For Business

Sutton Dental Practice case study

Making the leap: Associate to practice owner

It was very straight forward. I found it nice to get an email or phone call from Nigel just checking in and seeing how it was all going – it helped having someone to talk it through with, especially when you’re making the leap to become an employer…”

After working as an associate, Oliver Pierce decided that he wanted to make the leap to practice owner, eventually going on to purchase Sutton Dental Practice.

We spoke with Oliver and Hazlewoods dental experts, Nigel Utting, Director, and Lee Brinkworth, Manager, on how this all came to be and what was involved throughout the process.

Oliver, tell us a bit about your background which led you to working within dentistry?

My parents ran a large NHS family practice in Hull, so I was introduced to the industry by them. I did NHS foundation training and went on to work in my parent’s practice as an associate.

What did you need support with and why Hazlewoods?

Hazlewoods Dental team supported my parents with their accountancy and business advisory needs for three years and eventually helped them to sell their practice. They were instrumental in the sale and in achieving the best price for them. My parents commented on how Hazlewoods cared about the individual whilst seeing the bigger picture.

As I progressed in my career, I wanted to buy my own practice. With the family history of working with Hazlewoods, I reached out to the team to review my accounts for a prospective practice. They provided guidance on the buying process, the viability of various practices and accurate EBITDA valuations.

I also worked with Partner, Kyle Nethercott, from Hazlewoods Financial Planning regarding our family trust fund. That’s the beauty of Hazlewoods – it’s a one stop shop for everything that I need.

I was always quickly passed on to the right person throughout the process and they were also very useful in liaising with the solicitors. Lee Brinkworth supported me with capital allowances and ensuring my tax liabilities were minimised.

Nigel and Lee, how did you support Oliver from a Hazlewoods perspective and what was the outcome?

Our main aim is to support Oliver at every stage of his career, starting with tax structuring as a self-employed dental associate, leading on to getting the best price we could for his practice, and generally saving as much tax as possible.

We assisted him throughout the buying process, giving him the ammunition and confidence to negotiate. We also interpreted the financial jargon that can occur, making sure that financial matters were correct in the purchase agreement and that matters such as tax indemnities were worded properly.

Oliver successfully purchased the practice and our advice led to tax savings of over £10,000.

Oliver, what was the relationship like with Hazlewoods and how did you find the process of working together?

It was very straight forward. I found it nice to get an email or phone call from Nigel just checking in and seeing how it was all going – it helped having someone to talk it through with, especially when you’re making the leap to become an employer.

I found that you could strip away the labelling of ‘accountant’ or ‘financial adviser’. They became more than that by building a caring relationship. It always felt like a continuous service, with genuine advice, rather than a ‘product’.

What are your thoughts for the future?

I’m pleased with the successful purchase of my practice and I’m already thinking about next steps. I want to build and grow and do it all efficiently.

I’m enjoying the next stage of my career and the challenge it brings with it. I like having the autonomy to make decisions and being my own boss.

Nigel and Lee, how will you be supporting Oliver going forward?

We can assist Oliver in growing his practice in a number of ways, such as looking at sector performance via benchmarking. He may want to start expanding, possibly by moving premises. We can advise him on how to buy a bigger property and the best way to structure that investment.

Ultimately, we will be here to help grow Oliver’s independent career and we wish him the best of luck as that develops.

Meet the team

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