Ric Payne, My Practice Mentor Podcast Host
004: Paul Kennedy – A UK firm that specializes in high value and high touch (Part 2)

004: Paul Kennedy – A UK firm that specializes in high value and high touch (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of the interview with Paul Kennedy.

Chartered Accountants, O’Byrne & Kennedy was founded by the late Paul O’Byrne and Paul Kennedy in 1987. It is located in Goffs Oak in Hertfordshire, England and provides specialist services to business owners who are serious about their business – specifically they help business owners design and build better businesses, plan their finances and mitigate their tax.

OBK, as the firm is now known, differs from most accounting firms in several important respects but that was not always the case. After attending a Bootcamp in the late 90’s they decided to radically re-engineer their firm. In this interview, which comes in two parts, Paul openly talks about the journey the firm has taken over that past 27 years.

  • They have strict client selection criteria. For example in addition to having a minimum fee requirement of more than £10k, they only work with people who are “ambitious, intent on growth.” The decision to pursue this strategy led to them firing 95% of their clients and focusing on just 50 carefully selected ones.
  • Although they provide year end accounting and tax services, that is a relatively small part of what they do. They spend much more time with their clients looking forward not back, they help them articulate their goals and develop a strategy to achieve them which includes designing and documentation systems so they create a more saleable businesses.
  • They price all our work in advance and all clients are protected with a fixed fee agreement and they do not keep timesheets.


  • Creating great value for a small number of clients is financially and personally rewarding
  • Timesheets get in the way of focusing on the process of value creation for clients
  • Radically re-designing your firm takes courage but is worth it at the end of the day

Recommended Reading

Michael Porter, What is Strategy, Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec 1996, Product #: 96608-PDF-ENG.

Click here to go to the Harvard site.





A final word from our sponsor

OBK is a classic example of a firm that was radically re-designed from the ground up.  How you can design a firm that achieves you own goals is the major take-away from Principa’s Practice Innovation Workshop soon to be held in a place near you and if that happens to be in the UK, Paul will be there and has agreed to share his experience with you.