A partner at the regional accountancy and business advisory firm, Larking Gowen, is to retire after 26 years with the business.

Mark Curtis started his career in accountancy straight from A-levels and joined Larking Gowen in 1997, becoming a partner in 2006.

He led the firm’s business team for 9 years, standing down from this role in 2021 to join the firm’s board.

Curtis has helped lead the way in expanding Larking Gowen’s business advisory services. Together with fellow partner, James Lay, he launched the ‘Impromptu Business Chat’, a weekly podcast for SME business owners, which has developed to become ‘Leadership and Life Chat’.

Commenting on this, Curtis said: “In some ways, I’ve made a career of doing things differently.

“I’ve never been afraid to try different stuff and challenge the status quo. The key thing is, Larking Gowen is a business that encourages this approach; I’ve been given the freedom and space to develop new ideas.

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“Larking Gowen is a broad church. You have the opportunity to really shape your own career, and you are given the space to do this.”

He continued: “We’ve been around for 130 years now but no business can survive by standing still, doing the same things year in and year out. You need stability, but you need innovation, challenge and change as well.”

The biggest changes Curtis has seen over his career have been in the use of technology in terms of using digital formats and digital technologies to improve practice and create value for clients. These changes continue, and the use of AI is another benefit and challenge that the industry faces.

“AI is great at crunching vast quantities of data and spotting patterns, but we also need to apply human judgement and experience to interpret results,” Mark said.

Retirement for Curtis is about taking a step back from business, going low-tech, exploring self-sufficiency and “doing all the things I wanted to do but struggled to do timewise.”

“I’m leaving the firm in a very good place, after many happy and rewarding years, safe in the knowledge that our clients will continue to get the very best service from our talented and dedicated people,” he said.

Larking Gowen managing partner, Julie Grimmer, concluded: “Mark has made a great contribution to the development of the business over many years. I will be sad to see him leave the firm next year, but we all send Mark and Glenda our very best wishes for the new life they are embarking upon together.

“As an East Anglian firm committed to remaining independent, our stewardship and the future succession of the business is something that all the partners remain committed to. Despite the sadness we feel when individuals retire, the current partners and the whole Larking Gowen team remain dedicated to taking the business forward to advise and support our clients and to provide challenging and rewarding career opportunities for our people.”