Staff directory | Friend & Grant | Rochester

Staff Directory

Mark Friend - Managing Director

Mark Friend is the managing director of Friend & Grant Limited and is involved in all matters related to clients’ affairs from audits, business development, corporate finance and tax planning. His portfolio of clients consists largely of small to medium size family run businesses. He works closely with his clients to provide a broad range of advice from tax minimisation, business and strategic planning, raising finance, mergers and acquisitions to audits. He deals in a number of specialist industry areas with particular strengths in property development and investment. He is also involved with charity audits. 

Mark is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He was born in 1963 in Chatham and went to the old Chatham Technical High School for Boys (now Chatham Grammar). He went on to Loughborough University to get a degree in Civil Engineering and trained and qualified with a large firm of Chartered Accountants before setting up his own practice in 1992. In 2005 he formed Friend & Grant Limited. Mark and his wife Jan live in Rochester with their children William and Anna. Mark is an enthusiastic (not very good!) squash and golf player and enjoys cooking and reading historical fictional novels.

Andrew Grant - Director

Andrew Grant is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales. Andrew qualified in 2002 having trained with a large Kent based practice. Andrew joined the firm in 2003 and was appointed co-director with Mark in 2005. Andrew benefits from a wide range of experience with small and medium size businesses and works closely with his ever-growing client bank in order to assist them in achieving their objectives and maximizing their potential. He particularly enjoys dealing with clients to help find solutions that are bespoke to their individual requirements. 

Since the Medway Towns have remained home for over 30 years, Andrew has many local interests. He is a keen sportsman and fan, regularly enjoying golf and table tennis and if he ever is granted control over the remote will watch any sport that is on.  Andrew is also heavily involved with local not-for-profit organisations and the Round Table and balances his time between developing the business and the local community.  Andrew is married to Melanie and lives in Rainham.

Jan Friend - Head of Tax

Jan Friend is head of the company’s tax department and is involved in all matters related to clients’ tax affairs including business and personal tax planning. Jan deals with a large portfolio of high net worth individuals advising on all areas including inheritance tax planning and trusts as well as non-resident individuals. Jan qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser in 1987 and shortly afterwards became one of the youngest managers at a large firm of Chartered Accountants. She joined Friend & Grant Ltd (formerly M A Friend) in 1993.

Jan was born in Rochester, is married to Mark and has two children. Jan enjoys reading, travelling, films and dog walking. She is also learning to play the piano and her lifetime ambition is to play at the Royal Albert Hall. However due to lack of ability and practice she is currently working towards grade 1!

Scott Russell - Head of Accounts

Scott Russell is a member of our accounts department having joined the practice in 2009. Scott qualified in 2010 as a member of the Institute of Chartered Certified Accountants. In 2012 Scott joined the firm's management team with responsibility for dealing with the day to day affairs of a portfolio of business clients for both Mark and Andrew. Scott leads on all the firm's audits.

In 2016 Scott became Head of the Accounts Department. He is a Quickbooks Online ProAdvisor.

Scott enjoys going out with friends, music and playing golf.

Quickbooks ProAdvisor

Julie Edwards - Receptionist/PA

Julie Edwards is most likely to be the first person you talk to as she is our receptionist. She also acts as PA to Mark and is responsible for company secretarial matters.

Julie joined Friend & Grant in 2004.  She really enjoys meeting the clients and getting to know them.  Julie loves the countryside and her past times include swimming, walking, travelling, gardening and theatre..  She enjoys village life and her husband’s cooking.

Darren Hughes - Tax Department

Darren works as member of the Tax Department. Darren deals mainly with our smaller clients and is also responsible for general tax compliance work. His portfolio of clients is largely made up of self employed and partnership businesses such as subcontractors, consultants, property developers, rental property owners etc...

Darren first started working for Mark as a trainee in 2000 back when Mark was a sole practitioner. Darren joined the firm's management team in 2014. He is a Quickbooks Online ProAdvisor.

