Who we are
Originally founded in London in the 1920s, we have been based in Newmarket, the centre of British horseracing, since the mid 1980s.
Our offices are in a historic building just off the High Street, probably a coaching inn, which has housed different professional services firms for well over a century. It is a matter of record that our courtyard grapevine has been producing fruit on occasions for more than 70 years.
Inevitably, given our location, we have developed a particular expertise in the financial management needs of rural and equine businesses - although as we have grown we have also broadened into a general accountancy practice able to advise all types of businesses locally, nationally and internationally.
We are valued in the local community for our expertise, efficiency, approachability and the longevity of our client relationships - in some cases, we are advising the third generation in local family businesses.
While we are a long-established firm with a sound professional pedigree we don't look backwards. Instead, we keep constantly updated on all the financial issues affecting UK businesses. In addition to general accountancy services, we can assist you with business development and specialist tax services.
Our highly qualified, responsive and friendly team currently comprises:
John Stirrat FCCA
I came to Hardcastle Burton as Manager in 1998 after working, and qualifying, at Whitmarsh Sterland in Cambridge. In a way, becoming an Accountant was an easy decision as my father was a qualified Accountant in industry, and I have been fortunate in having a logical, mathematical brain that relishes puzzles and games requiring strategic thinking. I derive a great deal of satisfaction from solving client’s finance issues and being of help to them. Not everyone can understand the complex rules and regulations surrounding business and personal finance, so I feel I am doing a worthwhile and valued job. Day-to-day, I steer the course of the firm and currently supervise most of the corporate and charity work we do.
I think we have successfully created a firm in which people work hard, are appreciated and given the space to flourish. We are very keen that our team have enough time and energy outside of work to enjoy their lives - work should be a means to an end and not the end in itself. To put that philosophy into practice, and because I dislike it when people talk of Accountants and “boring” in the same breath, I have numerous ways to relax and keep both body and brain active. I am willing to try almost any sport and over the years have played most racquet sports (I am currently trying to improve my tennis) and am a keen if not very skilled golfer. I watch a wide range of sport on TV, from horse racing to football, enjoy reading, a good movie and playing cards. On the more cultural side, my partner and I visit stately homes and exhibitions - and she’s working hard to educate me on art history and art appreciation.
I really enjoy the variety of my role here, which includes being PA, office administrator, book-keeper and receptionist. I’ve seen a great many changes at Hardcastle Burton over the last couple of decades - from the old days of manual typing up all the accounts to today’s online filing. I have fond memories of late evenings spent trying to get the horse schedules for our stud clients to line up on the A3 printer! It was a great step forward when Philip introduced software for Accounts and Tax Returns. He encouraged me to learn Sage and Quickbooks, enabling me to do the book-keeping for a number of our clients. One of the pleasures of working here is the very good working environment, which encourages people to stay long-term. I love it that we have a good mix of clients who appreciate being able to drop into the office when in town and speak to one of our team. Outside work, I socialise a lot with family and friends and I always look forward to my holidays in the sun!
I started here in 1995 after finishing Sixth Form and handle a wide range of tasks including accounts preparation, payroll, bookkeeping and VAT returns covering most of our client base. This is a very rewarding place to work. There’s a really good team spirit and a supportive atmosphere for everyone. The management trust you to do your job, and give you the responsibility to get on with it, but they are always available to give advice or guidance if you need them.
Outside work I spend most of my time with my family. I have a young son who keeps me busy, but when I can I enjoy socialising with friends and playing or watching all kinds of sport, especially cricket and football.
Sarah Hill FCCA, BA (Hons)
I am a qualified FCCA accountant with over 20 years of experience. I have been with Hardcastle Burton since 2003 and enjoy working with a variety of clients from small to medium sized companies across a range of different industries. I really value being able to offer a personalised service and to establish good client relationships over a long period. It is also very fulfilling to be involved in all areas of accountancy work from tax, payroll, audit, statutory accounts and management accounts, and to work alongside my colleagues to find solutions to client problems. I also enjoy working with a wide range of accountancy computer packages, including QuickBooks, Sage, Excel (inc. VT), Iris payemaster and other Iris software. Outside of work I enjoy travelling (recent trips include a coast to coast USA tour) plus going to the theatre and cinema.