Yorkshire's economy is showing resilience to Brexit uncertainty and people are getting on with business, according to the senior Yorkshire partner at accountancy giant EY.
Announcing strong annual results for the year to June 30, Suzanne Robinson, Yorkshire senior partner at EY, said the county has enjoyed market leading growth in 2017.
“The Yorkshire market is generally buoyant and is showing resilience to the uncertainty around Brexit – people have got on with business and are continuing to invest in innovative ways of working and embracing digital transformation," she said.
“Leeds is a self-confident city and we continue to see inward investment across the city region, with a particular increase in the number of projects from the digital sector."
EY reported UK fee income growth of 9 per cent to £2.35bn for the year to June 30. EY said it has added over £1.3bn of organic revenue since 2010.
Distributable profits before tax increased 2.7 per cent to £464m.
The performance of EY’s 370-strong Yorkshire practice, comprising offices in Leeds and Hull, was in line with the UK firm’s market leading growth during 2017.
“Leeds has also seen high-quality Grade A office space come online this last year," said Ms Robinson.
"Indeed, fashion brand Burberry moved 400 staff from its Business Services division - covering finance, HR, procurement, customer service and IT - into its new office in Leeds earlier this month.
“Although those investment decisions will have been made some time ago, seeing them come to fruition is another boost to city pride and confidence and here at EY we are seeing that confidence in our clients too."
She described the Hull office as an important part of the Yorkshire team and said it is embedded in the region's energy and renewables sectors.
“We have seen a real buzz in the city this year as it enjoys its status as UK City of Culture for 2017 and I am pleased by the recent announcement that the organisation set up to deliver Hull UK City of Culture 2017 is to carry on as a permanent national arts company based in the city," she said.
“That approach of capitalising on the knowledge and expertise it has gained as Culture Company to help ensure a lasting cultural legacy for Hull will pay dividends for all of those who live and work in the historic city.”
EY said its annual North Entrepreneur of the Year awards gave another opportunity for Yorkshire pride to shine through as four of the eight awards went to entrepreneurs from within the region. They included Di Walker, executive chair of Karro Food Group, who was crowned overall EY North Entrepreneur of the Year and a national winner in the Transformational Leader category.
The firm said business growth has enabled EY to invest in its people and during the year to the end of June the firm made six director promotions.
In April the firm recruited Vanessa Lee as tax director to lead its Private Client Services team in Yorkshire, Humber and the North East, working with entrepreneurs, high net worth individuals, families, family offices and trustees on complex tax planning.
Since the year end, EY has appointed two equity partners in the Yorkshire region, which it said was a sign of its commitment to developing its talent in the region. Catherine Reid is a partner in the Audit practice and Mark Irving is responsible for growing Yorkshire’s Financial Services Tax practice.
Across the North, EY has appointed two further partners: Hilary Heap who works across the region’s Transactions Advisory Services team focusing on valuation & business modelling, and Mark Clephan who will continue to lead on mergers and acquisitions.
Ms Robinson said: “Our strong performance in Yorkshire – which was in line with our market-leading UK growth – is underpinned by our continued commitment to this region and our investment in always ensuring we have the best people, with a range of diverse experiences and backgrounds.
“We have recruited Vanessa Lee, who is well-known in the marketplace, to grow our private client business and plan to further expand the team over the coming year. Another key focus for the next 12 months will be on growing the Yorkshire transactions business.”
Ms Robinson also leads EY’s Financial Accounting Advisory Services (FAAS) team across the North of England and Scotland, providing finance directors with solutions to financial reporting challenges, and has spent the last 10 years of her career based in Yorkshire.