Azets expands Thames Valley team with additional senior hire

Neil Elsden of Azets

Azets, the UK’s largest regional accountancy and business advisor to SMEs, has boosted its expansion plans for the Newbury- and Reading-based Thames Valley team with the appointment of Neil Elsden as accounts and business advisory partner in the Newbury office.

Since qualifying in 2000, Neil has advised a wide range of businesses from startups to corporates on a variety of issues from the impact of changes in accounting standards on a company balance sheet, to strategic growth and exit planning.

At Azets he will focus on advising predominantly SME clients on financial accounts, strategic business planning and management accounts, across all sectors but with an interest in and focus on engineering and manufacturing, retail and wholesale sectors.

Neil undertook his accountancy training with Griffins, the predecessor firm to Wilkins Kennedy which rebranded as Azets in 2020.

Immediately prior to joining Azets Neil was finance director for a pet food manufacturer and a small estate agency group. This experience enabled him to gain insight into all aspects of business accounting in two very different organisations. He has also been a partner at RSM and ran his own successful practice.

“I have always taken a keen interest in not just the financial results of the clients I work with but the operation of the business and helping to plan changes to increase efficiency and drive growth. I am delighted to be working with such a forward-looking firm, having by coincidence worked previously with companies who are now part of the Azets business,” said Neil.

The appointment is one of several senior staff that Azets plans to make this year in the Thames Valley, including two further partners and a director as well as other staff.

It follows last year’s relocation and expansion of its office in London Road, Newbury, in order to capitalise on the booming local economy and is part of a long-term strategy to grow the Azets business both in the Thames Valley and across the South East.

Kevin Walmsley, Azets’ regional managing partner, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Neil to our expanding South region where I am sure his extensive expertise and many years of experience in audit, advisory, outsourcing and tax from working with SMEs and individuals from other practices in the area, will make him a very valuable asset to our growing office.

“The recently-acquired new office space in Newbury which underwent an extensive programme of refurbishment costing around £350,000 and extends to over 6,000 square feet will give us the capacity to deliver our exciting expansion plans and continue to hire a wide range of talent from across the South East, including expanding our established graduate and trainee recruitment programme.

“The investment demonstrates our commitment to our Newbury and Thames Valley clients and the town, as well as to providing a great working environment with some fantastic career opportunities for staff.”

The business is on target to continue to increase the number of staff in Newbury over the next 12 months who, with the new investment, will enjoy a smart, agile 21st century working environment with extensive car parking. The firm is actively looking to hire several more staff in Newbury, including several at senior level.

All employees will be offered the chance to participate in the firm’s new hybrid agile working model.