Agri team sowing seeds of growth at accountancy practice with Alnwick office

A dedicated agricultural division is driving growth at an accountancy firm to help farming clients navigate a decade of upcoming change across the industry.

Rural sector specialists at Douglas Home & Co, which has an office on the Lionheart Enterprise Park in Alnwick, have seen demand soar within its agricultural department.

The team is helping farmers contend with sector-defining crises including post-Brexit labour shortages, soaring prices and climate change, as well as day-to-day business.

Led by director and the firm’s head of advisory, Victoria Ivinson, the seven-strong unit now advises 31% of the current client roster at the Kelso-headquartered chartered accountants.

Douglas Home and Co agricultural department. Pictured: Stephen Lamb, Kirsty Dodds, Duncan Elliot, Robbie Anderson, Jessica Howlett and Victoria Ivinson.

The expansion has driven further recruitment, with senior agricultural technician, Kirsty Dodds joining from a competitor in March. The department is targeting further revenue and headcount growth over the coming year.

Victoria said: “The industry is changing dramatically and the upcoming decade is massive for agriculture.

“Post-Brexit labour shortages, the lasting impact of Covid and changing consumer behaviour, a shift to using more advanced technology and even the war in Ukraine, will all have a significant impact on how the farming industry evolves and survives.

“Farmers need every bit of help they can get and we have pulled together our collective experience, which stretches over decades, to work with and support our agriculture clients as they face a myriad of issues over the next decade.”

With experience on research and development related claims, the agri accounting team has evolved and came into its own last year at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic as under-pressure rural businesses sought advice on tax saving opportunities.

Victoria added: “Our team’s expertise means they excel at spotting opportunities for agri clients over a wide agenda, including business growth, investment opportunities and tax efficiency. We want to provide the best possible service available to rural sector clients across the UK by continuing to develop and deliver a personalised, proactive service.”

Douglas Home & Co has 70 staff, has served more than 1,000 rural businesses and last year reported a 4% rise in turnover to £4 million. That keeps it on track with its ambitious business plan to occupy a market gap it has identified between smaller accountancy firms and the big four.