Newly-retired accountant played key role in growing Great Yarmouth firm

PUBLISHED: 11:19 08 April 2014 | UPDATED: 11:19 08 April 2014

Accountant Michael Muskett in his office at Beacon Park, Gorleston.

Picture: James Bass

Accountant Michael Muskett in his office at Beacon Park, Gorleston. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

Accountant Michael Muskett retired at the end of the month after a 53-year career which has seen him play a key role in developing a small firm on Great Yarmouth’s South Quay into one of the largest practices in the UK.

However, while he will be saying goodbye to staff at BDO’s offices on Gorleston’s Beacon Park, he will be continuing his role as chairman of the enterprise agency NWES, a position he has held since it was set up in 1982 to help combat the effects of large-scale redundancies in Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Mr Muskett said matter-of-factly that there had been two factors that led him to take his first step into accountancy: “My love of figures and it’s where the Youth Employment Office, as it was then, sent me for an interview.”

In those early days at what was then Tunbridge and Groom accountants on South Quay he recalls “technology was nil and we had just moved on from the abacus to comptometers; fortunately I was very good at mental arithmetic”.

Mr Muskett, who lives locally in West Somerton and is a keen follower of Norwich City, is proud to have studied and successfully taken his exams in his own time before becoming a partner of what grew into PKF accountants in 1978.

Last year, PKF merged with BDO to become the fifth largest firm in the country.

He said he has loved the challenge of work and the contact with clients, many of whom had become good friends.

Mr Muskett, who was made an MBE in recognition of his extensive charity work and role with NWES, recalls that his enterprise agency work started in 1986 when he became chairman of the new Great Yarmouth Business Advisory Service.

He recalls: “There was an urgent need for job creation, employment and training for students leaving school.

“The council at the time supported us and gave us premises in Queen’s Road.”

Over time, the agency merged with others in the region until NWES (Norfolk and Waveney Enterprise Services) finally came into being.

He said he was proud to have seen NWES become the largest enterprise agency in the country and develop its wide range of support services for new and growing businesses.

It had become an organisation with a lot of property and a seven-figure payroll and retirement would enable him to use his accountancy experience to provide greater financial support.

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