Buzzacott is a top 20 accountancy firm. We’ve been operating for more than 100 years and celebrated our big century anniversary in 2019. Over that time, we’ve sustainably reached 500 staff, which has enabled us to retain the culture of a smaller firm, with the team (ordinarily) all based out of the same London HQ.
Our approach is very much to align ourselves with the client like a collaborative partner, which we do through focused teams geared to the specific sector of the companies we work with. In the Technology and Media team, which I head up, we’re a one-stop shop for financial advice to support fast-growth companies. Clients include a raft of scaleups in retail tech, proptech, fintech, SaaS, VR, ecotech and beyond, so we’re very much focused on the future.
What’s the most compelling part of operating within the scaleup space?
As a partner in the Corporate and Business Services division and the Tech and Media team lead, I have the pleasure of meeting highly driven and innovative entrepreneurs. Supporting scaleups means I’m able to witness their plans, vision and creativity, and then provide my guidance around the financial steps they can take to achieve their targets and growth objectives.
Whether it’s helping with international expansion, achieving an acquisition, securing investment, or generally improving their financial hygiene, it’s rewarding to help make their dreams a reality. Scaling up isn’t a straightforward journey, so being there alongside founders for the highs and lows and then come out on the other side is incredibly satisfying.
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Can you talk about the challenges tech scaleups are facing in this current market and what opportunities they have ahead?
The main challenge for tech companies has been accessing finance, despite the abundance of capital, and innovation, in the tech space. Many VCs have been hesitant to continue investing in their usual fashion, with the pandemic adding more than the usual amount of risk to investments. This has meant businesses have had an increased level of uncertainty to contend with.
However, the opportunity for leaders has been taking stock of the situation and planning for the future with robust detail to ensure that they’re as prepared for what’s to come as possible. Taking time out for this isn’t always easy when spinning different plates daily, so having a business structure that works well for expansion is essential. Another benefit that growing businesses have is the agility to move at pace, which is something more corporate firms don’t have at their disposal.
For example, our Corporate Finance team successfully completed more M&A deals in the past quarter than ever, with many scaleups keen to exit at speed ahead of the Budget. Finally, another area for room to succeed is around international growth. While international borders would have been difficult to manage previously, increased appetite for remote working has broken down barriers and opened the door for companies to test new markets.
Based on what you’re seeing at Buzzacott, which tech sectors look to show the most promise in the future and why?
The past 15 months of intermittent lockdowns really lit the fuse for the e-commerce space to explode and it shows no signs of easing. Etsy’s $1.6bn acquisition of Depop this month demonstrates the significance of the market and the way in which the space looks set to evolve further still in the months to come. SaaS is another area that has huge potential for growth.
Again, supercharged by the pandemic, on the consumer side we’ve seen the increased adoption of streaming services – something we can all relate to. In the workplace, there’s mass appreciation for digital workplace technology, which brings on more need for considerations around security and data management, and SaaS shines here – supported especially by the wealth of skills in the UK.
Creative tech is also rising and I’m seeing a lot of developments coming from digital agencies and around post-production technology. This is in line with Tech Nation’s 2021 CreaTech report, which found CreaTech companies in the UK raised nearly £1bn in VC investment in 2020, a 22% increase from 2019. This is an incredibly exciting time to be working in the tech space.