Darren enjoys watching football (a long suffering Liverpool fan he at long last has something to shout about), playing golf (rarely these days), fishing and being by the sea. He also has completed the London to Brighton bike ride on a number of occasions and plans to do similar events in the future.

Darren has two young children born in 2012 & 2014.

Quickbooks ProAdvisor

Simon Laurie - Accounts Department

Simon joined Friend & Grant Ltd in March 2009 and successfully passed his final examinations in February 2013 to become a qualified Chartered Certified Accountant. In 2014 Simon joined the firm's management team and works closely with Mark with responsibility for a portfolio of business clients. Simon is also leading the firm in respect of pension auto-enrolment. He is a Quickbooks Online ProAdvisor.

Before his time with us Simon completed a joint honors degree in Marketing and Accounting at Canterbury Christ Church University achieving a 2:1.

Away from the books Simon has a passion for most sports depending on the season, football in the winter where he plays in a Sunday side with his university friends and tennis and golf in the summer months. Simon is also a keen cyclist and runner and invariably does some form of exercise most evenings.

Quickbooks ProAdvisor

Luke Anderson - Accounts Department

Luke joined our Accounts Department in August 2012.

Luke successfully passed first time his AAT examinations at NVQ levels 2 and 3 and became a qualified Chartered Accountant in November 2017. He is a Quickbooks Online ProAdvisor.

Luke enjoys football, golf, darts and pool.

Quickbooks ProAdvisor

Melissa Harle - Business Support

Melissa joined our business support department in September 2013 assisting mainly in book-keeping. Melissa will be studying for the AAT qualification.

In 2016 Melissa joined our business support department to specialise is book-keeping, management accounts and cloud based accounting. She is a Xero Certified AdvisorQuickbooks Online ProAdvisor and a Sage One Certified Advisor.

Melissa's interests include fashion, playing the guitar, dancing and photography. 

Quickbooks ProAdvisor

Xero Certified Advisor


  • Bookkeeping & accounting
  • VAT

Chris Shaw - Accounts Department

Chris, a graduate trainee accountant, joined our accounts department in June 2014. Chris qualified as a Chartered Accountant in September 2018 and is ACA qualified.

Chris enjoys working out at the gym and is a keen footballer.

Zoe Tapson - Head of Payroll

Zoe joined us in December 2015 to head our payroll department.

Zoe has had a varied career working primarily in secretarial and book-keeping roles. For the last 5 years Zoe has worked in practice where she was responsible for managing the payroll department. She is a Xero Certified Payroll Advisor.

Zoe is married with two grown children and her interests revolve around her family, holidays and her local church where she helps produce the monthly magazine.




Bradley Medhurst - Business Support

Bradley joined our tax department in August 2015 and then moved to the business support team in September 2016. His client base ranges includes sole traders, partnerships and small limited companies. Bradley works with these businesses to assist with the bookkeeping and the preparation of both statutory accounts and management reports.

Bradley studied at Rainham Mark Grammar School and is currently completing the AAT qualification and will then be moving onto further qualifications. He is a Xero Certified Advisor, a Quickbooks Online ProAdvisor and a Sage One Certified Advisor and uses a range of different systems such as Xero, Quickbooks, Sage and Kashflow to assist clients.

Bradley’s interests include music, playing the guitar, watching football and playing pool.


Quickbooks ProAdvisor

Xero Certified Advisor


  • Bookkeeping & accounting
  • Self assessment
  • VAT

Gavin Hooker - Head of Business Support

Gavin joined Friend & Grant in July 2016 having previously worked for a local top twenty accountancy practice. During this time, Gavin gained a wide range of experience working with owner managed businesses of various sizes and sectors with knowledge of tax preparation, company structure, tax planning and company secretarial obligations.

Gavin is an experienced Chartered Certified accountant and manages a portfolio of clients, assisting them with their annual compliance requirements together with management accounts and VAT reporting.

