Andrew Rich is the firm’s Managing Partner, working with the Leadership Team and Partners to help provide clients with the expert, personable advice that HW Fisher is known for. Andrew’s role also includes shaping the culture of the firm, a responsibility he takes very seriously as he seeks to create a workplace where all employees, whatever level they may be at, have a voice that is listened to.
Andrew shares his insights and highlights from his career so far, in 2022 and what clients should be thinking about to get ready for the year ahead.
What does your work involve, and what is your favourite thing about your role?
As Managing Partner, I am ultimately responsible for the leadership and day to day operations of the practice and ensuring the success of its strategic direction. In my role, it’s vitally important to demonstrate good judgement and listen carefully to the partners and our people. In fact, that’s the thing I enjoy the most about my job; to use one’s own experience in life to drive the team to provide support, sponsor, and advocate for each and every person in the organisation. It’s about being fair and giving a voice for our people at all levels of the organisation, whose opinions aren’t always heard so we can improve.
What is your vision for the firm in the next 5 years?
May 2018 was a watershed moment for the firm when seven of the partners executed an MBO to buy the business. A number of the partners retired at this time, and I along with my management team set about re-defining and modernising the organisation, including changing our brand and values. We have a clear vision for the future; our growth plans for the practice are ambitious, centred upon the strong heritage and core values of delivering a high degree of expertise and a personalised, partner-led service to all clients.
What is the biggest challenge in your role?
The Covid pandemic was a big challenge for the firm but I was immensely proud of the efforts produced by our people and unity of spirit shown. I have a positive mindset and believe any problem can be tackled if we set the right example.
Planning for the year ahead
What is the biggest challenge for businesses in the year ahead?
Just a few! Global supply issues, inflationary pressures, high energy prices, labour and trade shortages, all of which are likely to extend deep into 2022. Companies will need to invest in more storage facilities in the medium term as the just-in-time model of delivery looks to be coming to an end. Also, the success of the Covid vaccination programme needs to be experienced globally so that supply issues can be properly fixed. Finally, inflation will likely be transitory but is thought to exceed 4% next year so companies will need to increase their prices whilst predicting elasticity and reaction of consumers.
What is your view on ESG? Do accountants have a role in helping business “account” for climate change?
This is the “hot” topic. People are paying much more attention to these areas, so it is now incumbent on companies to consider their relationship with community stakeholders. Generally, there appears to be a larger focus by companies on packaging and sourcing, people and their communities, so they are now analytically looking at how consumers react to ESG and calculating the cost of acquiring these customers. Accountants can insist on ensuring directors face up to their responsibilities by reviewing accounting disclosures, such as how their people are being treated given, they are the company’s greatest asset, as well as the environmental issues which are of interest to sustainability minded investors. Of course, many of these are not always easy to quantify.
How has the accountancy profession evolved in the last 5 years?
The industry has become more regulated and is veering more towards specialisms. I see a great opportunity for HW Fisher to become more multidisciplinary, something we are already experiencing the benefits of.
Getting to know you
Outside of work, how do you like to spend your time?
I am not the best at relaxing! My wife and two children aged 22 and 20 often tell me to apply for the Great British Bake Off or Masterchef as I like to cook to perfection, but I think a much more suitable TV programme would be for the family to go on Gogglebox because we never agree on anything! I especially enjoy travelling, which has sadly been put on ice for the last 18 months; before the outbreak I would often indulge in my favourite pastime of driving up and down mountains – the more hairpin bends the better. I am also a Spurs season ticket holder, which at the current time is not so wonderful for the blood pressure! And if you are talking about music, look no further than the genius which is Stevie Wonder, a truly influential and inspirational artist.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t forget where you came from and stay grounded! I like to think I don’t suffer from delusions of grandeur and haven’t forgotten my roots. As mentioned, I strongly believe in giving people an even chance in life, and because of my particular journey I am passionate about social mobility and diversity.
Describe your proudest achievement
Being the hat-trick hero in the under 13 county cup semi-final. My winning free kick goal was a bullet, straight out of the famous Brazilian Jairzinho copybook! Professionally speaking, I regard completing our long overdue MBO as an important milestone in my career. I am also particularly proud of the fact that within the last year alone we have recruited six new partners externally, which has bolstered our talent pool, and promoted three partners internally as a reward for their loyalty and ability. Very exciting times for the firm!
Get in touch with Andrew for any queries or if there is anything we can do to support you and your own circumstances.