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Simon Playfair Managing Partner


‘In the business world, the rear-view mirror is always clearer than the windshield’

Simon Playfair BSc (Hons), ACMA, CGMA

Managing Partner

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Having grown up as the fledgeling family business was developing around him and unofficially helping from an early age, it probably seems, to both us and Simon, that he has always been part of Playfair Partnerships. However, Simon formally joined Playfair Partnerships 12 years ago as a trainee accountant after reading computer sciences at Durham University, where he graduated with a BSc (Hons).

In this role, he received a thorough grounding in both financial and management accounting and put his IT skills to good use by leading projects to overhaul and upgrade many clients’ MI and accounting systems. Whilst doing this, Simon also completed his CIMA exams and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Our pro-active and integrated outsourcing approach gives clients any time access to the level of expertise they need without the full-time costs – and Simon spends at least one or two days per week onsite with our clients, building a thorough understanding of their business and bringing his strategic, financial management and IT expertise to drive business performance. He acts as FD for many of our clients helping form their strategy and overseeing their financial management; and he works in both the business turnaround and financial management sides of the firm.

Being multi-skilled fits right into the Playfair Partnerships ethos, and Simon gets to do all the things he enjoys and excels at: applying fresh ways of thinking to analytical, technical and strategic aspects, accounting practice and industry experience. And, of course, getting to know the clients as individuals and seeing the difference working with Playfair Partnerships makes in their lives.

Since joining the firm, Simon has progressed from junior to senior, to partner and now in January, he was appointed managing partner where he will combine his client work with helping manage and develop Playfair Partnerships towards their 50th anniversary!

When Simon gets a bit of spare time, he enjoys travelling, whether it is a quick city break or somewhere a bit further afield. He is fond of competitive sports and loves playing tennis and badminton. So, if you are up for a challenge – see you on the court!

Associated Projects
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Case Studies

How we have helped clients.

You can easily tell the difference between accounts which have been produced in-house and those produced by Playfair Partnerships. The quality of information they provide makes it easier to draw conclusions about a business.

Bank Relationship Director

Playfair take a very proactive stance. It’s not just about number crunching but looking at how to make things better, looking forward, planning for the future, succession planning. We feel that they have our best interests at heart.

Managing Director & Shareholder – Construction Business

Playfair Partnerships are more than management accountants – they are part of a client’s team. Their open, and personable approach along with their strategic focus makes them different.

Partner – Accounting Firm

Playfair has facilitated a healthy relationship with our bank manager thanks to super accounts and cashflow analysis – you can’t put a price on that.

Managing Partner – Law Firm

Playfair Partnerships are ideal for supporting small and medium sized business with restructures and sell outs as well as identifying profitable and non-profitable parts of business. They operate at a very high level with business owners, CEOs, MDs and Boards of Directors.

Managing Director & Shareholder – Automotive Industry

John walked into a hornet’s nest of business problems that had hitherto seemed insoluble. He took decisive action to unravel a complex family shareholding structure, had the courage to implement difficult and unpopular strategic decisions, and the energy and dedication to find workable solutions. Thanks to John’s business experience, financial acumen and long-term vision, the business is now streamlined, debt-free and profitable

Director & Shareholder – Family Business

Playfair Partnerships are the complete package: professional, knowledgeable and committed. They have helped guide us through a very difficult journey, while at the same time truly becoming part of our business family.

Managing Director & Owner – Retail Business

Playfair Partnerships acted as the ideal catalyst to promote the dramatic changes to a lifetime business. The reports produced provided extremely useful analysis of our options and quantified the gains and losses of various strategies. We quickly developed an excellent working relationship with John, who demonstrated great empathy, support and respect for our business, acting as observer and adviser at all the numerous meetings to steer us to what was originally believed to be an unattainable successful conclusion.

Managing Director & Shareholder – Automotive Industry

Playfair Partnerships arrived fortuitously at a time when our farming/horticultural business was performing badly and worsening. A firm but friendly “stick and carrot” approach quickly persuaded us to be ruthless if we were not only to survive but grow. In addition, they have been most successful in re-structuring the family share-holding happily for all, in creating a trust to minimise IHT and also in building good and trusting relationships between themselves, us and our next generation.

