John Brace, ACCA’s president in 2004-05 and managing director of award-winning UK firm Harwood Hutton, has died at the age of 77.

After qualifying as an ACCA member in 1966, Brace spent much of his early career in the construction industry. He worked for housebuilder Prowting, before setting up an engineering and construction business.

After he sold his business in 1981, Brace joined three other partners at the growing practice Harwood Hutton. He played a key role in a series of acquisitions and integrations that helped Harwood Hutton expand from seven employees into a UK top-75 multiskilled firm of around 75 employees. Harwood Hutton was also the first practice to win the Accountancy Age ‘Small Firm of the Year’ award and one of the first firms of accountants in the UK to obtain ISO9001 quality accreditation.

Brace was elected to ACCA’s Council in 1997, becoming president in 2004-05, when ACCA celebrated its centenary.

‘John was passionate, committed and fun – the latter not always a common attribute in leaders,’ said ACCA chief executive Helen Brand. ‘He was an inspiration, and I’m sure there are many generations of professional accountants who owe him a great deal, as does ACCA.’