Interview – Jon Marchant, Director at Mazars

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BLM met with Jon Marchant – Director at Mazars – to find out more about the firm and his views on the economy and the region.

Can you tell readers more about Mazars?

 “Mazars is an international accountancy firm. Our structure is very simple really – we act as an integrated firm across 77 countries, with more than 17,000 staff. We have 19 offices in the UK alone.”

So what about the history of the firm?

“Mazars was founded in the 1940’s in France, by Robert Mazars. It was a values-based business right from the start, in terms of quality of client service and integrity of advice.

“The firm expanded as regulations changed in France. It looked to expand overseas and sought partners to work with and companies to merge with overseas. In 1998, Mazars merged with one of Britain’s leading independent firms, Neville Russell.”

What are the core sectors you work in?

“In the South West, our focus is privately owned businesses, the not-for-profit sector, and the education sector. It is often driven by the region you are based in, but outside of our core sectors we work with a wide range of firms.”

With privately owned businesses is there a particular size of business or sector you work with?

“Historically, our focus has probably been in the £5m to £50m turnover bracket and that’s really the kind of area of business where we do most of our work in this office.

“But we also help businesses who are smaller than that with a slightly different range of services, such as running or maintaining their accounting department or helping them produce their accounts and give business advice.

“We work particularly well with owner managed businesses and entrepreneurial firms, because they value our approach of using local experienced advisors who are backed with deep specialist knowledge in the wider firm; and because we work across international borders.”

What do you think are the traits of a true entrepreneur?

“Drive and the ability to take calculated risk are common. I think people always say entrepreneurs are risk takers, but I don’t think they necessarily are, they just have the drive and the self-confidence to push through an idea when they know it’s good and they’re passionate about what they do.”

As a firm you’ve led on the issue of modern slavery – can you tell readers more about this?

“It’s a new act of parliament which requires larger businesses (those with turnover above £36m) to consider whether any slavery or human trafficking is occurring in their supply chain. It challenges businesses to widen their procurement policies to consider the human impact of their approach to purchasing goods and services, not just focus on price, quality and continuity of supply.

“We feel that the impact will be wider than the legislation implies. We are seeing examples of smaller businesses being asked if they comply with the Act as part of a tender process. We think this will increase the requirement for SMEs to re-think their own supplier due diligence approach if they want to sell to larger businesses.

“This could prove time-consuming or costly for those with overseas supply chains, and so we have been working with businesses to create an appropriate risk-based response to complying with the Act.”

What impact do you think the referendum decision will have on the economy?

“The short answer right now is that we do not know. However, my view is that businesses like to plan and to enable them to plan effectively they need certainty. We are currently in a period of uncertainty, and that will continue until negotiations over the terms of our exit start and we can start to understand what the post-EU position will be.

“The impact will be different for every business, and we are spending time at the moment talking to our clients to fully understand the potential implications for each of them. I am confident that the business community is resilient and will adapt quickly to whatever the post-Brexit world brings.”

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