This month we had the pleasure of leaving behind our work at Modern Mint for an hour and visited David Drain, a Partner at accountancy practice Edmund Carr on New London Road, and the firms Marketing Secretary Kris Hampson.
Edmund Carr was started in 1953 by Kenneth Edmund Carr and is still going strong today – his son David Carr is a Director of ECFS, which is the financial services subsidiary company.
The Practice deals with annual accounts, tax returns, company and pension fund audits, payroll services, and personal tax planning together with new areas including academy schools and probate work.
I ask David about the new services, like the work for academies...
“We are exploring new markets and have been particularly successful with academy schools. Although it is a relatively new area, we do have a long association with many private independent schools which has helped”.
Why is the firm successful in winning new work?
“Each of our teams are led by a partner. You get to know a client. You see them two or three times a year, you get to know their children… then you still see them when their children aren’t children anymore. Clients trust us.”
“The reputation of the firm is very strong and we can also be competitive on price compared to the cost of a London firm. In fact, we often win on price and are also lauded for our better service and the resources we can put to the work.”
And ECFS, how did David Carr come to work here too...
“Many clients need advice on financial products and eight years ago David joined us to set up the financial services side of the business. His parents were really delighted! We have three qualified IFA’s now and we can send our clients along the corridor if they require help”.
How did you come to be a Partner at Edmund Carr, David?
“I started from school in 1973, when there were just two partners and seven staff… I qualified in 1979 and went to work at the Chelmsford office of a London based firm for three years. I then came back as a Partner in 1982, at the age of 26.”
Twenty-six? I cannot believe how young David was when he became a partner.
“It was a bit young, I was daunted, but I knew what I was coming into.
Four other partners at Edmund Carr also trained with the firm, went off to larger firms for more experience, then came back. The other three Partners qualified with London based firms and then joined us. They have added significantly to our skills and what we offer.”
Why is that?
“They have brought a different approach and new ideas to the firm and have made us more outward looking.”
How has the company changed in your time here?
“The growth of the Practice has accelerated in the last ten to fifteen years. Kris is the Marketing Secretary now (she has a real flair for it) having moved over from the Secretarial department. We are now geared up for growth, for bringing on trainees and giving opportunities to youngsters to become partners.
This year we have taken on two graduates and one school leaver – so we now have forty nine people and the building is full. In order to expand further we either need to build on the existing extension or move the financial services division to somewhere nearby to free up a bit of space.”
As marketing secretary, how do you find new work Kris?
“I am very fortunate in that our current clients are happy to recommend us, so my job is really to try to find ways of letting others know that we exist, what we do and that you don’t necessarily need to use a large organisation to get a great service. The internet and website is really important so I do my best to keep up to date with that. It really is about getting our name recognised in the business community. We also sponsor the Great Baddow Charity Races and help out at schools with careers events”
Edmund Carr celebrated sixty years of the firm last year. They are thoroughly rooted in Chelmsford, in the local community, so if you need an accountant please do go and see them – they are just in New London Road, number 146.
Date for your diary: Sunday 17th May 2015 Edmund Carr Great Baddow Charity Races.