Practice news: Firms join to tackle commercial disputes

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

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Firms join to tackle commercial disputes

27 March - Firms such as PKF, Haines Watts and Price Bailey have joined law firms and insurance mediation specialists to launch Escalate – a new commercial disputes resolution service.

The process covers the full range of commercial dispute cases – including bad debt, contractual, and negligence. Chris Clay, a partner with PKF and an architect of the Escalate, said the process emerged because many businesses don’t pursue commercial disputes because of the high costs and uncertainty.

The process was created by looking at the dispute resolution from the client perspective. In particular, Escalate focuses on achieving prompt settlements and removing the upfront costs.

Clay said: “We’ve seen considerable demand for Escalate and are keen to work with more law firms and corporate recovery teams to allow Escalate to continue to grow.  Any forward thinking professional services business can get involved in this exciting new project and we’d invite them to get in contact.”

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RSM expands capital allowance team

21 MarchRSM has appointed Rupert Guppy as an associate director, specialising in in capital allowances for the southern region.

Based in the firm’s Southampton office, Guppy brings 10 years’ capital allowance experience. In addition to his client work, he’s been a part of the Office of Tax Simplification consultation on Corporation Tax Reform.

Peter Graham, the head of RSM’s national capital allowances team said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome Rupert to RSM. His appointment further strengthens our national team and will help us to deliver significant tax savings in this area for our clients.’

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CBW adds two new partners

16 March – Carter Backer Winter (CBW) has promoted two more partners, bringing its total number of partners to 20.

Graham Foster, the director of financial planning, joined the firm in 2012 to lead its financial planning team, bringing over 18 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Meanwhile, Dan Rose, the director of general practice, completes the new partner promotions. Rose joined the firm in 2013 as an audit manager.

Peter Winter, CBW’s managing partner, said “Graham and Dan thoroughly deserve their promotions, which recognise their hard work and dedication to CBW and its values. Their promotions will help us to build a strong platform for future growth.”

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Duncan & Toplis wins ICAEW award

20 March – Duncan & Toplis has bagged the West Midlands ICAEW large firm of the year gong at the annual ICAEW dinner in Nottingham.

Duncan & Toplis’ adds the large firm regional award to their trophy cabinet, which already contains the firm’s previous titles as medium accountancy firm of the year. The judges recognised the firm’s business success and contribution to the local economy.

Adrian Reynolds, Managing Director at Duncan & Toplis, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded this prestigious title and it adds to what has already been an exciting year for the firm. We have promoted some of our promising individuals to director level recently and we are looking forward to developing our future growth as a firm.

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BDO hits 25 partner target

10 Mar – BDO has added two more partners to the firm’s corporate finance and business restructuring teams, bringing its new partner appointments to 25 this year.

The appointments of Duncan Lamb and Colin Haig achieve BDO’s ambition to appoint 25 new partners in its 2016/17 financial year. Lamb brings 19 years’ experience with Grant Thornton to the corporate finance stream, based in Reading. Haig, meanwhile, joins BDO’s business restructuring team after seven years with KPMG.

Paul Eagland, managing partner at BDO, said the 25 partner appointments are “reflective of our own growth ambitions, as well as those of the businesses we work with”. He added: “Our clients want to work with commercial, like-minded people. Duncan and Colin have significant experience in helping businesses survive and thrive in uncertain times, and I welcome them both to our expanding team.”  

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Baldwins expands national presence

7 Mar – Baldwins Accountancy Group continues its national expansion with the acquisitions of Finnieston Berry Partnership Limited, Minshalls Chartered Accountants and SV Bye.

Baldwins’ latest acquisitions are part of the firm’s strategic growth plans, which has enabled it to establish a presence in Birmingham and North Yorkshire. The firm has expanded its offices across the country from 16 to 34 over the last 12 months and now employs over 800 staff. The three firms will trade under the Baldwins name.

Catherine Finnieston, partner at Finnieston Berry, said the deal opens up a range of services to their clients and will put more resources behind their current services.

John Baldwin, director at Baldwins, said of the investments: “We will continue in our growth and have further expansion plans nationally. We will have more exciting announcements in the coming months and are proud to be one of the fastest growing accountancy practices in the UK, in conjunction with the Cogital Group.”   

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KPMG appoints UK chairman

2 Mar - KPMG has revealed Bill Michael as its new chairman in the UK, succeeding Simon Collins whose term as UK chairman ends on 30 September.

The ICAEW chartered accountant has been working at the Big Four firm for the last 30 years and is currently global head of banking and capital markets.

He has worked with international clients such as JP Morgan, Barclays and HSBC, and was also special adviser to the Treasury Select Committee into banking standards following the financial collapse of 2008.

Michael won the majority vote of KPMG’s 615 partners.

Simon Collins said: “Bill is an energetic and dynamic leader who will enable KPMG to thrive. He has proven experience of running a large complex team and has the skills and experience to guide the firm as we anticipate and respond to the changing needs of our clients.

“His international experience will also prove invaluable in his new role. Clients tell us they are concerned about the macroeconomic factors impacting their business, including the shifting political landscape and Brexit. Bill will help KPMG steer our clients through the turbulence of geopolitical and technological change, and support them to take advantage of the opportunities that emerge in the wake.”

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AiB appoints new board member

2 Mar - Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) has appointed insolvency sector figure Mike Norris to its advisory board.

Norris joins AiB as a non-executive board member to offer independent challenge and professional expertise to the executive agency of the Scottish government.

AiB is Scotland’s insolvency service and is responsible for administering the process of personal bankruptcy, the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) and recording corporate insolvencies in Scotland.

Since 2008, Norris has headed up the UK, Canadian and Dutch operations for Max Recovery, the leading purchaser of consumer receivables where customers have been sequestrated or have signed a protected trust deed. Max Recovery has 11,000 open insolvency claims in Scotland.

Over the course of a 23 year career there, he moved through operations, human resources and investigations teams before becoming director of policy, where he led the team that developed, took through Parliament and implemented the personal insolvency provisions of The Enterprise Act 2002.

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Preston firm welcomes new trainee

1 Mar - Preston-based accountancy firm Rotherham Taylor has taken on a new trainee, the firm’s fourth new appointment in the last 18 months.

Nicola Lawrenson joins the firm, having previously worked in industry, where she gained the MAAT accounting qualification and the IAB payroll qualification.

At Rotherham Taylor, Lawrenson will start working towards the ACA accountancy qualification.

She said: “I am delighted to have joined Rotherham Taylor Limited. This is an exciting place to work and to progress in my accountancy career.

“I am now looking forward to being able to make a difference for our clients.”

Michael Barton, managing director at Rotherham Taylor, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Nicola to the team.

“She has already proven herself in industry and I am sure that our clients will value her contribution as she progresses towards her ACA qualification.”

About Robert Lovell

Business and finance journalist


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