Beachcroft, which entered merger talks with Davies Arnold Cooper at the end of the past financial year, saw growth slow last year and turnover rose by 2.3 per cent, from £131m to £134m.
Turnover (£m): 134
Average PEP: 338
Equity spread (£k):229-624
Profit margin (%): 19
RPL (£k): 186
Vision – Execution – Governance –
This compares with an 8.2 per cent increase in the previous year, from £121m to £131m. Net profit also improved only marginally, up 1.6 per cent, from £25m to £25.4m following a 1.1 per cent dip the previous year to £25.3m.
Beachcroft is one of many firms operating in the insurance markets, where profit margins have been on a downward spiral for several years. Back in 2006-07, when the firm posted a turnover of £112m, the profit margin stood at 27 per cent. A year later it
was down to 23 per cent, falling again at the 2008-09 year-end to 21 per cent. For the past two years it has hovered around the 19 per cent mark.
When a firm is working in a space where margins are under intense pressure, it needs a management team that is thinking outside the box. For Beachcroft the past year has been about putting in place the efficiencies needed to help boost that profit margin.
The hire of chief operating officer Janet Scott in November 2009 by senior partner Simon Hodson and managing partner Paul Murray was intended to do just that. The firm has introduced new software aimed at streamlining work practices and has improved its average work-in-progress by four days to 80. There is still some way to go, but Beachcroft looks to be moving in the right direction.