This past summer Chris Langrick made a step towards achieving his ambition to chart on the top 100 accountancy league table by 2028. He expanded his practice with the acquisition Holmfirth-based Michael Bell & Co – a firm which Langrick had a well-established professional and personal relationship.
But the acquisition really dates back seven years ago when Langrick moved back to the Yorkshire village where he started his married life. On the journey to his new house he passed Michael Bell & Co. He’d known Bell for many years and thought, at that moment, to find out what his practice succession plans were.
“Ever since, we’ve kept in touch and done a bit of work together and, ultimately, struck a deal and managed to complete in a buy-out at the end of June this year. Michael is still very much involved for at least another three years on a three day a week basis.”
Langricks is another example of the opportunities available for firms looking to grow through acquisitions. On AccountingWEB we have seen a rush of firms handing over the keys to their practice as the burden of digitalisation and MTD have become too much for many practices, especially sole practitioners.
Langrick wouldn’t rule out working with other independent practice owners looking for positive exit solutions. He expects some consolidation in the sector but believes it still to be a great marketplace for practices for between the 1.5 to 5m fee income.
“Unless you’re keeping up with technology and focusing on the cloud you’ll be left behind, and therefore, acquiring businesses like that is very appealing.”
Of course, Langrick has been busy dealing with the acquisition, and although this has taken up a considerable amount of time, there is plenty more on his typical to-do list, as you will soon find out in this week’s Practice Talk.
Chris Langrick’s typical working day
“I am often up early either doing a few emails from home or heading to the office or a client’s site. What time I arrive in the office depends on which office I am in. If I am Holmfirth I will be there between 7.45 – 8am.
Emails are a real problem. It’s the first thing I do to get myself set up for the day. We’re in this society of instantaneous response. When you’ve got 20 employees and many more clients, it is a challenge. It can be a big distraction but if we’re focused on something, we try and not let emails distract us and pick up things later.
I am a believer in the five things to do in a day principle. I just jot down the five key things that I will prioritise that day. If I get through them all, I’ll add more to the list. I then tackle jobs in terms of priority. What do I feel needs to be completed first? Is it a client requirement or an internal requirement? It’s the client requirements that come first.
I am trying to get to a point where I spending 40% on client work but it’s peaks and troughs. We do some big advisory projects which need me so it’s when I get drawn into one of those that I’ll be flat out on it and not spending as much time as I’d like on the practice.
Having a proper break and more time away is something we’re trying to encourage with our team and something I’d like to follow myself. It’s one of my own personal goals that I am trying to implement.
I finish between 7pm and 7:30pm. I’d either go home and see the children and then sort a few emails after that or go to the gym. If I go to the gym I’d be back home between 8.30pm and 9pm.
Now that we’ve done the acquisition, the new office is about five minutes away from my home. I am trying to use that more as a cut off so when I leave the office, that’s me done. But whether I am successful in that depends on what type of work I am doing at that point.
Away from the office and acquisitions, I try and keep fit at the gym, and do plenty of running and walking. I’m also a passionate skier. Because I didn’t go university, I decided to do a ski season after I gained my ACA qualification and used that as a bit of a break before I lined up a role with KPMG. So even now I still do two or three trips to the slopes a year.”