David Cox Architects

Established in 1938 David Cox Architects is based in central Preston. In fact, just a stone’s throw away from Whitehead & Aldrich in a similar rather grand Georgian building.

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They work with private developers and contractors, mostly in northern England, although they have plans to increase their geographical customer base over the coming years. Their work covers a wide range of projects, from subterranean garden offices for private clients through to restaurant designs and high quality student accommodation.

Back in 2011, David Cox was looking for a new accountant and approached several local companies. He wanted a balance between an accountancy company that was big enough to offer him the advice and support he felt he’d need as his business grew, but one that wasn’t too big that he’d be lost and just become another ‘number’ – a particular problem when dealing with accountants as they do rather like numbers! After selecting and approaching three local companies he chose Whitehead & Aldrich because they came back with the best response; their response was both timely and personal.

David’s main contact within Whitehead & Aldrich is Jonathan Hughes-Deane and it’s fair to say that over the years Jonathan has come to know the financial side of David’s business in great detail, often being involved in the strategic planning of the company. Jonathan’s close association and regular contact with David’s business means he understands how the architectural practice wants to grow as a business. David neatly sums this up when he says, “Jonathan has contributed to some very strategic decisions which we have reached over the past few years and he is valuable because he knows the business and understands where it wants to go. Jonathan really has helped in some of the long term decisions we’ve made, crucially giving us greater confidence in our decisions.”

It’s a common theme when talking to clients of Whitehead & Aldrich that they enthusiastically point out that one of the key things they like about the company is the personal and regular communication they have with their contact. David is no exception, one of the things he most values about his relationship is the fact that he always has direct and immediate access to Jonathan whether via email, face to face or over the telephone.

Over the years this has meant that the two of them have become friends as well as accountant and client and David refers to Jonathan as a friend to his business as well. Most accountants will provide the basic, legally necessary bean counting services to their clients, but it’s really only when they become, as David calls it, ‘a friend to the business’, that they can really start to offer valuable, strategic advice which could quite literally have a fundamental impact on the client’s business.

2011 was very early days in the world of cloud based accountancy so the fact that Whitehead & Aldrich were early adopters of Xero Accounting Software didn’t really have any bearing on David’s choice of them as an accountant. However, with support from Whitehead & Aldrich, David Cox Architects has now fully embraced cloud based accounting via Xero. David believes his adoption of Xero has made their processes so much easier to use and access and makes all of their bookkeeping less of a headache. Xero also allows Jonathan to have up to the minute information regarding David’s accounts.

Commenting on other areas where David believes Whitehead & Aldrich’s support has been invaluable, he specifically mentions tax, “In the very early days, Jonathan ensured we fully understood the tax base of our business and made sure it was on a sound footing. He then went about strategically planning the businesses tax affairs to ensure everything worked as efficiently as possible, in terms of taxation. I simply wouldn’t have had the inclination or knowledge to arrange things in this way.”

Another area David specifically mentions regarding Whitehead & Aldrich’s support is with his company’s dealings with HMRC. “Some time ago, Whitehead & Aldrich responded to HMRC on our behalf over quite a period of time following a series of incompetent queries from HMRC. This saved me a great deal of time and probably even more angst!”

Summing up (an excellent accounting term), David says, “I’ve never regretted my choice of Whitehead & Aldrich; as you’d hope, they know what they’re talking about when it comes to finances but I really have been impressed at the personal and ongoing support we receive from them. As I’ve already mentioned this is both on a long term strategic level but also on the day to day money related tasks that all businesses must be involved in like basic bookkeeping. We certainly understand far more about such matters as cashflow and turnover now than we ever did before. I envisage our relationship with Whitehead & Aldrich to continue for many years to come.”


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