The Affinity Group’s MD, Dan Mepham is awarded Managing Director of the Year!

Published On: 10/05/2023

We know that our MD, Dan Mepham is the best Managing Director in the south of the UK, but we can now officially say that he is! We’re pleased and proud to announce that he has been awarded the Accounting Managing Director of the Year award 2023 – for the South of the UK.

In this blog we ask Dan some questions about what it means to be a successful MD, and what the future looks like for The Affinity Group.

  1. What are your top three favourite things about The Affinity Group?

My favourite things are:

  • Our People – having started as the MD of a 10 person team, I’ve recruited A LOT of people since then, creating a scalable structure of Senior Managers looking after the key teams. It’s not easy leading teams in a business that’s growing as fast as ours, and it’s been fundamental to recruit the right people for the challenge. Between us, we’ve created a business to be proud of, full of incredibly talented and loyal people.
  • Our growth – I had big ambitions for the business when I first joined, and the growth we’ve achieved is smashing even my expectations. From a business of 1 brand, 1,000 clients and 10 employees, The Affinity Group now boasts 5 brands, 80 employees and 6,500 clients.
  • Our offices –Office environment has a big impact on staff engagement and productivity and I’m delighted to feel the buzz in the kitchen on free breakfast Mondays, see the constant updates on ‘Affinity TV’ and know that there’s also space to grow, with plans for a games room, exercise studio and barista coffee.
  1. What is the most important thing for you when you’re communicating with your Affinity team members, and how do you ensure you’re all on the same path to success?

I believe in creating a positive and open environment, leading by example and trusting my Senior Managers to make the right decisions for the business. I’m decisive, preferring to take a small risk to prove a concept rather than procrastinate, and I encourage my teams to do the same, with a non-judgemental approach to new initiatives. We’re an independent business, and our strength lies in flexibility and agility. We’ve proven this with our approach to the ever changing IR35 legislation which scuppered some contractor accounting businesses, and Covid which left other accountancies failing their clients and furloughing their staff. We did neither, continuing to grow both our client base and teams.

It’s my belief that the hard times can push us to make tricky decisions and take risks that we might never have otherwise have contemplated.

As we’ve grown, we’ve put more channels of communication in place to ensure everyone in the business knows what our group objectives are, and their part in achieving those objectives. We have TV screens in all main offices areas, communicating latest sales and productivity stats, as well as social events, company news, birthdays and anniversaries. We have monthly exec team reporting and meetings, and an effective route to cascading the key information to teams. Every quarter, I run a business update meeting for all staff, covering business performance, news, awards for team members, and drinks on me at the pub afterwards.

  1. What is the internal culture at The Affinity Group? How does your team work together?

We’ve worked hard to create a positive and motivating culture to support the growth of the business; I expect a lot from my teams but also offer a lot in return. As part of the Affinity Group, people can expect to be looked after, with great benefits and a strong and vibrant office culture that is supported by our mission to ‘Make a difference every day’. By supporting our people to give the very best service and live by our group values, I know that our people and our business will flourish and grow. Our values are:

  • Put clients first
  • Think big
  • Work as a team
  • Act with integrity

I involve staff in big decisions that affect them, like what we want in our new office (we ran a survey but are yet to convince the building surveyors to install the waterslide!), what our company values should be, and how best to incentivise the right behaviours. Bringing people on the journey with me gives them a sense of ownership over the business and creates better buy-in, even if I do have to invoke the power of veto every now and then!

We have a busy social committee, with a budget and time allowed to plan and organise monthly socials, office events and charity work. Local engagement is important to our staff and great for our employer and brand reputation.

  1. And finally, is there anything that you would like to reveal, are there any plans in the pipeline, and what does the future look like for The Affinity Group?

With the growth plans that we have, we’re always looking for great people, so our recruitment drive is ongoing for experienced teams as well as a twice-yearly intake of apprentices. We have made 10 acquisitions of accountancy practices over the last few years and we’re always on the look out to acquire others.  We have a couple in the pipeline both in Dorset and Scotland.

With a 5 year plan to more than double our client numbers, watch this space!

Note: All the information and advice in this blog post was correct at the time of writing.

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