UK Member Haines Watts Capitalises on its Best Growth in a Decade with New Board Appointees

This year is an important year for GGI member firm Haines Watts, seeing the culmination of a year of strong growth and some important changes to the leadership team. The story of the business is one of growth and unprecedented opportunity and the Haines Watts board intend to make full use of that momentum to take the firm to new heights.

Changes to the Board

After fourteen years of excellent leadership, Andy Minifie is stepping down as Group Managing Partner, with his role being taken over by a new duo. Michael Davidson will take over as Group Managing Partner alongside Darren Holdway who will take on the redefined role of Group Chairman. At the same time, Rodney Style also steps down from his board position as Chairman. Donna Bulmer, a long-standing Haines Watts partner, becomes the newest member of the leadership team.

Darren and Michael have each been with the firm for over 25 years, beginning as trainees and growing up through the business. Donna has been with the firm for over 20 years, having joined as a graduate. Together with the other board members, Andrew Bodkin and Chris Timms, their deep understanding of the firm’s DNA and the businesses it works with gives them a clear vision of the opportunities that lie ahead – opportunities to build on a year of outstanding progress.

Financial Performance & Acquisition

That outstanding progress comes in the form of Haines Watts’ most impressive growth for over a decade, the business having already demonstrated strong performance this year with annual growth to 31 March 2018 of 16% on turnover.

This has been generated in equal parts through organic growth and acquisition. The firm made numerous acquisitions in 2017, with those in the Greater London region alone adding GBP 5 million to turnover, complemented by acquisitions in the East Midlands, Thames Valley, South West and South East Midlands.

At an equity level, Haines Watts has shown a 22% increase in profit per equity partner. This should provide a strong signal to current and future clients alike that Haines Watts is a driven, well-run and profitable firm.


Haines Watts is conscious that the workplace is changing and in order to stay relevant, the business needs to be nimble and align with the skillsets needed in the future. Some competencies are timeless; however, skills such as emotional intelligence, problem solving and agility are becoming increasingly important.

The landscape of talent is also evolving and the new leadership team understands the importance of establishing common purpose across the group through the embedding of the business’s core values and behaviours.


Keeping these things in mind as they continue to spur forward, Haines Watts is looking to three key areas in the years ahead to firmly align the business under a shared vision.

Putting People First

People development is key to Haines Michael Davidson Watts’ success in the future, encompassing and embracing the future of work as working environments, attitudes and cultures evolve. Haines Watts is committed to placing definitive value on their people, through flexible working programmes, wellbeing and coaching initiatives.

This focus on development is set to enrich an already dynamic workforce, with 54% of the workforce made up of millennials and already 15% made up of Gen Z, bringing the average age of the workforce in Haines Watts to 36. Another hugely important part of this initiative is driving diversity, something Haines Watts is already very focused on, with women now making up 40% of their Leadership Development Programme and 50% of the Managers Skills Programme, with candidates coming from diverse social backgrounds.

That focus on people extends to clients, too. Haines Watts is a business that works with individuals; people who own and run businesses – not with businesses in abstract of the pressures, stresses and joys that come with them.

Beyond their own workforce, the firm will also be working with others in the sector to lobby on common issues faced in the accounting profession in an effort to improve the reputation and future of the profession.

Client Development

Haines Watts is committed to continuing to invest in the aspirational business owner space, now and in the future. This will include focusing on the needs of their current and future clients through an increased understanding of their individual businesses.

A clear value proposition, gathering client insight and creating a stronger client-centric culture throughout the firm will lay the foundation for continued focus on providing exceptional client service.

Market Development

Looking externally, market development is pivotal to the growth plan, with the aim of building an external profile and attracting and nurturing new business and client relationships. Central to this is the launch of new services, including the potential for a new wellbeing offering. In doing so, Haines Watts will complement the current advisory suite that is already the widest of its peers. This will aim to address the personal challenges of running a business that are so often overlooked.

The new leadership team at Haines Watts has renewed energy and passion to take the firm forward and build on the growth of the firm over the past decade. All the board members have significant experience in growing their businesses and have strong Haines Watts DNA.

Michael Davidson has overseen the growth of the Greater London Region from GBP 3 million to 30 million in just over ten years with offces in Holborn, Esher, Finchley, Hornchurch and Bromley. He comments: ‘I have been privileged to spend so much of my career at Haines Watts, and it’s not just me. The long tenure of so many board members, along with their average age of just 45, shows how much the company values its people and thrives on their rapid development. There’s a lot of energy in the team at the moment, a lot of ambition and huge potential. Under my predecessor, the business achieved growth and stability; we want to springboard off that success, show off our diverse range of expert advisers and aim even higher’.

Darren Holdway has served on the Board for 10 years and has been instrumental in doubling the turnover of the Haines Watts’ Birmingham offce in just over 5 years. He also has increasing regional involvement in the successful growth of the Hereford and Worcester offces.

Darren adds: ‘I love being a part of this passionate, lively team with a persistent drive for excellence, innovation and lifelong learning. The talents and attitudes of the people employed here represent the future of Haines Watts and our strategy is to keep investing in them, safe in the knowledge that the business will reap the rewards’.

Donna Bulmer, the newest board member at Haines Watts, comments: ‘I’m proud to bring a different regional and personal perspective to the board to help Haines Watts continue the impressive momentum the firm is currently seeing nationwide. As part of my role on the board I’m keen to see the firm develop more talent from diverse social backgrounds, bringing in the sharpest and most promising minds wherever they may be found’.

Since becoming managing partner in the Northeast region four years ago, turnover and people have more than doubled, with further plans for growth. Donna brings a strong understanding of governance to the role gained from her other board positions.

With renewed focus and energy across the firm, the future looks bright for Haines Watts as it continues to focus on being the ‘go-to’ firm for aspirational business owners.


Michael Davidson

Haines Watts
Advisory, Auditing & Accounting,
Corporate Finance, Fiduciary
& Estate Planning, Tax
More than 60 offces across the UK
T: +1 20 7025 4650
Michael Davidson
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