Accountancy services

If you’re looking for a typical accountant, you won’t find one here at Optimum. Because we’re not typical accountants; we’re accountants who listen to the issues you need help with in your business life, personal life and family life and we match our services to suit your needs. If you run a business, you may need help with developing and growing your enterprise or you may need support with payroll. Perhaps you want to start a business, sell a business or buy a business. From our Swindon office, we help clients throughout the UK. For a chat about our accountancy services and how we can help you, please get in touch.

Meet the accountancy team

Michael Blaken

Accounts Director

Michael is Accounts Director, looking after all our clients’ accountancy needs

Michael Blaken

Accounts Director

Michael is Accounts Director, looking after all our clients’ accountancy needs, overseeing the inhouse accountancy team, and Optimum’s own business development.

He began his accountancy career in Gloucestershire and is passionate about helping clients to improve and develop their businesses, with careful accounting.

His spare time is taken up with family activities, but he does get away to play for his local football club, rarely missing matches (he decided not to play on his wedding day and when his son was being born!)

Jon Lacey

Finance Director

Jon is Finance Director and Head of Finance and Administration, whose role invol

Jon Lacey

Finance Director

Jon is Finance Director and Head of Finance and Administration, whose role involves overseeing the ethical and quality standards of our group companies while maintaining a portfolio of corporate clients.

Jon’s career in finance has ranged from setting up a drop-in desk for small businesses to advising on multi-million pound contract negotiations. His passion is working with SMEs to help them achieve their goals.

In his spare time, Jon loves the mental and physical challenge of archery and he once assisted TV celebrity Noel Edmonds with a charity stunt.

Richard Mathews

CEO

Richard is Optimum’s founder and CEO, taking a strategic approach to the compa

Richard Mathews

CEO

Richard is Optimum’s founder and CEO, taking a strategic approach to the company’s development and working closely with the department heads to ensure the legal and accountancy divisions work together seamlessly.

Richard began his career with HMRC, has worked with ‘Big four’ accountancy firms and before setting up Optimum ran a successful mid-tier accountancy practice.

Away from the office Richard is a passionate rugby supporter, having been a season ticket holder with Gloucester Rugby for more than 20 years. He admits IT is not his strong point and claims a dinosaur would be more helpful!

Rob Stokes

Head of Audit

Rob is Head of Audit, helping his clients to grow and meet their needs, whilst h

Rob Stokes

Head of Audit

Rob is Head of Audit, helping his clients to grow and meet their needs, whilst helping to nurture and develop Optimum and its staff.

He has worked in finance for more than 20 years, and provides advisory and compliance services to a range of clients, from sole traders to international businesses and Academy Trusts.

Away from the office, Rob is a rugby enthusiast and plays second row for the Old Cryptians RFC 2V and 3XV team. He is sometimes known as The Tardis given his ability, whilst being 6’ 5”, to appear unexpectedly at people’s sides without them knowing.

Mandy Gibson

Tax Supervisor

Mandy is our Tax Supervisor, whose responsibility is dealing with our clients’

Mandy Gibson

Tax Supervisor

Mandy is our Tax Supervisor, whose responsibility is dealing with our clients’ personal tax compliance.

Mandy began her career 30 years ago with HMRC, then entered private practice and has worked with a number of local and national top ten firms in Swindon.

In her spare time she loves cooking and taking her Labrador for long walks, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. At Optimum, she sits next to Alison Griffiths (wills and probate) and they are cheerfully known as the death and taxes team!

Tracey Alexander

Accounts Senior

Tracey is Accounts Senior, and her role entails preparing annual accounts for ou

Tracey Alexander

Accounts Senior

Tracey is Accounts Senior, and her role entails preparing annual accounts for our clients, supporting the team, reviewing some of the team’s work and occasional bookkeeping and VAT.

Tracey has spent all her career in accounts, since starting as an office junior in 1997. She is AAT qualified and is working towards her ACCA qualification.

Away from the office, she loves spending time with her family, going to the gym with her son and socialising. Fun fact about Tracey: she was once Carnival Queen for Bodmin, Padstow and Redruth.

Hannah Matthews

Assurance & Accounts Manager

Hannah’s roles involve collaborating and communicating with audit clients and

Hannah Matthews

Assurance & Accounts Manager

Hannah’s roles involve collaborating and communicating with audit clients and audit staff to deliver the audit plan effectively and efficiently, alongside running a portfolio of clients and ensuring that the team deliver a proactive and timely service to all our clients.

After graduating, Hannah spent time in industry where she worked in revenue protection within a fast paced environment at some of the UK’s largest sporting events. She then transitioned to practice, where she trained as an auditor in a leading Cheltenham based firm.

Hannah loves animals and has ambitions to run a small holding, but for the moment is settling for a vegetable patch, ducks and a cat. She’s ridden motorbikes since she was 12, although these days tends to watch MOTO GP rather than ride. She can also unicycle, including riding a giraffe unicycle where she is 6 ft off the ground – very high up for someone who is only 5ft 1”.

Claire Presdee

Bookkeeper

Claire is our Bookkeeper, who is responsible for liaising with clients and proce

Claire Presdee

Bookkeeper

Claire is our Bookkeeper, who is responsible for liaising with clients and processing their records on a monthly or quarterly basis in preparation for yearend accounts or VAT returns.

