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Tribute unveiled to JB – the kind-hearted taskmaster

A portrait of John Brace has been unveiled in the Beaconsfield boardroom of Harwood Hutton, the accountancy firm he steered for the best part of two decades.

John’s wife Patricia and daughter Jackie joined Harwood Hutton directors past and present for the unveiling, which took place just over a year after his passing at the age of 77. Also there to mark the occasion were a further 40 or so of John’s former colleagues.

HH director Adam Stronach described John as a “great visionary who could see things happening on the horizon before any of us”.

Adam remarked how John’s razor sharp dress sense, with his trademark colourful socks and ties, could sometimes be matched by the sharpness of his tongue. “John could be a bit of a taskmaster but his door was always open and you could always rely on him to provide a sensible second view on a matter. He was a massive influence on all of us.”

Patricia said Harwood Hutton was as much part of John’s life as were his family and friends. “I understood and accepted this from day one, because I was a client once and that is how I met John. I quickly realised there were three entities in our marriage: Me, John and Harwood Hutton!”

Of John’s management style, Patricia said he could be tough if colleagues failed to meet the high standards he set. “But John set those standards and expectations because he knew what you were capable of and what you could achieve. He was proud of everybody who worked at Harwood Hutton because he knew you were the very best.”

Among the many tributes that poured in after he died, one came from a client who described John as a man of steely determination and sheer grit with a keen sense of justice.

“That is true,” said Patricia, “but he was also compassionate, and I loved the tribute that came from a former colleague who said John was kind first and a businessman second.”

Patricia revealed that a history of Harwood Hutton had been commissioned in readiness for the firm’s 65th anniversary in 2022 – a history in which John Brace, his winning personality and many achievements, will feature prominently.

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Client Testimonials
  • I always get quick, clear and definitive responses from the Harwood Hutton tax team – commercial answers to commercial issues.

    Robin Berry – Morgan Management
  • Right from the outset Harwood Hutton gave us direction and great advice – and that advice has evolved over the years as we’ve grown. We’re both medium-sized companies providing a bespoke service – one furniture, one accountancy – and the relationship works.

    Andy McCarron, McCarron and Co
  • I’m deeply impressed with Harwood Hutton’s extensive knowledge of tax arrangements for residential and commercial property landlords.

    Qadeer Ahmed, MD, ABA Finance
  • They really took their time to understand what was important to us and our business and the expertise we required. Whoever we speak to at HH, we get the same fantastic response and technical input. It’s a real partnership.

    Edward Finch, group MD, MRIB insurance brokers
  • I have worked with the directors at Harwood Hutton on a number of mutual client matters over many years. The reassurance of their clear, commercial and focussed advice is one of the main reasons I regard this as one of my most valuable professional relationships.

    Frank Wessely, Partner, Quantuma LLP
  • Harwood Hutton never seem to rest on their laurels. They are always seeking out new avenues and ways to improve their offering. A very forward-thinking company with staff who are always well briefed and who approach each task with drive.

    Karl Austen, MD, Surefoot Communications
  • We have engaged Harwood Hutton in several areas of structuring, including VAT issues, decoupling an SPV from a group structure and HMRC clearance for a transaction. The team have exceeded all expectations by being proactive, measured and very thorough.

    Adam Fawsitt, Director, FHT Limited
  • We moved to Harwood Hutton as they delivered a succinct and professional proposal. If anything, we have been more impressed post-move. They are a fantastic company to work with. They do truly differentiate. They have the skills and capabilities of a mega firm but with a personal service.

    Edward Finch, group MD, MRIB insurance brokers
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