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ABDO sets sights on global expansion

Posted: June 13, 2011

Since then, ABDO has grown rapidly and the Association currently represents over 5,300 qualified dispensing opticians in the United Kingdom (around 95 per cent), in addition it has over 1,700 student and 600 Associate members as well as around 700 members overseas.

ABDO currently employs staff in its London headquarters, at its Crowborough publishing office, in the CET office in Colchester, as well as the Membership Services, Marketing, Examinations and Registration departments based in Godmersham in Kent. It was the relocation of the latter department which saw the Association move its accounts to Burgess Hodgson in 2001.

“We approached several accountancy firms, but Burgess Hodgson stood out from the competition,” says Mr Pavanakumar, chief financial officer. “We were impressed by the firm’s reputation and the quality of work it could offer.”

Initially, Burgess Hodgson advised ABDO on how to set up its accounting systems, as well as carrying out the Association’s audit. “But if we need any specialist advice, we also go to Burgess Hodgson,” says Mr Pavanakumar. “For example, we had an issue concerning VAT recently and Burgess Hodgson was able to provide very clear advice which we subsequently implemented.”

It has been a fruitful relationship, and Mr Pavanakumar is no doubt about the quality of work that Burgess Hodgson has provided. “The firm has excellent knowledge of a wide range of accounting issues, and the skillsets of the partners are all complementary,” he says. “The firm’s advice is always of the highest quality, and its expertise is wide-ranging, from Corporation Tax through to audit and general business advice.”

He has also been impressed with the access to Burgess Hodgson partners, something which he feels might not be so forthcoming with other practices. “A partner will actually come to see us, and advise us on whether there’s any room for improvement, and if there is, we would be happy to implement it,” he says.

Looking to the future, Burgess Hodgson is likely to play an integral role in the development of ABDO, as it seeks to grow its membership worldwide. “Given our high representation in the UK, we obviously have limited room for growth here,” says Pavan. “But at the moment, what we are trying to do is promote our qualification overseas. We recently started something in India, where there is huge potential for growth, as well as looking at initiatives in Malaysia and New Zealand. Our growth is mainly going to be through overseas operations, and Burgess Hodgson will be able to help us with focused business advice.”