Covid-19 has led to more businesses choosing local for professional services, says top Hale accountant

Murray Patt
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The founder of one of Hale’s leading accountancy firms believes that a lasting effect of the pandemic will be that more people will look locally for their professional advisers. 

Murray Patt, founder of Alexander Knight & Co, said his firm had seen a significant increase in the number of business owners switching from accountancy firms in Manchester city centre.

He said Hale and Altrincham were particularly well-placed to benefit from the shift as it was a “major hotspot” for entrepreneurs and other professional advisers who live here. 

“The fact that Altrincham and Hale are great places to live means it’s an attractive draw for people who run businesses or hold senior positions in their company,” said Murray.

Inside Alexander Knight & Co in Hale

“In 2020, people stayed as close to home as possible and they’ve sought out local services like ours and my prediction is that they’ll continue to do so this year.”

Murray launched Alexander Knight & Co in 2012 following a long career in accountancy as a partner in private practice. 

Since then, he’s grown the team and now has a range of tax, compliance and audit specialists working out of its offices on Hale Road. The firm is now expanding and currently recruiting for a number of roles including an Audit Senior to join the team.

Murray Patt said his firm had seen a significant increase in the number of business owners switching from accountancy firms in Manchester city centre

Murray says he thinks the trend accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic is only the start.

“We are going to see a huge shift in the way that people interact with professional advisers over the next couple of years,” he added. 

“Entrepreneurs, in my experience, are people-focused and they like to physically meet the people they do business with. When it comes to selecting their advisers, they are certainly keen to meet them. We get a lot of referrals from lawyers, banks and financial advisers from all over the region whose clients live locally. 

Artwork inside Alexander Knight & Co’s offices in Hale

“During the pandemic we’ve been able to seamlessly transition to remote working and hybrid working (office-based and home-based teams) so we get the right balance for our staff and clients.” 

Murray said he was “very positive” about the prospects for business in 2021.

“Business owners are resilient and there will continue to be strong demand for goods and services as we emerge into a post-Covid landscape. 2021 will be a challenge for many business owners but those with an entrepreneurial mindset will rise to this challenge.” 

If you are a business owner or finance directors seeking a new accountant to manage your tax, audit and regulatory requirements email or call 0161 980 8788. 

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