People say “don’t look back”, as if looking back on something is bad. But for me, looking back is something I’m incredibly proud to do at this time of the year; because looking back helps me look forward. Like the engines of a space rocket surging into space, looking back is what propels me forward.

2016 has been jam-packed with great things for Campbell Dallas. It’s been a year of change and really making tangible the growth of our firm. As I write this, it’s also just shy of 40 years since the Dallas side of Campbell Dallas was formed. Most of our staff are under 40, meaning most of them weren’t even alive at the time Bob Dallas started out. Unfortunately I was!

A mere 12 months ago our numbers were looking pretty good. We were sitting at 170 staff, 19 partners, 4 offices and an £11m turnover. Now these numbers are sitting at 210 staff, 21 partners, 5 offices and we are heading towards £14m turnover.

Just because I haven’t thrown enough numbers at you, this year we also had 67 students go through exams while working with us. Students are doing various qualifications such as AAT, ACCA and CTA; amongst others. Campbell Dallas is an award winning training firm accredited to the highest standard by both ACCA and ICAS – something I’m very proud of.

For me, investing in the next generation of accountants is part of a successful firm. This year, Investors in Young People awarded us gold status saying, “This represents a true commitment to the training and development of young people and demonstrates Campbell Dallas LLP as an employer of choice for young people. This is a fantastic achievement, and testament to your effective practices around Youth Employment.”

2016 saw us winning the hat-trick at the Scottish Accountancy and Finance Awards; Firm of the Year, Corporate Finance Team of the Year and Restructuring Team of the Year. The best part of the award ceremony was being able to stand beside my colleagues on stage. A special thanks to Graham, Ali and Gerry for being with me for the CF award.

business insider best accountancy firm in Scotland 2016 - campbell dallas

L-R: Gerry McLaughlin, Graham Cunning, Me and Alastair Woodburn receiving the Corporate Finance Team of the Year award.

We expanded our office locations this year when we bought W White & Co of Kilmarnock. The Kilmarnock office came online with us in September and brings with it new people who are full of new ideas and enthusiasm. I look forward to 2017 as they fully integrate and feel the Campbell Dallas love.

Campbell Dallas aquisition of White & Co, Kilmarnock. Pic shows Chris Horne (Managing Partner of Campbell Dallas) with Bill White and Donald Boyd and Nicola Campbell in the Kilmarnock office. Copyright Ashley Coombes/Epic Scotland 2016© Free for editorial use image, please credit: Ashley Coombes

L-R: Nicola Campbell, Me, Bill White and Donald Boyd on the day we incorporated W White & Co into Campbell Dallas

But in 2016 we are a firm of leaders and not all are accountants. Our support functions keep the firm running and we’ve expanded across facilities, marketing and administration too. New people and new ideas are part of propelling us forward together and developing our culture.

Being an attractive place to work is something we’ve worked hard on this year too. We’ve always been a flexible employer and we advocate flexible working and then we make it a reality. We have staff at all levels working hours and days that fit into their lives outside of work. Life isn’t confined to out with the 9-5, and vica versa. Being flexible helps us to develop a happy staff culture; it’s not your fault if the commute into work was extra busy today and you ended up being 15 minutes late. We’ve also made sure that what people get back is fair too and we are a living wage employer.

Success isn’t just about getting bigger, making more money or employing more staff. It’s also about what our firm stands for and what the bedrock of our culture is. In 2016 we formed the Campbell Dallas Foundation. Someone else who definitely was alive 40 years ago, my partner David Hunter, has always had a close affinity with helping others. This has always been part of our DNA, so it was a natural course to take in setting up the Foundation. The ethos is simple – support a range of causes that are dear to the people of Campbell Dallas. Since July funds from the Foundation have matched staff fundraising across all of our offices for 18 different good causes.

In January we installed one of Glasgow’s biggest rooftop solar arrays and to date we have offset over 25 tonnes of CO2 – despite the bad weather.

All in all it has been a year to be proud of and that pride should extend to every person who works here. Now it’s time to look forward to 2017. I look forward with hope and optimism.

Season’s greetings and best wishes to you and yours for the coming year.

Chris Horne, Managing Partner
0141 886 6644