Golden milestone for top North Wales accountant who’s still working after breaking his back twice

One of the best known and respected figures in the business world in North Wales is determined to carry on working despite having broken his back in two places.

It’s now exactly 50 years since chartered accountant Michael Coxey, 78,  arrived in Wrexham in 1974 and set up his own accountancy firm, MD Coxey & Co.

A native of Bolton in Lancashire, Mr Coxey initially became a partner in David R Jones & Co and then after three years later he bought his partners out and established Coxeys which has a growing and varied client base.

According to Mr Coxey, he quickly developed a deep affection for the local community and that still holds true today as he contemplates the golden milestone.

He said: “I knew from the moment I arrived that it was the place I was destined to be. In those days most of my clients were local farmers who were immediately warm and welcoming. Wrexham became my adopted home.”

Over subsequent decades the business grew from just a handful of employees to more than 30.

Today, as well as the original headquarters in Grosvenor Road, Wrexham, it has branches in River Lane, Saltney, and in Nicholas Street, Chester.

Mr Coxey said forging across the borders into Flintshire and Chester were important milestones for the growth of the business, enabling it to offer more accessibility to customers beyond Wrexham’s boundaries.

But whatever the distances involved Mr Coxey said: “Accountancy is about people more than it is about figures.

“Good accountants develop lasting relationships with clients, discover their needs, and work hard to understand the various directions in which they want to take their businesses. By doing that we can help them achieve their goals.

“We listen and enable, encourage business owners to develop solid foundations which provide the financial framework to invest in the future.”

He said it has been a joy to witness the growth of many of the small-scale businesses which were among Coxey’s first clients 50 years ago. In some instances they are now providing a service for succeeding generations, the sons and daughters of those original clients.

“We have grown older together,” he said. “I am proud of what we have been able to achieve along the way.”

There are no plans to retire despite suffering hairline fractures to his back which have hampered his mobility.

“I love my job now as much as I did the day I started. I’ve known many of our clients since I first started the business and I’ve become good friends with a number of them,” he said.

“I will continue to stand by them as long as I am physically and mentally able. Unfortunately, since I broke my back I’ve been unable to walk and I can no longer get into the office but I will work from home for as long as they keep on giving me work to do.”

A father to two daughters and grandfather of four, he admits to having been a workaholic especially in the early years, sometimes starting at 8am and not finishing until 11pm.

Then, like today, the economic climate was tough, businesses were struggling to stay afloat.

He said: “One of the greatest rewards of the job was knowing you had played a part in helping a business survive hard times.”

While still determined to continue working Mr Coxey took the decision six years ago to sell the business to current Managing Director Anthony Lewis who first joined the firm in 1998.

He said: “It was part of the deal that I continue to work for them and go into the office at least one day a week. Despite my injuries we have stuck to that agreement although I now work from home rather than the office. It is what galvanises my brain and keeps me energised.”

Anthony Lewis said: “Nothing compares to the years of experience which Michael has with this business, having built it up virtually from scratch.

“He still has a great rapport with so many of our clients and the wisdom to steer businesses through today’s unpredictable economic landscape.

“He is a great friend and an irreplaceable fount of knowledge. We are so glad that he remains on board as a vital part of our Coxey’s team.”

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