The Exeter Chiefs - Aviva Premiership title winners 2016/17 ends long journey to success.

The Chiefs are a West Country sporting success story, after becoming a firmly established force in English rugby’s top flight, competing at the highest level at home and in Europe.

Much of the transformation of Exeter Rugby Club has happened since the English rugby scene turned professional in the late 1990’s. At this time a limited company structure was created to run all of the club’s affairs through a Board of Directors, chaired by local businessman Tony Rowe OBE.

It was an inspired move and under the direction of the new board saw Exeter Rugby Club rise on the field and off it as well. There was also now much to promote, as individuals, businesses and key sponsors came together to help provide financial backing to the playing squad.

The need to grow the club continued to advance at pace and having rebranded the club in 1999 to that of the Exeter Chiefs a £15 million pound investment saw the club move from the County Ground to a new purpose built stadium at Sandy Park, a ground with sufficient capacity to see them accepted into the Premiership. The stadium also doubles up as a conference and event venue, the largest in the area, hosting wedding fairs, exhibitions and business events, ensuring a stream of income aside from rugby.

In 2015 a further £12 million redevelopment took place increasing the capacity of the ground, expanding the conference and banqueting facilities and a new playing and training surface. The ground, now has a capacity of 12,500, allowing Sandy Park to host World Cup matches in the Autumn of 2015.

The club continues to grow from strength to strength on the pitch, winning the LV = Cup in 2013/14 and reaching the Premiership play-off final in 2015/16 and of course becoming the Aviva Premiership title winners 2016/17, a fantastic achievement for the Devon club. (Image above Taka Wu/Alamy Stock Photo)

A number of the players have also been picked for England, reflecting the quality of the squad.

The business drive at Exeter Chiefs is about not forgetting that the club is still a business, which has to make a profit so the sporting side of things can continue and grow. With turnover continuing to grow, the club has certainly delivered that objective, becoming one of the most profitable rugby teams in the Premiership.

The team at Thompson Jenner began working with Exeter Rugby Club in 1999, initially implementing accounting systems and controls to provide a sound financial reporting platform. Our initial involvement sparked a long term and highly successful relationship between partner Neil Curtis, our accounting and tax teams and the club’s executive board. We have helped with important investment decisions, assisted with sources of funding and played an active role in the Chiefs relocation to their purpose built ground at Sandy Park.

Thompson Jenner has been proud to support the Chiefs with:

  • Business planning and financial modelling
  • Capital allowances
  • Management accounting
  • Advice on planned development and growth
  • Strategic business advice
  • Preparation and audit of statutory financial statements
  • Business tax planning
  • Attendance at board meetings

What the client said:

Our long and rewarding relationship with Thompson Jenner goes back over 17 years, acting as our accountants, auditors and business advisers. We wanted a firm of accountants from the start that shared the same passion as we had for turning our club into such a great sporting success story, making the journey with us whatever the financial and business challenges.

Neil Curtis and his team have fulfilled that role, really helping us in all aspects of the club’s financial controls and business and tax planning, adding valuable, proactive and practical business advice at every opportunity.

Running a Premiership Rugby club is complex and has many challenges that need to be dealt with on a regular basis. Neil really understands the need to respond quickly and effectively and it has never been an issue for Neil and his staff at Thompson Jenner to do whatever it takes to meet our requirements and deadlines.

The key to our successful relationship is that Neil understands our business and how we operate, bringing his undoubted business experience and working with our board as a trusted adviser. Coupled with that is the expertise and flexibility of the Thompson Jenner specialist teams that are always on hand to help with our audit requirements, tax advice and planning or working with our bankers on covenant requirements.

In conclusion, Thompson Jenner are a great firm to work with and have as part of your team, always accessible, friendly, responsive and consistently going above and beyond when required!

Alan Quantick FCA, Finance Director, Exeter Rugby Club Limited.

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