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21 Sep, 2021

Putting the wind in our sails when we most needed it

In the unlikely midlands setting of Skehanagh, County Tipperary, Nigel and Sandra Alexander have been operating a 5-turbine windfarm since 2006. Despite being told many years ago that there would never be a windfarm in the midlands’, Skehanagh Windfarm has very definitely proved the doubters wrong, as Nigel explains here.

Helping us today – and available to help us tomorrow

Our relationship with ifac was influenced by the fact that my own parents and Sandra’s parents, both dealt with them, so when setting up the windfarm business fifteen years ago, it seemed like a logical progression to turn to them for our accountancy needs, and also for advice on how to get our business off the ground and running successfully. We went out on a limb to some extent by opting for a windfarm in the midlands, which wouldn’t traditionally have been the first place you’d think of for a venture of this nature.

However, choosing a location has multiple elements attached to it. You could have a really high site, for example, but if it’s surrounded by higher ground or even trees, then wind speed would be significantly lowered. It’s also to do with the prevailing winds – where they’re coming from and just how dependable they are. All things considered, we’re happy with our site.

We very definitely have an eye to the future, and are providing for ourselves and the future needs of our eleven-year-old son. It’s impossible to say at this stage if he’ll have an interest in the business, but if the time comes when we need to be thinking of things like succession, it’s nice to know that we’ve got a partner in ifac who can help us go down that road with a large degree of certainty.

Setting us up as a limited company was typical of the added value they bring

ifac have already made some big contributions to our business

It’s fair to say that ifac have already made some big contributions to our business outside of basic accountancy services. They setup the Wind Farm as a Limited Liability Company, and then as the farm’s circumstances changed, they helped again in setting it up too as a Limited Liability Company.

These are big events in the life of a small business, and it’s really important that we can trust the people who are advising us on decisions that we’ll have to live with for years - and even decades. We trust ifac to give us direction when we’re faced with this sort of challenges, and they’ve never failed to nail it for us in terms of helping us take the next big step with genuine confidence.

We regard them as partners rather than providers, and they take a genuine interest in our business -not just in the headline figures behind the business. My own training was as an agricultural mechanic, so I have no background in finance. It’s important, therefore, that they speak to me in my own language, and I find them to be very good in that regard.

Just as expert about wind farming as about agriculture

Peace of mind is their greatest contribution

We’re not the sort of people who are happy to stand still, and we have ambitions to grow our business. As we scale it up, I think it will be more important than ever that we have a business advisor on our side who understands the implications of what we’re trying to achieve – and gives us advice that’s clear and concise for non-accountants.

Our family involvement with ifac was as a farming business, and while we’d always have thought of them as specialists in that areas, they’re every bit as knowledgeable about wind farming – something that bears little or no resemblance to the typical agricultural model.

They give us great peace of mind, not just in areas like compliance but also in terms of making sure that our business decisions are carefully thought out, and that we appreciate the implications of any decisions that we make.

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