A Conversation with… Geoff Woodhouse, Partner at Moore Stephens

Recently our President Mark Edmondson had the pleasure of sitting down with Geoff Woodhouse, Partner at Moore Stephens.

You can watch the wide-ranging conversation above. Here’s a quick look at some highlights for a taste of what to expect:

Cutting-edge tech is the key to attracting top talent

Geoff believes the very best graduates and school leavers looking for a career in accounting expect to start off doing more than just grunt work. “Millennials will not accept a menial approach to work”, he explains. “They’re really looking for something more stimulating, and it’s now possible to provide that”

In fact, he goes on to say Moore Stephens would be “dead in the water” if they tried to hire the top talent without being able to offer them the opportunity to work with the latest tech.

Geoff explains: “If I go back to the 1980s when I started with the firm, you could really expect to be doing some pretty boring stuff for the first few years of your career – it would only get exciting after that. Really, that’s not good enough now.”

The pyramid structure is dead

According to Geoff, the “pyramid structure is dead” at accounting firms. He even revealed that the Partners at Moore Stephens no longer have their own offices, and its “made a huge difference”.

This decision was inspired by “a real recognition that growth comes from collaboration” within Moore Stephens.

“Three years ago Moore Stephens was working in silos – assurance, tax, consulting – and we weren’t really talking to each other”, Geoffrey explains, but now they’ve leverage the latest tech. Technology such as client collaboration has been transformational: “everyone can see what everybody else is working on and the workflow for any individual client”.

This has enabled a much more collaborative approach to client work and had a “stratospheric” impact on the firm’s revenue. Geoff attributes to a more collaborative approach within the firm that’s been enabled by investing in technology.

Say goodbye to working “from a darkened room in a client’s office”

Geoff also believes that “sending audit teams to work from a darkened room in a client’s office is going to end”.

He explains that cloud computing enables accountants to perform their work from anywhere. And in Geoff’s experience, this “means that our relationships with our clients improve dramatically because we’re not being an inconvenience to them”. Instead of tying up a client’s finance team for weeks at a time, firms only have to take up their time for “a real, tangible meeting where we have a proper conversation with them”.

Ultimately, Geoff believes this approach means “the whole model of time-based pricing will go out of the window pretty quickly”.

Watch the video above to take a deep dive into our conversation and get an insight into the thoughts of one of the UK’s most respected accountants.