Q&A with James Hunt Managing Partner at Sagars

We sat for a Q&A with James Hunt, Managing Partner at Sagars to delve deeper into his role, to find out what makes us special and what the future holds not only for Sagars but also for AAB Group and…

James Hunt, Managing Partner at Sagars

Blog28th Nov 2023

By James Hunt

We sat for a Q&A with James Hunt, Managing Partner at Sagars to delve deeper into his role, to find out what makes us special and what the future holds not only for Sagars but also for AAB Group and more…

You became Managing Partner of Sagars earlier this year – can you give us a quick snapshot of your career at Sagars to date?

I joined Sagars as a graduate trainee in 2008, and it’s great looking back on all the changes that have happened since then! It’s great to be able to reflect on completing my professional qualifications and progressing consistently over the years. I was delighted to become a Partner last year and truly honoured to become Managing Partner this year. My day-to-day work with clients has enabled me to develop a broad range of experience too – my clients span a broad range of sectors and I have assisted them with audit, tax and business advisory. So to sum up my time at Sagars so far I’d say it’s been all about variety, and I’m sure that’s set to continue.

What are the key elements of your position?

A crucial part of the job is just making sure the team are cohesive, collaborative way, ensuring that we’re all pulling in the same direction, as well as helping to ensure that all the business units across the wider AAB Group are working towards a shared vision.

The role involves a fair bit of firefighting – which is where it’s important to rely on the team and make the best use of everyone’s skills and talents. We’re fortunate to have a very strong leadership team at Sagars – quite young and dynamic – with the likes of Gunhild Dam and Joel Topham coming through to Partner.

There are also plenty of things that crop up in my day-to-day that you may not necessarily think are things a Managing Partner does, but it’s all part of the role; I get stuck in and do a bit of everything.

What aspect of the future are you most excited about?

People. Nothing is more important than our people. The most important part of this role is making sure the team are happy, cohesive and working together to achieve their individual and our business goals. As part of AAB Group, it’s important that we’re all working towards a shared vision, and part of my role is to ensure we bring everyone together. We have a very strong leadership team at Sagars – quite young and dynamic – so it’s important for me to lean on them and make the best use of everyone’s skills and talents.

You said in your profile that Chris Jones, the previous Managing Partner, described the role as ‘one of the most exciting jobs in the firm.’ What aspect of it are you most excited about?

Again, it’s all about people and in particular their development. It’s always been a passion of mine and it’s my favourite part of what I do. I really enjoy helping people progress and develop, and in my new role I’ve got more scope to do this.

Is there anything new or different that you plan on implementing?

Well, having joined AAB Group around two years ago, there are ever-increasing opportunities and benefits of being part of AAB Group that I want to make the most of. It’s a really exciting time to be in the Managing Partner role as there are so many opportunities for both our clients and our team.

What’s the most important thing you do for your clients?

The most important thing I do for clients is being an all-round advisor. There are, of course, clients who rely on me for technical advice and accounting expertise, but there are also clients who come to me for support and advice with wider range of issues. One of the best parts of the job is the relationships you form with clients who trust you to support them throughout every stage of their business’ life cycle and through all the challenges life throws at them.

What do you think makes Sagars special?

Definitely the culture. Sagars has always had a very strong people-focused culture and that is that is generated from the team. The people we recruit, the way we work together and with our fantastic clients are all things contribute to making Sagars a fantastic and unique place to work.

How do you think Sagars will continue to adapt to changing landscapes over the next few years?

Technology is certain to play a significant role. One of the benefits of the merger has been that ability to leverage investment in technology to make us even more efficient in delivering our services.

Having the size and weight of a group like AAB Group behind us really gives us a strong platform to push forward, consolidate, and adapt to change. We’re able to pull from a wider pool of knowledge and experience from the fantastic teams and expert individuals across the wider group. We’re all able to continuously share the best processes, and the most efficient systems.

We’re not too far from a new year now! What do you think lies ahead for Sagars over the next 12 months? And beyond?

I think for us this year is all about pushing on with strengthening our integration with AAB Group for the benefit of our team and our clients! We’ve also got new service lines in Leeds, and the new Wealth team that I had the pleasure of starting this year, as well as fantastic opportunities to develop some of our other services.

For clients, the key benefit is Sagars being able to offer them that “large firm” capability but with local delivery. Having that that wider network of in-house services that we can provide to clients is invaluable, and at the same time, we’re able to do it in a ‘Sagars’ way. We are in Yorkshire after all! So, being able to offer down-to-earth, pragmatic, friendly, approachable client service with the wider background of technical expertise that the Group can offer is a perfect blend for our clients.

Being on this growth journey with AAB Group is a really exciting time. There are so many opportunities for our team to progress and develop. I’m looking forward to creating more momentum around building Leeds as a regional hub for all the services that the Group offers. I’d like to think in a year or so’s time, we’ll have more people in the team, more specialisms, and even more interesting and varied clients that we’re working with!

To find out more about James, visit his profile.

By James Hunt

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