ASM accountants hit the road to toast 20 years of success
From interests in laser physics to farming, the founders of accountancy firm ASM are an eclectic bunch.
Norman Adams, Stephen Sproule and Michael McAllister established the business in 1995 and are still very much part of the firm today.
Stephen and Norman had a family background in farming, and all three of the founding partners studied at Queen's University. Stephen gained a degree in business administration, Norman in economics - and Michael a PhD in laser physics.
The trio then worked together at Coopers and Lybrand (now PwC) at senior management level. At the time the firm had some 700 partners across the UK. Stephen, Norman and Michael decided that this path was not for them and spotted a real opportunity to set up an accountancy firm focused on high growth businesses that needed a high degree of personal service.
And they did just that. Stephen Sproule said: "From day one, Norman [Adams], Michael [McAllister] and I had a vision to be one of the leading accountancy firms in the country with the ability to work in both jurisdictions, north and south.
"The business grew very quickly in the early days. In fact, on several occasions we simply couldn't hire staff quickly enough to satisfy our client demand.
"We soon established a reputation as a provider of professional services around the Belfast area, and subsequently Magherafelt, which broadened our reach into new markets offering more specialist requirements to our clients.
"The acquisition of local firm, Robinson & Co gave us our base in Dungannon - and, alongside Magherafelt, that gives us a very strong presence in mid-Ulster area."
ASM has grown rapidly and now has offices in Belfast, Dublin, Dundalk, Dungannon, Magherafelt and Newry.
The firm, employing 160 people, specialises in a range of accountancy disciplines including corporate finance, audit and accounting, internal audit, consultancy services, taxation, hotels, tourism and leisure, insolvency and forensic accounting.
ASM made a definitive step into the Republic of Ireland in September 2009, with its merger with O'Hare Finnegan. Directors, Michael O'Hare and Ian Finnegan remained within the firm and heading up the Dundalk and Newry offices.
And they're celebrating two decades in business with an Ireland-wide seminar series known as the Cross Border Bureau in partnership with InterTradeIreland.
"Our most recent initiative sees all six of our offices partner with InterTradeIreland to launch our Cross Border Bureau seminar series.
"Travelling across the country, the series, which is open to all businesses from all sectors, will focus on matters of business growth, specifically taxation, payroll, pensions and Vat, with emphasis on the issues faced by those companies and business people that have interests in both jurisdictions."
The firm takes around 15 graduates every year on a graduate programme.
The free Cross Border Bureau seminars will be in Belfast this Thursday, Cookstown on September 24, Omagh on September 29, Ennsikillen on October 7, Dundalk on October 8, Dungannon on October 22, and Londonderry on November 5.
For more information, visit www.asmaccountants.com. Next week we begin a new series on the province's best-known retailers, beginning with Corries Butchers