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125 years of Wilson Wright: Personal service and top talent

“Forward-looking is perhaps not the phrase that you would most associate with a City of London accountancy practice as it celebrates its 125th anniversary,” said Michael Lerner, Senior Partner at Wilson Wright, who joined the firm in 1975 before becoming a partner in 1978.

 “However, in the case of Wilson Wright, this description could not be more appropriate.”

 In recent years, the firm has moved to bigger premises in the City, appointed three new partners and made concerted efforts to win new business, boosting its turnover by 66 per cent in the process.

 “Wilson Wright now boasts eight partners and 60 specialist staff providing general practice accountancy services to clients across London, the UK and internationally,” said Mr Lerner. “This growth is something we are very proud of.”

 While now a City of London practice, Wilson Wright started out in south-east London, where it was established in 1893 by its eponymous founder Mr Wilson Wright. It was only 13 years earlier that the Institute of Chartered Accountants, now the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), received its Royal Charter.

 In 1904, the firm moved to within a few hundred meters of its current premises as it crossed the river to Hatton Garden, just outside the boundary of the City of London.

 Wilson Wright remained at Hatton Garden for 68 years until 1972, when it moved a short distance to premises on Chancery Lane, before once again moving locally to Kingsway.

 In 2010, the firm made the move to its current, much larger premises on Holborn Circus in the City of London.

 Michael Lerner said: “Since making the move to Holborn Circus, the firm has built on the foundations it laid down over the course of more than a century to see turnover grow from £5 million in 2012/13 to £8 million in 2018, a 60 per cent increase.

 “This was partly driven by our recruitment of a number of new partners at an earlier stage in their career, who have been able to bring in new ideas, increase our capacity and assure our clients of a continuity of service for many years to come.”

 The firm now boasts a wide array of clients across a diverse range of industry sectors and specialisms. This includes half a dozen of the Sunday Times Rich List.

 “It’s all about the service, it is all about the people,” said Julian Richer, founder of Richer Sounds and a long-standing client of the firm. “There are huge advantages to using great people in a smaller firm.”

 “I could use a larger practice, but that would come with the problem of constant staff changes and matters being dealt with at a junior level by inexperienced staff”.

 “At Wilson Wright, I know that I am dealing with the best brains available”.

 “Wilson Wright is always there for me in a crisis. It is easy when things go well, but there is no problem that the firm hasn’t faced up to and dealt with effectively”.

 “Wilson Wright has never lost its focus on the clients.”

 It is this combination of a client-centred approach and attracting, retaining and supporting the best people that has been key to Wilson Wright’s past successes and which is now at the heart of its future plans.

Just this year, the firm has attracted new marketing and practice management talent from the Big Four to support its goal of doubling its client base in the next five years.

The firm is now embarking on its ‘Making it Count’ strategy, developing its aspirations for its staff, clients and the local and global community.

“We are very proud of how far we have come as a firm over the last 125 years as a whole, and over the last eight years in particular,” said Michael Lerner.

“Our strength has always been our ability to recruit the best people to provide a personal level of service to our clients. Over the last few years, we have further developed this strength and it is the cornerstone of our plans for the future.

“This is what ‘Making it Count’ is all about.”

Wilson Wright will be marking its 125th anniversary with an event for staff this month, before holding a larger celebration in the Autumn at which it will launch the ‘125 Faces of Wilson Wright’ project featuring video clips and montage of key individuals connected with the firm. The project is intended to emphasise that it is the people ‘at the heart’ of what truly makes Wilson Wright.