A coffee break with RMT Accountants

For this week’s coffee break, we sat down with Julie Cuthbertson, Corporate Finance Manager at RMT Accountants. Founded over 70 years ago, RMT is one of the largest accountancy practices and business advisors in the North East. They offer the more intimate relationship you’d find with a local business alongside the high quality and breadth of services you’d expect from the Big 4 firms. Julie spoke with us about how RMT manages and nurtures its customer relationships and how it invests in its staff to continue to keep its standards high.  

Can you describe RMT in a nutshell?   

RMT is an independent accountancy practice based in the North East. We’ve got over 70 years of experience, and in terms of our history, this team has always offered exceptional service to SMEs across the region and further afield. So, whilst we’re based in the North East, we do command a client base that’s nationwide. 

We are known for being approachable, and we build strong connections with all our clients to understand them and their needs. We get to truly know them and support them through every stage their business goes through.  

Behind all of that, we want everybody to see success in their life. I think that’s what really drives our ethos in supporting the client base and our staff, from school leavers who join on an apprenticeship right through to the senior leadership team. 

What makes RMT different, particularly in contrast to the Big 4 accountancy firms?    

We don’t think of ourselves as an accountancy firm. Obviously, we can offer the traditional compliance services that you’d expect an accountant to do, but we really pride ourselves on being a long-term trusted advisor to our client base. We’ll really take time to understand the client’s needs, and we tailor them to suit. We’re a large independent firm that’s really accelerating and growing its offering.  

We don’t just want to see our clients once a year to support with year-end accounts and returns. We really want to establish a relationship that extends beyond the transactional nature of accountancy. We want to make sure our clients feel supported and make sure that they know we understand their business and are offering bespoke, tailored solutions to whatever it is that they’re facing. 

We recognise the Big 4 as competition. We offer many of the same services, including audit, tax, corporate finance and restructuring support and many other specialist support services. Where we’re different is that when you engage with a senior manager at RMT, you’ll likely have a lot of contact with them. We encourage input across all levels of our teams, and our clients can rest assured that they will receive the same high standard of support throughout their journey with us. Our support will grow with their business. 

Our clients notice the extra effort we put in. The fact that we’re not a Big 4 firm plays to our strength in the North East. Our target market is North East SMEs, and so are we. 

Tell us how RMT balances both the accountancy and business advice strands of its services.  

We do have clients who will only require services from one department, but in reality, if you’re a client, you’re a client of the whole firm. As such, you can dip into every service offering we provide as needed. Business advisory underpins everything we do. So, whether that’s a year-end tax return or a one-off piece of tax advice, there will always be an element of talking through the commercial impact of a whole project. If it becomes clear that we can help with additional services, we will bring in support from other parts of the firm. We really try to foster an environment where accountancy and business advisory services work hand in hand. 

What are RMT’s biggest areas of expertise after 70 years of operating?  

I would say that all of our departments are experts in their fields, but we do have certain specialisms we’re known for.  

For a long time, we’ve had a very strong reputation in the healthcare sector, and we have one of the largest healthcare books in terms of compliance and tax. We have clients in medical and dental practices, GPs and care homes. And that particular part of our expertise is nationwide; it isn’t just regional.  

Then, from a corporate finance point of view, we have a full-service offering and continue to work on some of the most complex transactions in the region. We really push ourselves to deliver in terms of both transaction volumes and the complexity of the work we take on. 

We have a great reputation in tax planning, audit and assurance and technology.  We’ve also got an excellent recovery and insolvency department that continues to grow. 

We continue to put clients first and deliver. So, I think the biggest edge for us is how we simplify stuff that is quite scary and complicated into something that’s much more manageable for our clients to understand. 

How does RMT maintain the professional standards of its employees today?  

We make professional development a huge priority for our employees so that we’re always sharpening our skills through continuous learning. Everybody is challenged and given the responsibility to maintain values of integrity, and the client always comes first. A collaborative and supportive work environment is key to making sure that the team remain motivated and, as a result, will deliver a great service. 

We’re also constantly taking feedback from clients to keep those service levels high and to continuously improve. One of the biggest testaments is that we often receive referrals from our clients to help their friends, family and business associates. For us, there’s nothing more tangible than taking a referral in from a client to confirm that we’re doing a good job. 

How does RMT promote the growth of its customers through its services?

From a corporate finance point of view, we always want to see somebody grow because we’re interested in supporting ambitious businesses. But we do promote the fact that growth is not just about numbers.  

We take the time to understand what the client wants out of their business, and our services and contact points are designed to provide the financial insight they need for their growth and also to give strategic guidance. This then helps them achieve their longer-term goals.  

We do this by identifying cost-saving opportunities, optimizing some of their processes, or just working with them alongside their growth strategies. We can also support them by opening up our vast network of other professional contacts who can help them further. 

Can you tell us about the work RMT is doing to champion regional businesses and local charities? 

Collectively, our team are often working on different charitable challenges. Recently, a few team members ziplined off the Tyne Bridge to raise money for a local charity called The Sunshine Fund. We sponsor local golf days, charity events and sports teams. With a team of around 100 people, we’ve all got different causes we want to support, and we have a charity board to help us decide what to take part in next. I’m personally involved with Smart Works, a charity that helps people in their careers with coaching and access to professional clothing. 

We focus on making RMT a part of the community and actively participate in the local Chamber of Commerce and the North East Entrepreneur’s Forum. We also host different events that give an opportunity for people to network and learn from other entrepreneurs and business leaders who have taken risks. 

RMT shows the value of building a strong reputation and involvement in your community as a local business. We’ve partnered with RMT to help connect their customers with loans when they need funding, and our partnerships programme is all about connecting businesses to lending solutions at the right time.  

For information on becoming a partner, you can get started on our partnerships page. And for personal stories from the businesses we’ve supported, check out our customer success stories.