“In the late 80’s my wife, Pauline and I started a restaurant which specialised in Italian street food. This was a great time in our lives we met some interesting people and made some good friends. However, the work was extremely hard, covering very long hours; as time passed and with the want of starting a family, we decided to sell our beloved restaurant finally completing in late 1993. Followed by the arrival of our daughter in 1994. Once we the restaurant had sold, I decided that I wanted to find a new career that I would enjoy working in as much as the restaurant trade.
Over the years I had used the services of several accountants but generally found the way the advice was given, to be difficult to understand and disjointed. Having an interest in business record-keeping I felt that this was something I could do and would enjoy. So, I went back to college to get my qualifications as an accountant. Whilst still training I joined an accountancy practice in Hounslow, Middlesex it was a Chartered practice with a variety of different clients; This gave me a good founding. In 1996 the firm decided to move to the Isle of Man and for family reasons I decided not to go with them. The senior partner suggested that I set up my own firm, which seemed a logical step at the time due to having a few private clients anyway and so, MVL Business Services was born.
I decided that the emphasis I was going to put on MVL was getting the clients to understand their business, for example, being able to understand their profit and loss, read a balance sheet, understand what their margins are and how cashflow impacts on their ability to trade; as I believe that allowing my clients to have the information they needed to run a profitable business at their fingertips. This was about empowering our clients to have that information, so they know what their business was doing and this is how I created MVL Business Services.
In December 2014, I decided that it would be a good idea to extend the services available under the MVL umbrella and so, I decided to set up MVL Wills and Trusts. This was set up initially to help our existing clients with estate planning including, what they do with their business. When I set up MVL Wills and Trusts I wanted some support from an experienced organisation, I looked at several different organisations out there and settled on Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation Ltd to assist. Countrywide gives us at MVL the support we need having a very a very solid founding in the sector. Countrywide were invited to appear in the first ever Law & Justice Edition of the prestigious Parliamentary Review. The main aim of the review is to showcase best practice as a learning tool to both the public and private sector, we really liked that as it allows us to give all the information and support to our clients.
My Wife and I have built several businesses over the years that have been a team effort. I like to surround myself with people who are as driven as I am. Both Tony and Andrew who have joined me on the Wills and Trusts team are very good. I have known Tony for at least 15 years; originally, he was my bank manager! I have also known Andrew and his family for many years. Andrew comes from a media background and is a complete sponge when it comes to relevant information and subsequently has become a very good estate planner.
I built the MVL accountancy practice up until last year when we merged with an Eastbourne firm called Xynamo 5 Limited (“X5”). X5 is the coming together of several firms with a similar ethos. We made the decision to merge with X5 as unfortunately, as a small accountancy practice it is very hard to function alone due to the costs associated with the day to day running and so, we are now growing the accountancy practice within X5. I have a whole ethos about honesty – if you do not know, you say to our clients that. You go and research it and learn the answer. Any of the staff that works for me in either the accounts practice or at Wills and Trusts know this.
Being able to help our clients is extremely enjoyable but, as we all know, at the moment we are operating in very difficult times. There are a lot of businesses in trouble and being able to ease our clients fears and help them find a way to survive in the current marketplace is very important to me. Either helping a client to keep their business afloat or a client has to close down their business which, for some clients, it has been their life’s work.
We are living in an ever-changing world, even when Covid-19 is under control, the workplace would have changed. Many people are working from home, how many of them are going to go back into an office environment? How many firms with big offices in London, that seat 200 people, will be thinking actually, we can do this that seats 25 and have people working from home and use a rotation system instead. As many of us now know, you must teach yourself to work from home, you must be strict with yourself and focus as if you are working in an office. However, I know when it is a nice day I would rather be sitting in the garden!”
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MVL Wills and Trusts is a professional estate planning company based in Battle, East Sussex. Backed by its sister company MVL Business Services, an accountancy practice established in the town in 1994, MVL is partnered with Countrywide Tax & Trust Corporation Ltd, an estate planning specialist with many years experience in preparing Wills and Trusts.