care, making the client feel special and not taking them (and the on-going revenue that they provide for granted).

Tell us about your journey
I joined a very small team working from a separate space from the LLP over at Arabesque House and feeling like a separate company, experienced a lot of uncertainty and staff turnover at one stage, dug deep and see the fantastic team we have now, fully integrated with the LLP.

 

Take a look at how else we’ve been celebrating 125 years at Garbutt + Elliott and see what our clients had to say in our latest blog here.