Gavin heads our Business Support Department which works with businesses to look after their book-keeping and payroll as well as to provide support to all of our clients who use cloud based accounting software, such as Xero, Quickbooks and Kashflow. He is a Xero Certified Advisor, a Quickbooks Online ProAdvisor and a Sage One Certified Advisor.

In his spare time, Gavin is a team captain for a local badminton club and plays matches regularly. He also enjoys watching Formula 1 and walking his Jack Russell – Buddy!


Quickbooks ProAdvisor

Xero Certified Advisor


  • Bookkeeping & accounting
  • Business planning
  • Business startup
  • Company secretarial
  • Corporate tax planning
  • Personal tax planning
  • VAT

Lewis Pyne - Accounts Department

Lewis joined our accounts department in June 2016 as a senior. Lewis has the AAT qualification (association of accounting technicians) and will work primarily on accounts preparation for limited companies.  Lewis is now studying for the ACA qualification.

Lewis enjoys going to the gym, driving his car and attending local car events with his friends.



Sophie Purdue - Tax Department

Sophie joined the firm in September 2016  as an apprentice working in our Tax Department. Sophie is currently studying for the AAT qualification.

Sophie enjoys watching documentaries and films, playing netball and spending time with her friends and family.

Bryony Banham - Accounts Department

Bryony joined the firm in September 2016  as an apprentice working in our Accounts Department. Bryony is currently studying for the AAT qualification.

Bryony enjoys shopping, cycling in the countryside and spending time with her family, friends and her pet rabbit.

Paige McNair - Administration Department

Paige joined the firm in October 2016 as an apprentice working in an administrative and communications role. Paige will also be responsible for the firm’s social media.  Paige has completed her Level 2 Business & Administration qualification and has progressed onto Level 3.

Paige enjoys reading, going to the theatre and spending time with her friends and family.

Karen Seymour-Jones - Customer Services Officer

Karen joined the firm in November 2016 as a part-time customer services officer acting as a liaison with all clients.

In Karen's spare time she enjoys being mummy to her two young boys, walking her dog Teddy in the countryside and baking a variety of cakes. Karen is currently studying for a degree in Psychology and also volunteers for the local not-for-profit organisation MGSD.



Dan Stearn - Business Support

Dan joined our Business Support team in May 2017.  He is an experienced qualified accounting technician.   Dan has quickly been brought up to speed and is now a Xero Certified Advisor, a Quickbooks Online ProAdvisor and a Sage One Certified Advisor. Dan will be studying with us to pass the chartered accountancy examinations.  
In Dan's spare time he enjoys playing bowls and watching football.
Quickbooks ProAdvisor

Xero Certified Advisor


  • Bookkeeping & accounting
  • VAT

Jack Tuffin - Accounts Department

Jack joined the firm in October 2017 as an apprentice working in our Accounts Department. Jack will be completing a combined Level 2 and 3 AAT apprenticeship.

In Jack's spare time he enjoys boxing, keeping fit and driving.

James Thomson - Tax Department

James joined the firm’s tax department in October 2017, having previously worked at a top 20 UK accountancy firm. James specialises in personal tax, with a background in assisting high net worth individuals and experience with complicated capital gains tax cases, James will add breadth to our already strong tax team.

James is an amateur mixologist and a trustee for the local charity Peter’s Place, which supports young people with life-limiting illnesses. He enjoys putting on charity events in his spare time, such as zombie walks, quizzes, and laser tag.

Vjaceslavs Knazevs - Tax Department

Slava joined the firm’s tax department in March 2018, having previously worked for a boutique tax consultancy, he has an extensive knowledge in preparation of the research and development (R&D) tax relief claims, employment related securities and general tax compliance, including filing personal and corporate tax returns.

Slava holds an MA degree in Finance from the University of Aberdeen, is ATT qualified and will be looking to study towards a Chartered Tax Adviser qualification in the future.

Outside of work Slava enjoys running, playing table tennis and spending time outside.