National accountancy firm Baldwins has achieved rapid expansion over the past two years, mainly through an ambitious programme of acquisitions.
In the North East, the firm has acquired Rowlands Accountants, Evolution LLP, Alnwick Accountants, S V Bye, G T Grant & Co. CTC Chartered Accountants, Brennan Neil & Leonard and Pullan Barnes, to give it a significant 11-office presence in the region.
Andrew Little worked at Rowlands before it was acquired by Baldwins in March 2016.
He reflects: “Until recently, the acquired offices traded under a number of separate identities, having their own particular brands and niches.
“All offices now trade as Baldwins and in the North East there is a real will to build a strong regional identity The new year will see the Baldwins brand developed throughout the region from Alnwick in the North to Guisborough in the South to demonstrate the depth and breadth of the business advisory services we can provide.”
Reflecting on the Rowlands acquisition, Andrew says: “Rowlands was a great place to work and we had a great practice, but looking to the future, we could see that clients’ needs were expanding and that a larger practice would be able to offer areas of expertise that we were unable to offer.
“Some of the smaller offices within the group were unable to provide in house specialist services including tax advisory, forensic accounting, corporate finance and banking and finance advisory teams but having attracted brilliant new team members each of our offices is effectively a full service proposition .The acquisitions have brought together a diverse range of experience under one brand and as director of Baldwins (North East) Ltd, Andrew and his fellow directors (Martin Barber, previously of Evolution LLP, and Dawn Walton, previously of Rowlands/Alnwick Accountants) have been tasked with managing the transition.
Martin says: “Each of the firms that form part of Baldwins in the North East has its own culture and processes. We have embraced the different ideas and styles while working towards common goals across the region. We will see some standardisation of processes, particularly in regulated areas such as audit, where we are able to bring national best practice to all of our teams. But as a region, we want to maintain our identity and culture while absorbing national directives.”
Baldwins now has more than 50 offices located across the UK and its aim is to provide a nationwide service with a local feel, as Dawn explains:
“Baldwins probably has more clients, by number, than any of the top ten accountancy firms in the UK but it wants to continue to service them locally. Our USP is that as a huge player in the market we have access to national expertise but with our commitment to providing a local office for local clients we can still provide a fantastic service to small businesses. We have a cradle to grave offering that is second to none amongst national advisors.”
Baldwins’ North East team sees 2018 as a pivotal year to raise the profile of the firm and attract new clients. Andrew also doesn’t discount further growth through more acquisitions:
“The North East region will continue to grow, both organically and by acquisition. We will look to promote the Baldwins brand and make sure that we continue to look after our existing clients and demonstrate that we are a viable alternative to mid-market and national firms.
“We will also continue to appoint talented team members across all our service lines and to grow and develop our people to maximise their potential.
“We know that Baldwins in the North East will continue to expand through 2018 and beyond.”