Practice news: BDO widens trainee entry criteria

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Richard Hattersley
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A round-up of the latest news, appointments, executive moves and acquisitions from the world of practice during January 2017.

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BDO widens trainee entry criteria

BDO has widened its entry criteria as it prepares to recruit 350 new trainees.

Prospective trainees can now apply online and will no longer have to pass a competency based interview. Instead, recruits will take a strength-based assessment, and will have a greater flexibility, with the move to online video interviews.

BDO is now accepting 2:2 degrees (previously 2:1) and A-Levels and GCSEs from A* - C in a move to better represent the demographics of society.

Paul Eagland,  BDO’s managing partner and a non graduate himself, said: “Trainees are the life blood of our organisation – they are ambitious, smart and flourish in an environment that supports individuality. We want to focus on an inclusive culture where background has no relevance to success.

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RSM expands Liverpool presence

RSM has signed a new lease to increase the current Liverpool office space

Graham Bond, RSM’s office managing partner in Liverpool, says the larger office space reinforces their “commitment to the city”

He continued: ‘20 Chapel Street provides the perfect working environment for us. It delivers a modern, flexible workspace in an unrivalled location with stunning views across the Mersey and Liverpool’s iconic skyline, which supports how we engage with our clients and the wider business community.’

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Damian Ryan joins Moore Stephens

26 Jan - Moore Stephens has appointed Damian Ryan as a partner in its corporate finance team.

Ryan has over 10 years of experience in corporate finance in the digital media space. Phil Cowan, Head of Corporate Finance at Moore Stephens comments: “We are delighted that Damian has joined our Corporate Finance team. He brings with him a deep knowledge of the digital sector.

“Damian has advised many of the leading players in digital media and we are looking forward to clients’ benefiting from his insight and continuing our work in the sector.”

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RSM appoints Big Four forensic expert

18 Jan - RSM has added Akhlaq Ahmed KPMG’s former head of forensic in South to its forensic practice.

Ahmed has18 years’ experience working as a forensic practitioner with Big Four firms, leading forensic engagements with EY before joining KPMG. In his new role as a partner with the firm, Ahmed will head the accounting investigations business at RSM UK.

Andrew Conti, the head of RSM’s forensic practice in the UK, said: “Akhlaq is well respected within his field and will play a key role in assisting law firm and corporate clients requiring specialist forensic investigation support.”

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MHA MacIntyre Hudson hires corporate finance director

16 Jan - MHA MacIntyre Hudson has appointed Tallat Mahmood as a director in its corporate finance team.

Mahmood has over 10 years’ experience as an adviser. He started his career as a senior executive with EY for four years. Recently, Mahmood spent a year as associate director at Grant Thornton. Based out of MacIntyre Hudson’s Reading office, Mahmood will focus on advising growth businesses.  

Laurence Whitehead, Managing Director of MHA MacIntyre Hudson Corporate Finance, said: “Tallat has many deals and fundraisings under his belt. He also has the great benefit of having set up and run his own successful digital business, which is a strong plus when relating to clients. 

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HW Fisher’s acquisition is “right fit at the right time”

12 Jan - HW Fisher & Company has merged with Rhodes & Rhodes, in a deal designed to support its growth strategy.

Rhodes & Rhodes partners and staff will relocate to HW Fisher later this year. Michael Davis, managing partner at HW Fisher & Company, called the acquisition the “right fit at the right time”. Rhodes & Rhodes’ client base of both young and established businesses, as well as high net worth individuals and their families complements HW Fisher’s similar client base.

Davis said: “The acquisition of Rhodes & Rhodes is an important milestone in our strategy for sustained growth. It’s an innovative and intensely professional firm, with a philosophy and values similar to our own.”

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Wilkins Kennedy merges with Griffins Accountants

5 Jan - Wilkins Kennedy has announced a merger with Griffins accountants – increasing their combined firm to 73 partners and an expected £50m turnover.

The deal expands Wilkins Kennedy’s presence into Southampton and the south coast, through and up to the M4 corridor. Two Griffins’ directors join the firm: Chris Duggan as a partner and Ken Weeks as a consultant.  

Matt Hall, partner at Wilkins Kennedy, said: “Griffins is a well-established and highly respected firm in Newbury and Reading, and we are delighted to be joining forces with them to grow our combined business. We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues to the WK team and to working with them.”

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Alexander Sloan announces new tax partner

9 Jan - Alexander Sloan has appointed Carole Connor as tax partner to lead its Glasgow and Edinburgh practices.

Connor has 20 years’ experience in taxation, specialising in tax investigations and corporate tax, and is also experienced in managing tax risk for the not-for-profit sector. Before joining the Scottish firm, Connor spent over eight years as an associate director at RSM and 10 years as a tax manager at Robertson Craig.

Commenting on her appointment, Connor said: “I am excited to be joining the partnership of such a long-established and highly respected firm as Alexander Sloan just as it marks 150 years of serving Scotland’s business community.”

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RSM merger “strengthens geographic reach”

9 Jan - RSM UK has merged with RSM Northern Ireland and acquired the Northern Ireland-based consulting business PACEC limited.  

RSM Ireland, formerly known as RSM McClure Watters, will now fully integrate with RSM UK –bringing the business’ combined headcount to almost 4,000. RSM Ireland’s David Watters will leave the firm but remains in a consultancy role for an initial period of time, leaving Richard Gardiner to lead as managing partner.

David Gwilliam, chief operating officer at RSM UK, added: ‘The professional services market in Northern Ireland is vibrant and RSM is a key player in this market. Our merger offers a fantastic opportunity to grow our services in Northern Ireland and expand our consulting business in the UK.” He added: “We have a clear vision to become the first choice advisor to middle market leaders and the merger further strengthens our offering and geographic reach across the UK– taking us a step closer to this goal.’”

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