Words by Ged Cosgrove, group managing partner
50 years ago today, when Fred Champion opened the doors to the first Champion office, the UK economy faced strikes and the highest unemployment rates since World War II. Half a century later, the pandemic may have caused turbulence beyond anything we could have imagined back then, but, as our 50 years in business have shown us, focus, good management and effective planning can result in a smooth journey back.
Experience matters, and we’ve all certainly had plenty of it over the past 18 months! We’ve seen inspiring resilience, determination and creativity from across the business community, and our team are immensely proud to have served businesses that have worked so hard to pivot and remain successful. There are signs of calmer waters and brighter vistas ahead, and we will continue to help our clients navigate the best route forward.
As we turn 50, it’s not just pushing through the extraordinary experience of the pandemic that’s giving us cause for celebration; we’re honouring the experience of our team too. I’m topping the charts as one of the longest serving members of the Champion team with 36 years under my belt (I started young!) but I’m not alone in counting my years of service by the decade. Several of the Champion team have been with the business for 30+ or 20+ years, providing consistency to clients (many of whom have been with us for decades too!), along with a wealth of knowledge.
We have nurtured talent and experience over the years by training our own people and rewarding excellence. Our ACCA-approved Accounting Trainee Programme has been instrumental in developing hundreds of professionals; several of whom started with us as trainees and are now directors; not to mention those high flyers within industry or those who have gone on to commence their own entrepreneurial venture. Much has changed in terms of the types of businesses we work with and the financial challenges they face over the past 50 years, but our commitment to developing our team has never wavered. We’re certain some of today’s trainees will be Champion directors of the future.
And our culture of giving back is not limited to our own team either. Over the years we have been committed to raising funds to support a wide variety of charities and, for our 50th birthday, we aim to raise a sum worthy of celebration. The whole team is keen to take part and, as events are re-established following the end of COVID restrictions, we’ll be signing up to run, walk and cycle our way to our anniversary charity targets.
Across the half century since Fred Champion first established J.F. Champion & Co in 1971, we’ve been a company that offers expert advice and a friendly service to help businesses thrive and people to prosper. The current team is carrying forward a remarkable 50-year legacy and I’d like to thank all our team, past and present, for their knowledge and commitment. We also owe a debt of gratitude to our clients, for your loyalty and trust over the decades. Our business is built on those relationships and, across all our offices, it is the ability to help you succeed that is the greatest prize of all.