A Stratford accountant whose dream was always to be a partner when he hit his early thirties has achieved his goal.

Luke Bryan joined town accountancy practice Leigh Graham Associates as an 18-year-old school leaver in 2007, later qualifying as a fully-fledged chartered accountant.

And now, at the age of 31, he has become the third equity partner in the 14 strong John Street firm.

He joins founders Leigh Day and Graham Beach whose ability to talent spot when they set up the business 14 years ago has paid off.

“It was always my dream to be a partner in my early thirties,” said Luke. “When I went for an interview in my teens at an old school practice in Birmingham they looked at me in horror when I told them. Leigh and Graham have a much more refreshing approach and have always supported me in my ambition.” 

Luke is looking forward to helping the practice offer its strategic business advice and accountancy services to a wider pool of businesses, to add to its existing stable which ranges from large multinational organisations to small local firms.

He says the most satisfying part of his job is making a difference to the lives of the individuals who run the businesses with whom he, Leigh and Graham work.

“Seemingly little things can make a difference. For example, we may save one client £1,000 in tax, which enables him to go on holiday. For another, suddenly their business blossoms and we need to find ways to save tax and grow wealth by perhaps increasing pension contributions, shareholding restructuring or investing in capital equipment.

“We know what we do is great and we’d like to be able to offer our expertise to help people who need it.

“Clients tell us that as well as helping them develop their business and manage their financial affairs they also appreciate how supportive and approachable we are.”

“I’m so pleased to be committed to a firm I value, respect and relate to. It’s another step on the path that I had planned out.”

One of the firm’s two founding partners, Leigh Day, explained: “We knew Luke had something extra about him when we employed him as an 18-year-old audit and accounts junior. He was a young man absolutely dedicated to a life in accountancy. And he has the knack of getting on with everyone in the team and all the clients. 

“And it’s these personal skills combined with our expertise which I think makes us stand out as a firm. We manage to combine expertise in our professional life with approachability. We’re very much looking forward to working alongside Luke as a fellow partner.”

Since joining the firm Luke has married and he and his wife have three young children to prevent him from being bored when he’s not at work. 

  •  Luke Bryan, who has been promoted to equity partner at Stratford accountancy firm Leigh Graham Associates, will work alongside fellow partners Leigh Day and Graham Beach

This week’s Budget has thrown out a lifeline to many Stratford businesses and will help its world-famous leisure and hospitality sector get back on its feet once lockdown eases says town accountancy firm Leigh Graham Associates.

Partner at the John Street firm, Leigh Day, says the furlough extension, continued VAT cuts for the hospitality sector, tax relief on investment and a financial boost for theatres are all vital to support individual businesses and the economy as a whole.

“Obviously these sectors have been hard hit across the country, but with Stratford such a focus for tourism and culture the impact of Covid on pubs, restaurants and holiday accommodation means a large chunk of the local economy has been badly affected.

“The continuing freeze on VAT at 5 per cent may provide a little relief to them as they start to reopen in the spring, while the £400 million arts recovery fund will hopefully provide some help for our much-loved RSC.

“The continuation of the furlough scheme is of course vital both for the individuals who are unable to work at the moment and for the businesses employing them. These organisations perhaps now have the confidence to plan their reopening over the coming weeks and months.”

Leigh also welcomes Rishi Sunak’s so-called ‘super deduction’ for investing in certain capital equipment.

The measure provides allowances of 130 per cent on most new plant and machinery investments which ordinarily qualify for 18 per cent allowances.

“Over the past year we have been helping many local businesses adapt to the very different world in which we now find ourselves. This has been a combination of helping them reshape their businesses to adapt, accessing the various grants and funding available and deciding on the best approach to furlough. 

“The coming months will now also see us helping some of our clients look into capital investments which will not only enable their businesses to grow, but will also reduce their tax bills and even provide additional revenue from the government.”