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28 May 2019
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by Leanne Davy

100 strong and growing

Lisa Marie Smith and Dave North
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In less than two years, ForrestBrown has doubled in size, taken on our 100th employee, and become one of the top 100 small companies to work for. But our victories don’t end there.

ForrestBrown Sunday Times Best Companies Award 2019

When it comes to research and development (R&D) tax credits – we’re still the best. We were named ‘best independent consultancy firm’ at the Taxation Awards 2018 in recognition of our technical brilliance and client service.

ForrestBrown’s transformation in terms of growth, numbers and culture has been quite remarkable. Here’s a little peek into what’s been happening at ForrestBrown over the last couple of years.

We hired our 100th team member

We’re thrilled to welcome Dave North, our 100th hire, who joined us in April, (featured alongside ForrestBrown’s first employee, Lisa-Marie, in the photo above). He joined our growing team of sector specialists who use their industry knowledge to help clients understand how the legislation relates to their R&D. With their sector expertise they can speak the same language and talk to clients on their level. Our sector specialists have an eclectic range of skills owing to their diverse backgrounds of study, ranging from AI and mechanical engineering, to chocolate science and app development.

Dave came to us from a digital agency where he was head of tech. After several years in software development, he decided to switch to a consultancy-based role. As a sector specialist, he gets to use his expertise to understand our clients’ innovations and technologies, which means he’s always learning. And there’s always an element of surprise: “…I’m always intrigued, because you get to see exactly how lots of different clients are using technology for different things, and in some cases, doing very similar things, but in very different ways.”

It’s been the most welcoming company I’ve ever worked for in my entire career. Before I started working here, I was invited to a social event… it was a really good opportunity for me to meet people before my first day.

David North, sector specialist at ForrestBrown

One of the things that surprised Dave, is that despite our rate of growth the new joiners he’s met all “seem to have settled in incredibly well, so much so that it’s like they’ve been here much longer.” This is no doubt a testament to our effective onboarding process and the wealth of knowledge shared by our team at our frequent Learning Lab sessions.

Double the impact

As part of our growth, we’ve grown existing teams and created whole new teams. We now have: the People Team (HR) who are responsible for keeping our employees happy  and engaged in their roles while helping develop them professionally too; Finance who ensure we make optimum use of our financial resources and help us to plan for future growth; Client Relations who make sure our clients are always happy and deliver exceptional service to support our phenomenal business growth; Operations who ensure our workflow is efficient through effective planning, forecasting and organising to keep our R&D tax credit practice a slick, well-oiled machine, and Talent (recruitment) who are on the lookout for the brightest sparks to fit into our dynamic culture, ensuring our talent network continues to expand.

This growth has seen the number of employees in our tax associate programme increase too – so much so, that we’re currently training 20 new tax associates. We continue to show them how to deliver outstanding R&D tax credit advice, plus support them in completing their professional qualifications – including the ATT, CTA or ACA.

As extra support for the company, we’ve also gained two new directors to lead us to even greater heights: Sara Brigden, who was promoted from associate director, and Andy Yeo, who we hired as finance director. With new associates joining us, there’s plenty of opportunity to develop as we scale up. Take Rebecca Fry, for example – she first joined us as a tax associate and was recently promoted to tax manager.

ForrestBrown team 2018

New office, same culture

Those who have visited our Whiteladies HQ are often surprised that our office feels more like a digital agency than your average tax firm. In July, we’ll be taking this creative atmosphere over to a new space, in central Bristol, to make room for our growing team. Our new office will be just like our existing office, but with lots of break out areas and new meeting rooms (named after British innovators), our signature ForrestBrown beer fridges, and of course, even more room for us to grow.

Turning five and winning awards

As if reaching our 100th team member wasn’t enough to get excited about, we also reached another milestone – last September, ForrestBrown turned five years old. We’re proud of how far we’ve come in this relatively short space of time.

As we grow from strength to strength, ForrestBrown is in the Sunday Times top 100 best small companies to work for, for the second year running. We’re also the top financial services company to work for in the South West and were #1 company to work for in the South West in 2018. In March 2018, we also joined the alliantgroup family, the premier provider of tax credits and incentives in the US.

Here’s to an eventful five years of seizing opportunities and forging new relationships. You could be part of many more years of success to come. See how you could help take our company to new heights.

Learn more about our teams at ForrestBrown and find your perfect match.

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