A great partnership and plenty of banter
Phil Brogden always knew he wanted to drive tractors for a living. And when he started his own contracting business at 17 years old, he already had five years’ experience under his belt – working for a local contractor after school and at weekends.
His wife Cheryl, however, was working in an accounting role for a paper company when she first met Phil, so her introduction to the rural lifestyle was a bit of a shock.
“I was a townie born and bred,” she says. “So when I started going out with Phil I spent quite a bit of time sitting on the mudguard of a tractor because that was the only way I could see him.”
After getting married, Cheryl and Phil went into partnership together and formed their own company, P. J. Brogden Contracting Ltd. The fact that it’s still thriving 44 years later is all down to their great relationship.
“We’ve always got on really well together, both in business and personally,” says Phil. “We always have plenty of banter and it’s made a good partnership, it really has.”
And from Cheryl’s point of view, being co-owner of the company gave her the opportunity to develop her business and accounting skills while allowing her the freedom to look after their two children.
“I was able to do things with them around the business,” she says. “If the kids had a sports day or a school camp I could go and do that.”
Future proofing the business
Family plays an important role in both Cheryl and Phil’s lives and they’re starting to prepare the business to handover to their son Mark – who’s currently second in command – and his partner Abby.
Knowing that Mark will eventually be playing a bigger role in the business has given Phil a new lease of life.
“I’m glad Mark and Abby are coming into the business,” he says. “It gives me more incentive to keep investing in new machinery and new technology.”
As part of future proofing the business and at the suggestion of their accountants at FARMit, a few years ago the Brogdens moved their accounts over to Xero. And Cheryl has found the transition pretty seamless.
“Xero just streamlines everything,” says Cheryl. “Our finance manager, our accountant and our bank manager can all have access to it. And it gives us that ability to see what’s happening straight away, which is excellent.”
As well as using Xero to run the business more efficiently, Cheryl is also able to show Phil and Mark how the business is performing year on year.
“With Xero, Mark can visually see and compare the profit and loss over the last three years,” says Cheryl. “And it’s also been really helpful with valuing assets, so that when the succession plan finally takes effect everybody knows what direction we’re going in.”
I'm glad my son Mark is coming into the business, it gives me more incentive to keep investing in new technology. — Phil Brogden, P. J. Brogden Contracting Ltd
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