THE LEGACY OF WALKER HARRIS

Craig Robertson

THE LEGACY OF WALKER HARRIS


“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We’ve taken our favourite quote from Steve Jobs and applied it to the future of MMG Chartered Accountants. We believe it makes sense to work in partnership with accountants who, like us, are people helping people.

In sight of this vision, we’ve recently acquired Walker Harris Accountants Limited. If you haven’t already heard, they’re a well-established accounting firm that has built a trusted family of clients in the Angus and Aberdeenshire area.

To celebrate our expansion, we’ve sat down with a very talented lady who, with her hard work and determination, has transformed Walker Harris into the respected enterprise that is today. Denise Hazel Harris has injected a wealth of history and passion into the business, and here’s how…

“Where did it all begin? In 1995, we developed from a firm of accountants who had been in Brechin and Montrose for many years, with links to other firms in the north of Fife. In fact, you can track the partnership back to over a century ago, at a time when the institution accommodated the obsolescence of longline fishing.

“From the piles of books and shoeboxes of receipts, my career, as the sole practitioner of Walker Harris, has spanned almost thirty years to the evolution of the Digital Era. During my time, we haven’t only stayed afloat but we have freestyled through the current of a new generation of clients and the deregulation of accountancy. For a practice to be resilient against the competitive nature of pop-up shops that offer bargain services and technology that provides alternative methods of communication, I believe, diversification is key.

“Over the last few years, it has been my mission to drive clients in the direction of Making Tax Digital (MTD). The regulation that eventually came into practice in April 2019, has slowly, but surely, modernised processes for our clients.

“At the start, there wasn’t a fixed deadline for MTD; the timeline wavered, and it was my challenge to give clients a gentle nudge in the right direction. I guess you could say many people were reluctant to change. Of course, this is expected when there isn’t a clear deadline in sight.  Though, the pandemic accelerated digitalisation in a way that opened the eyes of businesses to a new and more efficient method of bookkeeping. Essentially, change has thrown away the long tail of traditional accounting methods to reveal a slicker work model.

“By taking technology in our stride, we’ve welcomed new clients and watched businesses flourish. I have always had a duty of care for, not only my clients but my team. That’s why, in preparation for my retirement this year, I sat down with consultants to make a conscious and transparent roadmap for the future of Walker Harris.

“I knew that I wanted to find a company that has the same compassionate approach. When you have worked with colleagues for so long, they’re an extended part of the family.

“As soon as I sat down with Paul Crichton, Managing Partner at MMG, it was clear that our values were closely aligned. Clients are not just a number to him, and colleagues are nothing short of a family. I knew that MMG would keep the Walker Harris brand alive, and I wasn’t wrong! By maintaining consistency and honouring a sense of community, we can benefit from sharing best practices and specialist expertise.

“While I’m, certainly, sad to retire, I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds. As I put down the calculator for my paintbrush, I can sleep easy knowing that the legacy of Walker Harris is in safe hands.”