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Reflections On The Last 25 Years


As part of Playfair Partnerships’ 25th birthday celebrations, managing partner, John Playfair, shares his memories about starting Playfair’s journey from his spare room…

How did your Playfair Partnerships journey begin?

Having spent years in industry, I set up Playfair Partnerships to offer clients senior level, cost-effective advice, focusing on business turnaround and financial management. Initially working from home, I was able to develop close working relationships with clients who valued not just financial expertise, but wider strategic business advice. As we have grown, we have maintained a focus on providing high quality services and advice based on solid experience which has seen us become trusted advisers to many clients, banks and other partners.

What is special about Playfair Partnerships’ service?

Right from the start, we have always focused on providing a proactive service, offering high quality business-focused financial advice, management and control. Key to this is our integrated outsourced approach, which means we work as part of our clients’ teams, helping to drive strategic decisions as well as delivering practical support.

We recognised at an early stage that we could offer businesses a higher level of skill and experience than they could obtain by employing a full-time resource. Not only that, with a strong team behind us, we can tailor our services in the most cost effective way and ensure businesses have multi-tiered support focused in the right areas at the right times. In our experience, while most SMEs don’t require a full-time person or team, they do require anytime access to specialist advice when needed – so we offer the benefits of an in-house resource without the overheads.

Who do you work with?

We are lucky to work with fantastic clients across a range of industries and have built up a real breadth of knowledge and expertise – working with everything from accessing finances for business start-ups to managing mergers and acquisitions. Many of our original clients who came to us for turnaround expertise, wanted us to continue providing financial support when they were back on their feet, so some of our clients have been with us for a very long time.

We have also developed a strong network of trusted partners over the years, which means we can access other specialist expertise and finance when required, providing a one-stop-shop for owner managed businesses.

How have things changed over the last 25 years?

Most recently, the use of technology has encouraged a real shift, not only in the services we provide but in how they are delivered. Cloud accounting makes it easier for us to provide integrated outsourced financial management and control services, allowing more time to focus on the added value which comes in providing detailed management accounts and forecasts, and the supporting business analysis which we provide.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

It has to be working with our clients and being embraced as part of their teams. One client described us as being ‘part of the furniture’! It is true to say, that we have become firm friends with many of our clients over the years. This is something we’re very proud of, as we place enormous importance on client relationships and providing the best possible service. Success to us is not simply about chargeable hours; it’s about building strong, long-term relationships with our clients and helping them to realise their ambitions – whether that’s turning a business around if it’s suffering difficulties or helping a business to grow more effectively and profitably.

What are your plans for the future?

We are at a pretty exciting time in the development of our business. We are always evolving in line with clients’ needs and the economic environment, and there have been some pretty big shifts in the market in recent times. With an eye on the future, we are expanding our team so we can offer more flexibility and capacity to clients who want to access different levels of support and are tailoring our services to give clients even more choice about how they work with us. What won’t change is our devotion to our clients and providing a top-class service, which will always be at the heart of Playfair Partnerships’ ethos.

Our details

4 Post Office Walk
SG14 1DL

01992 929394[email protected]

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