Our managing director and pillar of the Solihull business community, who was honoured by the late Queen for his services to the town, is celebrating 30 years working at Prime Accountants Group.

Kevin Johns joined us as a senior manager in October 1993 and after becoming a partner two years later, climbed the ladder to become managing director in 2015.

Kevin was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year's Honours list in 2019 for services to Solihull, in recognition of his business and charity work in the town.

As well as holding the positions of Solihull BID chairman and president of the Solihull Chamber of Commerce, Kevin has spearheaded Prime's fundraising efforts, which have seen the business raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities such as Solihull Life Opportunities (SoLO) and Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Hard work and committment

Kevin said: I joined as a senior manager with the intention of becoming a partner, after five years working for a national firm.

I wanted to be in charge of my own destiny, not be part of a faceless London company. I've always said that I don't mind failing, but I don't want to fail on someone else's agenda. I just want to get on with people and build something successful.

I hoped it would be successful and it has turned out to be. There was never a 30-year goal, but there was a goal to enjoy what I do with people I enjoy working with ' clients as well as colleagues.

I'm a big believer that if you work hard and you're committed to what you do, then results will follow. It's the old sporting cliché ' the harder you practice, the luckier you get!

Shaping the business

After becoming a partner in 1995, the then 29-year-old Kevin was aware he was committing to the firm for the rest of his working life.

I always felt it was bit like a marriage, he said. We made a commitment that together we'd make the business what it is. We were in it together for the long term.

When you're a partner you help shape the business. Nobody has to do everything, you work as a team and if one person always gets their way, it can't be right.

Charity exploits

Aside from his business successes, Kevin has committed thousands of hours to charity exploits which contributed towards his BEM in 2019.

He said: When I joined, I wanted to do something for people, not just family and colleagues but the greater community. If you're in a fortunate position where you're successful, you can help others.

I'd describe it as being like David Cameron's Big Society' idea ' a third sector where everyone's a volunteer. There are lots of people out there living unfortunate lives through no fault of their own, and if everyone successful did a little bit to help, it would make a big difference. It's about the community you want to live in.

The firm is part of the community too. Charity events are good fun, you can do them with a smile on your face and it brings the team together. As an accountant we talk in pounds, shillings and pence all the time, but this goes beyond that.

Best memories

Kevin said one of his best memories was his first big client win, Nationwide Windows UK.

It was one of the first big audit clients I won as partner and it is still a client now. It's great to work with businesses who want to work with you ' it enables you to build relationships and it feels like family, he said.

But my proudest achievement is the team and what Prime stands for now. We are there to help clients and help the team ' it's a people business at the end of the day.

Looking ahead, there's no immediate plans for retirement for Kevin, rather an ongoing drive to make the business successful.

He said: My role is to make Prime successful, with or without me. Every business needs a succession plan, and your first thought should be how do I exit?'.

This company has been ingrained in me for 30 years and that will never leave. But eventually I will decide to hang up my quill and abacus!

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