Economy is buoyant but recruiting the right staff remains a challenge

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Darren Austin, head of Eridge-based Synergee Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, said: “I think Tunbridge Wells and the south east in general is quite affluent with a buoyant economy, and it’s a vibrant area.

“Though one of our clients, a recruitment consultant, says vacancies can be difficult to fill, which is good for people unless you are a company trying to recruit staff.

“It can be difficult to find the right people, especially as there are other companies looking for them, too.”

Darren, however, has just taken on board his tenth and newest member of staff.

Richard Turnbull, a chartered accountant and tax adviser who previously worked for Alan Pink Tax in Tunbridge Wells, has joined the company as a manager and will be responsible for a portfolio of clients.

It took a good seven months for Synergee to find Richard, with five specialist accounting recruitment companies helping with the headhunting.

 “Accountants tend to stay with the firm they are with, and if a good person is available they are snapped up,” explained Darren.

“We were just really lucky, we were eventually in the right place at the right time and found the right person.

“Now we have Richard on board he will be able to help with the continuing growth of the business. ”

Synergee works for around 750 companies, from small to medium and larger sized firms.

“We make sure companies are complying legally with producing annual accounts and tax returns and we provide advice and assistance. But we also do personal accounts.”

The firm has a range of clients from traders such as hairdressers, driving instructors and window cleaners to property developers. Its largest client has an annual turnover of £70million. One of Synergee’s more unusual clients imports paper pulp from Russia and sells it all over the world.

“Most of our clients come to us through word of mouth,” explained Darren, “which is good because someone they know has recommended us and they know what to expect.”

Accountancy has changed over the years, said Darren, and instead of just seeing your clients once a year for the annual tax return, cloud software means that nowadays there is positive real-time feedback.

Businesses can update their accounts electronically once a month so that their accountants can look at live reports and give ongoing advice and assistance.

“By the end of the year we already know accurately how robust a company is,” he continued.

“We work closely with businesses throughout the year to help them make the decisions they need to make.”

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