Anderson Barrowcliff focusing on the positives despite “painful” lockdown

Andy Dewing, right, and James Dale, partners at Anderson Barrowcliff accountants. Picture by Tom Banks
Tees Business Digital Media Pack

With many businesses facing major changes in the post-Covid world, one Teesside firm is ready to lead the revolution in chartered accountancy and business advisory services.

For more than a century, leaders at Stockton-based Anderson Barrowcliff have prided themselves on being far more than simple bean counters to their clients.

And during the pandemic they have adapted to the most difficult circumstances to assist businesses who were forced to close in lockdown including those who may have shut their doors for good.

Partners James Dale and Andrew Dewing believe Anderson Barrowcliff’s strong leadership during the crisis was down to their flexible attitudes, which has created a firm adaptable to change, even in the most unprecedented circumstances.

The six-partner firm employs more than 40 people at its headquarters in Stockton’s Bowesfield Park and boasts a strong client base in Teesside, across the UK and Europe.

James says that the firm prides itself on its business advisory services and never have these been more in demand.

“It was pretty painful and a real challenge from day one,” he admits.

“We have been advisors, counsellors or just a shoulder to cry on – much more than just traditional accountants.

“We may not be regarded as frontline workers, but to many of our clients we are the first people they contact whenever they encounter any issue associated with their business.

“During the period of lockdown, it was clearly important that we were around for our clients. We had a core team of four in the office at all times to take everything in and be ready to answer any questions.

“We were doing work we knew we might not get paid for but we did it because our business ethos is to always put people before profits. Based on feedback we’ve had recently from many of our clients, we certainly haven’t done our reputation any harm.

“The hardest thing is that it was so new and the government advice was changing by the hour. But we settled down to adapt and to keep all the clients on an even keel.

“We have always said that we are not a firm that just does a set of accounts for your business and that’s it. We are so much more than that and we want to dispel that cliched image of dull accountants with nothing more to offer. We go that extra mile.

“The current partners see themselves as custodians of this firm and we have a responsibility to build relationships and make sure we are here for our clients. That will never change.”

They may have been established more than 100 years ago, but lockdown allowed Anderson Barrowcliff to adapt to the modern age ahead of schedule.

Sending out blogs, YouTube videos and online advice and mailshots to their clients, the entire staff and partners – working from home or in the office – the firm has embraced technology to support their staff, clients and other stakeholders.

Andy says: “We had to adapt and be ready to fight people’s corners, so we had teams concentrating on specific areas and the latest advice and these formed the basis of the content released.

“Despite the clear hardships that are going to be caused by this crisis, the partners are optimistic about the longer term outlook for Teesside, its people and its business community.

“The spirit of entrepreneurialism and hard work have always been a cornerstone of Teesside. With the airport reopening, the prospect of a new freeport and the enthusiasm of the mayor, this is a fantastic time for our region.

“Our sweet spot is working with businesses across Teesside who are looking to grow sensibly and sustainably and require first class advisory support. We want to be part of a driving force which pushes Teesside forward.”

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