I’m Simon Thomas, and I’m the founder and managing director of Ridgefield Consulting, an independent firm of chartered accountants. Like many of our clients, like many of you, I started my business in my own home at the kitchen table. My father is a chartered accountant and I trained with some of the best in one of London’s top 4 firms – EY. Whilst I gained expert skills and experience; accounting to me, is just a skill to be applied, but business is a purpose for where I could apply it to. That’s why I am where I am today, running and growing my own company.
Ridgefield Consulting is actually named after the house my family lived in and to this day we are still an independent family-run company. You’ll frequently find my whole family (father, mother and sister) at the office, all with active roles. However, it has to be said that I also have a fantastic team that supports the business, and they are the real gems when it comes to why our clients like working with us year after year. We may be small, but we are growing, and shouldn’t be underestimated. Family values naturally feed into the team, and everyone pitches in to help get the job done, whatever that job may be. As such, we’re able to work in an agile and flexible way to ensure your priorities are our priorities too.
We have big goals. Our target is to reach £1 million turnover by 2020. It’s not just about the number though, it’s about how we get to that number (in true accountant fashion). We’re fortunate to be based in such a dynamic city that is Oxford, so our focus for growth is based on three core principles:
- Our economy could not survive without the self-employed. Our wide range of accounting and tax services will support all types of local businesses to ensure our community continues to thrive.
- Development and technology is crucial to our society. Our specialism in R&D tax credits and SEIS/EIS puts us in the best place to work with forward thinking start-ups and scale-ups.
- Leadership. Some accountants work to the current tax year, we’re already looking ahead. For audit, exit, or business growth, our strategic tax planning is the best solution for achieving your desired outcome.
Fed up of being a cog in the corporate wheel, Simon left the City (and EY) in 2010. A passion to challenge the status quo in Oxford; which, having now succeeded through a combination of strategic acquisitions and strong organic growth, Simon now strives for excellence to secure the firm as the market leader in the county.
“We have established our core competencies around service delivery, client on-boarding, technical expertise and price points, to such a level that the client experience becomes a smooth and enjoyable one. This in turn allows our own growth, but we never sit on our laurels, we are always on the lookout for the next best way to enhance the client’s interaction and promote their own business growth; therein, our value begins to feel innate.”
Grace is an ACCA finalist. Being a highly sought-after accounting and finance graduate, her options were numerous. She was recommended to Simon from a personal connection and the decision to take Grace on has not been looked back on since. She has risen rapidly through the ranks and now heads up the operational management of the practice. Grace looks to optimise the client experience and delegate her wisdom to other junior members. She oversees the firm’s accreditation with Xero.
“The family atmosphere at Ridgefield Consulting really allowed for my own development. I do not believe I could have fast-tracked to this level of responsibility and career progression anywhere else.”
Director of Compliance
Brian too has a Top 4 City background. He is now responsible for the firm’s quality and risk assessments; therein, all compliance and regulatory matters.
“Having spent a lot of my career in training both ICAEW & ACCA students, it is highly rewarding to see the development of the firm’s trainees, not only technically, but in the commercial focus that Ridgefield Consulting demands.”
Mi Mon Thet
Mi Mon is an FCCA qualified accountant and has been with the firm for over 4 years. Initially starting off to assist with the January self-assessment deadlines, she has become one of the firm’s tax planning experts.
“Such is the variety of new client work that comes into the firm; I am always updating a broad base of tax knowledge. This is rewarding and important to me in my own technical development as it means that I can review the knock-on effects of different taxes in formulating different options to the client for consideration.”
Business Development & Marketing Manager
Kizzy is studying for her CIM Digital Diploma in Professional Marketing this year. She originally responded to a job advert for a part-time receptionist position having returned from a career break to go travelling. However Simon wasn’t prepared to miss out on the opportunity to utilise her wealth of marketing experience from previous employment. Kizzy is quick to dismiss gimmicks and focuses on making our value clear to potential new clients.
Clients are welcome to speak to her for any advice for their business.
“I’ve never been in a working environment so unique. It’s great to be able to develop my marketing skills and see the direct results benefiting the company.”
Senior Tax Advisor & Accounts Manager
Michael is an ICAEW finalist. Being the longest serving member (over 5 years), his history to the firm was perhaps the strangest story. He was recommended to Simon by a former employee who Simon himself helped secure a position at a competitor firm. It only goes to show that networking and building genuine relationships is the key to growing a successful business.
“The great beauty here at Ridgefield Consulting, is that you get to work on everything, from cloud accounting to tax. This expedites your knowledge and ability to make you a more all-rounded accountant. Also, as the environment is so open and collaborative, you find yourself growing in new ways, such as one’s business acumen.”
Payroll Compliance & Accounts Manager
Tracy is AAT qualified. We met by chance when she was sat next to Brian at an accounting and audit update course. Since then, she has become Ridgefield Consulting’s highly efficient payroll manager. She also acts for a number of management accounts clients, particularly those on SAGE.
“I have embraced the cloud accounting software generation, and my hats off to the firm becoming a Xero certified partner, but there’s still plenty of SAGE knowledge that I know I can impart to those clients making the transition.”
Head of Human Resources & Administration
Olive is an expert on the administration of both people and the company. She has managed budgets for the Chemistry and Zoology departments of Oxford University, as well as managing multiple different teams. Her kind ear allows us to manage our people fairly and pragmatically. She has over 40 years’ experience with both the civil service and a number of Oxford educational establishments.
Helen is CFA qualified. She keeps us updated on the financial markets, politics and their impact on our economy. Through her BlondeMoney website she delivers analysis on the key risks and opportunities for investment portfolios. After 16 years in the City working for hedge funds, investment banks and fund managers, she knows the market inside out.
Admin & Accounts Assistant
New to the company, Chloe joins Ridgefield Consulting at an exciting time. She’ll be the friendly face that greets you at the door or polite voice that answers the phone. She’s integral to the every day running of the office but we’re giving her the opportunity to make the role her own and look forward to seeing how she helps develop us as a team and a company!
Macroeconomics & FX Analyst
Coming from working for an FX house in the City, Sam is a dab hand when it comes to sifting through the noise to find what really matters. His insights are put to good use in his BlondeMoney articles and on our own Twitter feed.