Leading Adviser Awards 2020

Acquisition International - Leading Adviser 2020 111 Acquisition I ternational - Issue 1 2020 3 clients were struggling. “Our clients come first. In good times their success is our success and in bad times their survival is our survival. Over the years we have developed some really strong relationships with our clients, so when they needed us, we made sure we were there, even when they couldn’t afford to pay us.” Girish doesn’t see this as charitable, or generous, he just sees it as an extension of the way he runs his practice. One client who was particularly impacted by the coronavirus was restaurateur Terry, owner of Arena Lounge in Wembley. When a location became available, he decided to follow his lifelong dream of starting his own restaurant. Inspired by his mother’s cooking and her connection to the Punjab, the Arena Lounge today serves a menu which offers an eclectic mix of Indian, Chinese and African flavours. However, the relaxed, contemporary eatery that exists today is a long way from the building that Terry took over, which needed complete refurbishment before its launch in December 2019. Unfortunately, after all this investment, only a few months after opening, the doors of Arena Lounge had to close for four months during the first lockdown and beyond. But this did not stop Terry – he upped his takeaway business to keep things ticking over and decided to do his bit to help out during the pandemic by offering cooked meals to the elderly and vulnerable. Suppliers helped out, Girish connected him to a local mutual aid group and supported him with his accounting services and guidance on retaining his staff, while Terry supported his local community. Things are still tough for Arena Lounge as you might imagine, and for such a new business this could have been the breaking of it, but with the support of MyController Harrow they are in a stronger position to reopen and flourish once again, when they are allowed to. Girish’s approach has always attracted like-minded people to his practice, those with vision, drive and heart. He believes that by supporting his local clients he has not only helped them through these tough times, but it has also helped him in so many ways. “It may seem a little odd to say, for an accountant, but it’s not all about the money – it’s sometimes about doing something to help your fellow man (and woman), to feel more connected with your community, and to do something worthwhile with one’s time when you have something worthwhile to offer those around you.” My Controller Harrow : Leading SME Accountancy and Taxation Advisory of the Year, United Kingdom n most people’s eyes accounting and tax services do not naturally sit alongside concepts such as ‘philanthropy’ and ‘guardianship’, but at MyController Harrow they take a very different view. Founded by blue-chip veteran Girish Shah, whose career had taken him on a journey through Sainsbury’s, Siemens and Serco before launching his own practice, MyController Harrow has a single message at the heart of everything they do – ‘what helps our clients helps our business’. And, over the last four years, they have been on a tireless mission to elevate their clients, no matter the challenge. This year that ethos has been tested like never before, as the pandemic has stretched many of their clients. However, they have been determined to prove that no matter what mountain their clients must climb, they are right there with them. When he launched his practice, Girish knew well that it’s not what an accounting firm does that makes it stand out, it’s how they do it that differentiates them – their mindset, their approach to the work, and their clients. So, while his practice offers accountancy, taxation, business advisory, CFO and finance director services to a broad range of small to medium sized organisations, it has been Girish’s personal passion for helping his fellow man that has separated his practice from the crowd. Girish’s community roots run deep as, among other things, he supports a number of children’s charities here and abroad and is on the committee of his local mutual aid group tasked with helping those least able to help themselves throughout the pandemic and beyond. One example of what makes Girish’s practice different can be seen in the work they have done with Musa Martial Arts. When Abid and Alia Musa approached Girish in 2017, they had a small martial arts business with 40, mostly school age, students who trained in the evenings and at weekends using school halls and gym locations. They knew their goal was to have their own dojo, but they were struggling to see how they could expand and grow. It took a further three years, much planning and financial guidance, helping them to keep their goal at the fore of all their strategic decisions, but in September 2020 Musa Martial Arts opened its first dedicated Choi Kwang Do dojo to accommodate the 200 plus students – of all ages – that they were now instructing. With accounting support, regular financial reviews and business advice from Girish, Abid and Alia now have their eyes on their next commercial goal – to own their dojo premises to give them even more flexibility to grow and expand, to teach more local students the way of Choi Kwang Do. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Girish has continued to offer financial support and guidance, offering advice on furloughing, staff retention, government grants and funding – even deferring his fees when his I Oct20698 Leading SME Accountancy and Taxation Advisory of the Year, United Kingdom