GEM Integrated Solutions Ltd - Peter Barratt

Peter Barratt rarely takes a cold call but a spur of the moment decision to do just that has led to a successful working relationship with HB&O.

As financial director at GEM Integrated Solutions, Peter had been growing increasingly frustrated with the quality of advice he was receiving from the company’s existing accountants.

He says: “It was pure coincidence. Only the day before HB&O called, I had been thinking ‘Why am I putting up with this from our accountants?’ So when they rang, I accepted the call and we progressed from there to a meeting. 

“I was suitably impressed with what they were offering – both with their people and pricewise, which was much better than our existing accountants – and we have been very happy with HB&O over the four years since then.”

Warwick-based GEM is made up of three strands – GEM Electric Motor Repairs, GEM Transmissions and Viking Vibramotors – which together offer what the company describes as providing “engineering solutions to impossible problems, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.” 

The company was founded by managing director Geoff Manning in 1982, with Peter originally working for just a couple of hours a week. He came on board full-time in 1988 as the company grew and over the years GEM has expanded to a peak of 50 employees.

It has now slimmed down again to a workforce of around 25 and since HB&O came on board in 2009, GEM has seen both good and challenging years, reflecting the fortunes of its clients in a difficult economic climate.

As a result, Geoff and Peter have particularly appreciated HB&O’s ongoing input on tax issues. Peter says: “What is really useful to us is their advice on the most tax-efficient ways of running the company and what and when we should be doing.”

Other HB&O services include annual accounts preparation, looking after Geoff’s personal tax matters and advice on personal finances.

And with Peter thinking about retirement in the next 12 months or so they are also looking at working with HB&O on personal retirement issues and planning for GEM’s future, probably using additional services offered by HB&O.