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A History of Browne Craine – Accountancy Firm celebrating 65th Anniversary

BC directors

As Browne Craine & Co reaches a milestone year, we look back at how the business started 65 years ago…

Tucked away on Peel Road, Burleigh Manor is the home of local Chartered Accountancy practice, Browne Craine & Co. Established by the late Ron Browne in 1954, the firm continues to provide a wide range of accountancy, taxation and business advisory services for all sizes of companies, with their clients ranging from individual sole traders to large corporations. Their services also include liquidation and insolvency solutions, and through their sister company Browne Craine Associates Limited, a full range of audit services.

The firm, which is led by directors David Craine, Craig Mitchell, Basil Bielich, Lynsey Smith and James Sayle, has enjoyed contributing to the growth of the Isle of Man and supporting the local community over the last 65 years. Between them, the directors have in excess of 120 years’ of service within the firm. Continuity of service is something Browne Craine prides itself on and having familiar leadership gives the right message to its staff and clients alike.

Growth

When it was time for Ron [Browne] to retire from Browne Craine in 1982, Ron approached David [Craine] about buying the practice with his then colleagues, who jumped at the opportunity to expand their business, which became Browne Craine & Co as we know it today. For a few years, Browne Craine had links with an accountancy practice in Bootle (Liverpool), which was also called Browne Craine, but a decision was made to break away from the business some years later so David and Maurice [Singer] could focus on developing the Isle of Man practice.

In the early 90’s Browne Craine moved to new premises and made a permanent home at Burleigh Manor on Peel Road. As the firm continued to grow, it became apparent that it required more staff and eventually Basil Bielich, who had relocated to the island from South Africa, joined the firm as a newly qualified accountant and was soon invited to join the board of directors.

In 2000, Craig Mitchell moved over to the Isle of Man to join the firm, having previously worked in the Browne Craine Bootle practice. Craig was recruited as the firm’s Office Manager but his talents were soon recognised by the board and he was quickly invited to become a director and has helped to shape the practice to what it is today.

The business continued to expand over the next 15 years, Maurice retired, and Lynsey Smith and James Sayle were appointed to the board of directors. Having completed her training in a big 4 firm Lynsey’s niche is working within audit and she now heads up Browne Craine’s audit offerings. A local Manxman from the North of the island, James joined the firm as a trainee accountant and has thrived in his role supporting local businesses with all their accountancy and taxation needs. 

Supporting the community

Browne Craine are very keen on contributing to their community, whether that be providing complimentary business advice to small business owners, raising money for good causes through participating in fundraising events or providing their skills and expertise to a variety of local charities either as a board member or as their accountant. Whatever the need, Browne Craine is willing to help.

One of the main business community initiatives Browne Craine continues to focus on is the running of its small business accountancy clinic which was set up a couple of years ago. With an aim to support local budding entrepreneurs with their accounting and business needs, the idea was to offer those entrepreneurs guidance to streamline those aspects of their business so they can concentrate on what really makes their business successful. Since its conception, Browne Craine has seen lots of new companies step through its door.

Browne Craine also enjoys supporting other local initiatives which include sponsoring netball premier league team the “Browne Craine Toomraiders”, the Isle of Man Bowls Association, the “Browne Craine Dragons” squash team, the Children’s Centre’s Off-Road Triathlon “Granite Mann Challenge”, the Awards for Excellence, amongst other things.

Company culture

Having grown organically from a one-man band, Browne Craine now has a team of almost 40 staff with nearly 60% being female. Building a culture they are proud of, Browne Craine strives to promote equal opportunities in the workplace.

The team at Browne Craine are at the core of the business. All of the team have ongoing training to ensure they are confident and proficient in their job and are encouraged to study for relevant qualifications. Investing in professional development has always been important for Browne Craine, maintaining the belief that the business should increase in both size and ability. The firm has a history of low staff turnover; most of the directors and senior management team have been with Browne Craine for many years.

The firm’s supportive culture means staff are also very keen to get involved in helping the local community where they can and have raised money for charity by taking part in various activities including half and full marathons, climbing world-famous landmarks and other sporting activities.

Advantages

As a smaller independent, owner-managed business, Browne Craine prides itself that it is able to provide a flexible, efficient and attentive service. A major benefit is that client’s experience continuity and develop long term relationships built on trust.

The Future

In ever changing times Browne Craine continues to embrace change and looks ahead with excitement for new opportunities to continue to grow during the next 65 years.

If you are interested in learning more about Browne Craine or any of Browne Craine’s services, please contact the team at office@burleigh.co.im or call (01624) 629369.

Peregrine Tiagnet ICAEW