Having qualified in 1929, Harry Lubbock promptly founded the firm. It was rare for a young man of his class to enter into what was then, undoubtedly, an elite profession. An intensely private man of principle, Harry remained unmarried and never had children. In the 1940s young men (never women) usually paid for the privilege of training. It was a five-year apprenticeship during which a clerk had no wages unless they were lucky enough get a little pocket money, such as four shillings a week. The exams and study were by correspondence course, home study, evening classes and lectures. When Stanley Prashker (our erstwhile managing partner) joined Harry in the 1940s, he was taken on without having to pay a premium and was even paid £2 per week. Opportunities back then were few and far between and this was a great offer.
Harry’s younger brother Reggie worked with him for several years before qualifying as a certified accountant in 1939. People remember him as a gentle man and good communicator who took time to get to know the staff, but Harry was very definitely the boss. His abiding interest was not accountancy but politics and he was an active member of the Communist Party. As a result he had friends and connections beyond the Iron Curtain as well as many friends in England with the same affiliations. This provides a clue as to the firm’s entry into the Czech Republic some twenty years after his death.
In between all his political activities, Harry built up a good practice. Initially, it had its roots in smaller Jewish businesses, some of which inevitably grew into larger concerns with the impetus of the war, together with some bigger clients derived from his political connections. The firm was the auditor of the Daily Worker (the then Communist Party newspaper) and acted for a number of Eastern European governments who had business interests in England and were prepared to entrust them to Harry.
The dominating client at that time was Copes Pools, a major football pools promoter. During the season, Harry and Reggie and all of the three staff were totally engaged on that client from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon when the dividends were announced. This meant everyone working on Saturday from when the football results came out until about midnight, and sometimes on Sunday too. This was very popular among the articled clerks because as the work was intensive, they received extra pay.
By the late 1950s Stanley Prashker and Philip Fine were both partners of the firm (now with twenty or so staff), playing a major role in its running and development. Harry and Reggie took an increasingly back seat, prompting Phil and Stanley to buy them out in 1959. The new management set about developing the firm through internal growth and by acquisition into an independent medium size firm of chartered accountants.
The early 1970s were taken up with the absorption of further acquisitions and the problems of being a much larger practice. In 1972, Walker Newman Samuels merged their practice with Lubbock Fine bringing to the firm a number of partners, some of whom remain to this day. During these years there was national political havoc. A major miners’ strike brought in its wake serious fuel shortages and compulsory three day working weeks on the days when electricity could be supplied and even then for only a limited amount of time. Half of the week the firm worked by candlelight and candles became a commodity in very short supply. There was a wage freeze introduced by a desperate Government trying to control inflation, an extraordinary situation in which the management was not permitted to increase salaries.
Philip Fine retired in 1985 by which time the firm had over 100 staff and was bursting out of its Bedford Row premises. An office move was on the horizon. 1983 also saw the establishment of Russell Bedford International with a philosophy which remains in place today. The move to City Forum took place in June 1990, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rejection of Communism in Eastern and Central Europe. Harry must have turned in his grave.
The 1990s were dominated by a serious economic recession leading to very difficult conditions affecting the whole accountancy profession. David Levy took over as managing partner in 1992 when Stanley Prashker retired. Fortunately, we emerged relatively unscathed from this, retaining our independence and reputation.
In 2000, Geoff Goodyear was voted in as managing partner and worked to make the firm leaner and more focused on the markets in which it operates. The efforts that were made during the tough times, in refining traditional markets and developing new business areas, have paid dividends. Those coupled with general growth in the business sectors from which we draw our clients, led to a renewed feeling of optimism.
In 2010 Lubbock Fine announced the appointment of Mark Turner as managing partner. Then, in May 2014, the firm moved into new offices at Paternoster House.
In July 2015, Lubbock Fine was ranked as the fastest growing top 50 accountancy firm, in the Accountancy Age Top 50 + 50 accountancy firms' survey 2015, having leapt up the league table to number 43.
Following on from that, in November 2015, Lubbock Fine won the award for Mid Tier Firm of the Year at the British Accountancy Awards. This accolade speaks volumes about our loyal, hardworking team and the consistent support we receive from our many clients.
We can't help feeling that the founding partners would be pleased and proud at how far their firm has come in the last 90 years.