Scotland-based accountancy firm Reid and Fraser has become employee owned by establishing an employee ownership trust (EOT) as of this month (November).
Established in 1915, the accountancy firm has offices in both Thurso and Wick. All of its shares have now been placed into an EOT, which will allow all 17 of its employees to have a stake in the business.
With guidance from employee ownership specialists, Lindsays Solicitors and Ownership Associates on the structure and engagement with employees, Reid & Fraser transitioned to the trust under the sector regulator ICAS. Long-serving employees Steven MacGregor and Linda Cameron will join director Stuart Walker in an enhanced management team.
According to Walker, the move to employee ownership will allow it to continue its focus on delivering “excellent” services to its pool of local clients. Having spent 25 years at the business, he saw other firms within the region bought over and relocated, which left local professionals with little options, therefore felt it was important to maintain its independence.
He explained that it was an easy decision to make, as the organisation has loyal employees who have developed relationships with clients, so adopting employee ownership felt like the obvious route to take and secures the future of the firm.
“This move will hopefully give both our senior and our junior accountants, and perhaps those looking to make the move to Reid & Fraser, a clear path of progression to director level and a sense of stability that may not be present at other firms.
“To think of selling or merging the practice didn’t sit right with me because there would always be that uncertainty surrounding the future for our staff and clients should there be a merger or relocation. However, with employee ownership it shifts the control and emphasis of the business to those which matter most, the staff,” Walker said.