She has spent most of her career working in accounts, mainly in a private practice with a short spell in industry.

She loves going to the gym, socialising with friends and taking her dog for long walks. She hates planes but ironically is a roller coaster enthusiast.

Cassie Butcher

Bookkeeper

Cassie is responsible for processing client records on a monthly or quarterly ba

Cassie Butcher

Bookkeeper

Cassie is responsible for processing client records on a monthly or quarterly basis in preparation for completing VAT returns and year end accounts.

She began her working life as an engineer in the aerospace industry, but switched careers in 2015 to be closer to home. She had been doing accounts prep and bookkeeping before taking time out to have her two boys, and now works as a part-time bookkeeper for Optimum.

Cassie’s family are very outdoorsy, enjoying walking in the country and often travelling to the Welsh mountains for hiking holidays. They also enjoy geocaching, which provides the perfect excuse to explore places they might otherwise not have visited. Cassie loves puzzles and sewing, and often makes presents for her sons and her family.

Liz Grange

Payroll Manager

As Optimum’s Payroll Manager, Liz oversees all things payroll-related for our

Liz Grange

Payroll Manager

As Optimum’s Payroll Manager, Liz oversees all things payroll-related for our clients and their employees.

Liz joined the team following Optimum’s takeover of Chris Mattos Tax, where she had been since 2014, working closely with local clients on their bookkeeping, VAT, payroll and general record keeping. She has also worked at a tax software company and with a tax training consultant, all of which gives her a broad knowledge across the tax sector.

An avid runner, most days you can find Liz pounding the pavements near her home, pushing a running pram with her two little boys in tow. At weekends, she’s taken to adventuring through the mud and hills and one day hopes to train for an ultramarathon. A big Harry Potter fan, Liz even has a tattoo of Hogwarts Castle!

Carol Conway

Payroll Clerk

Carol is responsible for processing payroll and pensions on behalf of our client

Carol Conway

Payroll Clerk

Carol is responsible for processing payroll and pensions on behalf of our clients, and dealing with any
arising queries.

A part-qualified accountant, Carol has worked in practice for several years covering bookkeeping,
accounts, payroll and tax returns. She has recently returned to work after a two-year absence to
care for her husband.

In her spare time, Carol enjoys yoga and aromatherapy, and she is looking to train as an
aromatherapist. She is also a talented clarinettist, having played in large concerts in the past, but
much of her time it currently taken up with socialising a new puppy!

Callum Morton

Accounts and Audit Trainee

Callum has joined the Optimum team as Accounts and Audit Trainee, and is learnin

Callum Morton

Accounts and Audit Trainee

Callum has joined the Optimum team as Accounts and Audit Trainee, and is learning how to prepare and audit financial statements for our clients.

Before joining our team he worked in customer service and retail roles, but finds he much prefers an office environment.

In his spare time, Callum enjoys playing and watching football and he loves listening to music. He also records a podcast with his friends called ‘Okay, But’, where they like to talk about random and (as Callum admits) strange topics!

Zach Bunce

Accounts and Audit Trainee

Zach has joined the Optimum team as Accounts and Audit Trainee, and is learning

Zach Bunce

Accounts and Audit Trainee

Zach has joined the Optimum team as Accounts and Audit Trainee, and is learning how to prepare and audit financial statements for our clients.

Zach began his working life as a barista before moving into financial services and wealth management. He’d always wanted to get into accountancy, and was delighted to have the opportunity to train with Optimum.

Away from the office, Zach is a big football and rugby fan, and an ardent Swindon Town FC supporter. Fun fact you didn’t know about Zach: he can wiggle his eyebrows, nose and ears!

Laura Jenkinson

Trainee Accountant

Laura is a trainee accountant with Optimum, and is currently learning how to pre

Laura Jenkinson

Trainee Accountant

Laura is a trainee accountant with Optimum, and is currently learning how to prepare and audit financial accounts for our clients.

After finishing sixth from, she began an accountancy apprenticeship with Chris Mattos Tax, and moved across to join the Optimum team in April 2021 when we acquired the business.

In her spare time, Laura enjoys singing and is a member of a local choir. She also loves spending time with friends and family.

Something you didn’t know about Laura: she has different coloured eyes.

Tracey Heath

Practice Manager

Tracey is Optimum’s Practice Manager, who deals with everything from managing

Tracey Heath

Practice Manager

Tracey is Optimum’s Practice Manager, who deals with everything from managing our client database to making sure we don’t run out of tea and coffee.

She has worked for most of her career in secretarial and admin roles, although briefly ran a pub with her partner but (in her words) “saw sense” and returned to office work.

In her spare time, she enjoys socialising, cycling, going to the gym (she’s run Swindon Half Marathon more than once) and has recently taken up tap-dancing.

Helen Slater

Receptionist

Helen is our Receptionist, dealing with our incoming calls and offering a warm w

Helen Slater

Receptionist

Helen is our Receptionist, dealing with our incoming calls and offering a warm welcome to all the visitors and clients who come to our Swindon offices.

She is an experienced receptionist and has also had the role of company secretary with a previous employer.

In her spare time, Helen likes cycling and walking, and her super power is that she can touch her nose with her tongue.

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