Meet the team

January 2, 2018

In early 2015, accountancy and business advisory firm UNW launched its strategic talent team – a niche service specialising in board level and senior finance recruitment, led by Peter Neal, alongside Dave Bowman and Laura Dean. Here, the team discusses how the service came to be and their journey so far

If Peter Neal could sum up the service provided by UNW’s strategic talent team in one sentence, it would be, “essentially, we are here to help organisations build successful boards, and ensure they have high-quality finance teams.”

He continues: “UNW is a highly-reputable professional service provider that businesses turn to when looking to grow, and then maintain that growth. By adding us into the mix of that same trusted relationship, we can anticipate adding new skills and expertise, or changing elements of their leadership teams, when the right time comes.”

The road to UNW has been varied for the strategic talent team, with Peter and colleague Dave Bowman having previously held engineering and accountancy roles respectively before moving into recruitment.

When discussing his previous roles, Peter says that he particularly enjoyed working with private and family-owned businesses.

“It was always, first and foremost, about understanding the issues they face and then helping to solve them. I think this is something that has been replicated within strategic talent at UNW,” he says.

Dave, who established the strategic talent team with Peter, adds: “Like the other UNW service lines, we work with businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to PLCs.

“From help with accessing grant funds and compliance with financial management, to an audit when a client grows, there is a real journey with UNW as a trusted advisor.

“We can discuss leadership teams with a client at any point, even if it isn’t a priority. Investing the time to get to know a business enables us to better identify and introduce the right individual when the need to strengthen arises.”

In May 2016, with the service firmly established, Laura Dean joined the strategic talent team to develop the finance recruitment alongside Dave.

She says: “It was clear in the first year that the team was filling a gap in the market for a truly specialist, consultative and expert recruitment service. This was particularly evident by the number of clients coming to us for assistance in recruiting a wide range of finance roles.”

This breadth of expertise has been reflected in the wide range of areas in which successful candidates have been sourced, with clients emerging from sectors such as engineering, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and technology.

Peter continues: “Much of our business has come from business development activities across our networks, but we have also benefitted from in-house recommendations for existing UNW clients. The two complement each other nicely.”

When discussing their aspirations for the future, the team is particularly bullish and want to be regarded as the ‘go-to’ recruitment service provider for board-level and senior finance roles in the North East and Cumbria.

“Each of us has over ten years’ experience within the recruitment sector, so possess probably the most comprehensive network of board level and senior finance professionals in the region.” says Laura.

“Our service is all about getting to understand businesses and their culture. This allows us to ensure we can find the exact candidate for a role,” adds Dave. “The main message is that we do things differently; and if we continue to push this message, our reputation will only continue to grow.”


Scroll to next article
Go to

What’s on the horizon?