One of Swindon’s longest serving accountancy professionals, Mike Shawyer, has retired after 45 years at MHA Monahans.
Mike joined MHA Monahans as a trainee accountant in 1974 at the age of 19 and worked his way up through the ranks to become a Partner in 1985 and subsequently Managing Partner in 1996. He led the firm through some of the most exciting years, both for the profession and for the business itself.
When Mike joined Monahans, as it was named in 1974, the firm was based in the Newport Street offices they still have today but computerisation hadn’t yet reached the profession.
Mike explained: “When I started in 1974 we only had one adding machine for the whole office and so almost all the work was done by hand or mental arithmetic. It meant that the job was a lot more labour intensive with checking and re-checking figures, but also we didn’t have things like self-assessment tax return deadlines to worry about! It wasn’t until the early 80s that we began to computerise, and initially that meant that we only had one computer which was used by one data entry person for the whole office. Things have moved on considerably now, with our sophisticated integrated systems and each member of staff having two screens per desk.”
The firm has also changed significantly during Mike’s time. Whereas Monahans had just three offices in the 70s, MHA Monahans is now spread across the South West with offices in Swindon, Trowbridge, Chippenham, Bath, Melksham, Glastonbury, Frome and Taunton, with the added benefit of the Monahans Wealth Management division too. Mike oversaw the business becoming part of MHA, a UK-wide association of independent accountancy firms, and the global network of Baker Tilly International, opening up opportunities for the business as well as career progression and specialism potential for the firm’s employees.
Mike added: “I started as a trainee and in those days the opportunities for specialising were very limited. I was initially responsible for audit, accounts and personal tax work and then over the years developed specialisms in VAT and rural businesses. I still tell today’s trainees not to go down one route too early as a broad knowledge base is very important. The opportunities for young people joining MHA Monahans today are considerable, including the possibility of overseas secondments thanks to our membership of Baker Tilly International. Things have certainly changed in 40 years!”
Mike handed over the reins of the business to current Managing Partner Simon Tombs in 2016. “Simon and the executive team are very forward looking and I know that the firm is in safe hands. I’m proud to have been part of the success of MHA Monahans over the past 45 years, to have helped take the business in new directions such as the addition of Monahans Wealth Management, and to have opened new offices across the region. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this growth continue over the next few years and even expansion further into the South West and the opportunities this would bring.
“One of the most important things I’ve learnt from my time at MHA Monahans is that you should strive to work with people you like, both as clients and colleagues, and to always treat people with respect. The team at MHA Monahans have become more than colleagues to me and collectively we share our professional and personal highs and lows – the people here are really what makes the firm great and help continue our success.”
Managing Partner Simon Tombs said: “Mike has been a guiding light for MHA Monahans and his valued contribution over the last 45 years has done so much to cement our position as a well-known and well-regarded friend and adviser to businesses and organisations across the South West. Mike is a familiar face in the business community in Swindon and beyond and we wish him the best of luck for his retirement.”
Mike will be spending his retirement making the most of his family, which includes three young grandchildren. He has plenty of travel plans, including following Swindon Town Football Club with his wife Linda to as many away games as possible, and he plans to continue playing competitive bowls.