Bath accountant and co-founder of its biggest accountancy firm bows out after more than 40 years

June 14, 2024

Derek Swift, co-founder of Bath-based Richardson Swift and one of the city’s best-known accountants, is to retire at the end of next month after four decades of advising businesses and families.

The move coincides with the 15th anniversary of the firm he launched with Mike Richardson and which has grown to become the largest independent chartered accountant and tax adviser based solely in Bath. 

Starting with a team of six, it now employs more than 40 people and boasts an enviable client list, many of them having been advised by Derek prior to Richardson Swift.

Having worked for more than 40 years in the profession, Derek, pictured, admits a career in accountancy was not his first choice.

Having attended King Edward’s School in Bath, he went on to study biochemistry at Oxford University.

“After I finished university, I resisted becoming an accountant for a few years, but it was inescapable,” he said.

“If you’ve got a scientific degree, you have a logical mind and you can problem solve – and that’s what accounting is all about.

“I did a psychometric test and it said that that was the career I was best suited to, so I eventually succumbed. Luckily it was the right decision.”

He joined Bath accountants Richardson Reed in 1991, became a partner eight years later. The firm went on to become Richardson Groves through a merger and then split in two in 2009, with one half becoming Richardson Swift.

Derek said: Our key clients have always been Bath businesses and 85% of our business has always been from the greater Bath area.

“We’ve never specialised in a particular sector. We’ve got farmers, retail, IT – everything.

“It’s good because it gives you experience across all sectors, which means you’re less at risk if a particular sector is struggling.”

As he prepares to retire and move to Ireland with his wife Mary for a change of pace, Derek admits that the thing he will miss is the interaction with clients.

“A lot of clients have stayed with me for 20 or 30 years,” he said. “I’ve been on a journey with them and we have grown as they have grown. The thing I’ll miss least is the admin, though.”

Richardson Swift managing director Debbie Boulton said Derek’s departure would mark the end of an era at the firm, with both founding directors now having retired.

“Derek can certainly be proud of his achievements – having built the business in 15 years from a team of just six,” she said.

“Over that time it has grown its reputation, client numbers, fees and staff to the highly successful business it is today.

“We wish Derek all the best in his retirement and hope he enjoys the new pace of life he will be having in Ireland.”

Derek now plans to spend more time on his main hobby of wildlife photography, particularly taking photos of penguins.

He and his wife Mary – also an amateur wildlife photographer – have travelled the world in their pursuit of all the penguin varieties, including as far afield as Easter Island, the Falklands and Antarctica.








Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across the Bath area for just £75 a month. Email for more information.