Managing Director & Shareholder – Agricultural Business

The team at Playfair Partnerships helped us develop a clearer strategy and management structure. They introduced robust financial systems, enabling us to manage our business more effectively. And their ongoing input is important to our success

Managing Director & Shareholder - Manufacturing & Installation; Construction Industry

The advice and support that I have received from Playfair Partnerships this last 18 months has been invaluable in helping to guide me as a sole player in a new field. PP have advised me on everything from tax overviews and breakdowns, how better to manage my time effectively working remotely, to negotiating fees and understanding the true worth of my services in the marketplace. I feel very secure in knowing that there is someone other than myself with an eye on the future of my business

Managing Director & Shareholder – Fashion Consultancy

The team at Playfair Partnerships tackled a variety of business and financial problems within the company with skill and professionalism, which helped overcome the business difficulties, restore profitability and cashflow and generate confidence in the business both internally and externally.

Managing Director & Shareholder – Warehousing & Distribution

Playfair Partnerships intervened at a critical juncture and were instrumental in dissecting my business, analysing the various sectors within it and helping me redefine what we do and removing the non-profit-making work streams. They provided much more accurate systems of financial control and other management tools which helped us substantially cut our overhead and other costs, making us profitable once again. They remain with us some 10 years later, still providing valuable advice on all things ‘business’, helping make key decisions on shaping the future both for me and the company. Being frank, Playfair Partnerships saved the company from what was a very uncertain future, their timely intervention was and continues to be invaluable.

Managing Director & Shareholder

Getting John (Playfair) involved in our business is probably the best decision we’ve made in recent years. We were in a frustrating place with our bank, we knew we had a great business but the bank couldn’t see it, were reluctant to get to understand us and even more so to support our growth. John came in, dug deep into our financial information and produced these amazing reports which quite brilliantly and succinctly summed up exactly what we were about. As a result we have a new bank on-board who understand us and is eager to provide the support we need. You cannot imagine the relief now that the shackles have been removed! I simply cannot emphasise enough the pivotal role which the Playfair Partnerships has had in helping to transform our thinking and approach to financing our business

Partner – Law Firm

Playfair Partnerships assisted in my business transition. They had the knowledge and experience to quickly provide simple well-thought-out solutions to a range of issues. Since then, they have continued to be very proactive with a seamless multi-tiered offering (giving the right level of experience and cost) and providing a full range of services and advice in an easy format.

Managing Director - Construction

Playfair Partnerships initiated both better financial accounting, control and forecasting and a plan for better management of the firm’s business. Until their arrival, the financial reporting had not produced sufficient information easily to detect incipient problems while management was largely non-existent in the true sense. Their approach had an immediately positive effect and the profits of the firm have grown substantially. They have been particularly responsible for much improved working capital and cash management. Much of the firm’s current prosperity and success is attributable to Playfair Partnerships.

Managing Partner - Legal

We initially engaged Playfair Partnerships to provide better financial control for our business as we wanted to get a clearer insight into and control over our financial performance. As our relationship with one of their partners – Richard Cranstone – grew, we decided that he added value way beyond that of a financial controller and asked him to become our part-time FD. He now brings strategic insights and business development advice as well as a financial perspective to the board.


Most lawyers are good at their subject matter but are less experienced at running a firm and all of the disciplines involved in doing so. Playfair Partnerships’ involvement provided the financial expertise that the firm had lacked. We have not only been provided with regular and timely information to monitor our business performance but have also learnt how best to employ this information to make timely decisions.

Managing Partner - Legal

Playfair Partnerships have been very successful in cajoling somewhat conservative-minded directors to adopt modern financial management methods, indeed, to enthuse about them. As a result, we have user-friendly cutting-edge accounting information tools in place. This enables us to anticipate any potential financial problems, solve them quickly and develop any possible opportunities for growing the business.

Managing Director - Property

Working with Playfair Partnerships has enabled us to focus on growing our business, now that our financial health is in good hands. We have complete trust in Playfair Partnerships and the team make financial information easy – plain English, no jargon – empowering us to make informed business decisions. We are in regular contact with the team – both onsite and online – and find their service offers outstanding value, exceeding that of having an in-house finance team.

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Helping you with direction, planning, support and funding to grow your business. Using our knowledge and experience to give advice that effectively contributes to making good decisions for long-term success and our evaluation and contacts to provide the funding to get you there.

Using timely and accurate financial information to establish robust reporting procedures across every area and growth stage of your business. We collate, explain and use the numbers to offer sound financial management and strategic advice to ensure long-term business’ health.

Helping organisations that are experiencing a business or financial downturn. We work closely with the management team to identify the cause of the problem, support the business with the immediate requirements, and devise and implement strategies to restore long-term profit and financial stability.

Our details

4 Post Office Walk
SG14 1DL

01992 929394[email protected]

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