Accountancy firm Cooper Parry praises entrepreneurial spirit of CDS’ new directors

News | November 2020

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Rebel accountancy firm Cooper Parry has published a glowing testimonial to the entrepreneurial spirit of the directors who took over at the helm of CDS in the summer.

Simon Cashmore and Simon Abley have brought to their previous business ventures is anything to go by, the future of CDS looks very rosy indeed!

He and Simon Abley grew their last business, outdoor services specialist TCL Group, 14-fold in the 12 years between acquiring it and selling it to European giant idverde last year.

In an article written for the self-styled ‘disruptive, mould breaking’ accountancy company as part of its series on entrepreneurs, its relationship partner Peter Sterling heaps praise on CDS’ new chairman Simon Cashmore.

“I saw straight away that the entrepreneurial spirit lay deep within his DNA,” said Peter, who met Simon C initially in 2006.

“We’ve always loved working with Simon and his long-time business colleague Simon Abley. They have been all-round ‘good guys’ to work with!”

He describes Simon Cashmore as a demanding leader with great attention to detail and a passion for driving change.

“Even in 2008 when the financial crash brought the housing market to a grinding halt, Simon and his management team at TCL never lost belief in the business. It came back strongly, and Simon led a number of carefully researched acquisitions to broaden not only the geographical spread of the company but the ranges of services it offered.

“It says a lot for Simon that in many cases the vendors of the businesses acquired remained with the group post-acquisition,” he said.

And this model is continuing with CDS, whose co-founders Martin Iliffe and Tony Mikunda remain firmly on the board as shareholding directors, alongside the firm’s existing, highly qualified team of engineers and salespeople.

The two Simons are replicating the successful ‘buy and build’ model they used at TCL Group at CDS. They aim to grow the business organically and buy companies within the wider compliance sector over the next few years to offer a broader range of services to existing customers and expand their geographical reach.

“The recession in 2008 taught us that having a business heavily aligned to a specific sector wasn’t sensible. So we set out to find a broader range of clients operating in different markets. We rapidly diversified by buying other complementary services. We became good at buying businesses and dramatically improving their profitability,” explained Simon Cashmore.

“We hit on our own little model. We found businesses we thought were doing a genuinely good job for their customers. We then spent a lot of time with the owners to make sure that we were buying businesses with similar values to us so they would integrate well. Then we cross-sold a broad range of services to these new customers,” he added.

Having got their feet well and truly under the CDS table the tireless Simons are now proactively looking into ways to augment the service offering there and interested in talking to other owner-managed companies in the fire compliance sector looking for their next move.