Spotting opportunity and supporting growth

January 3, 2020

It has been a momentous year for Armstrong Watson in the North East, with expansion across the region, growth across services and sectors, and the welcoming of new colleagues to its Quayside-based office

Last year proved a transformational year for Armstrong Watson. In September 2019, corporate finance partner Chris McCourt joined the Newcastle team from MHA Tait Walker, taking up the role of lead office partner.

Chris has a passion for his native region and extensive experience of advising businesses across the area, having previously held the position of chief operating officer at the North East England Chamber of Commerce.

The move into Newcastle in late 2018 continued Armstrong Watson’s swift growth, coming as it did after the acquisition of Haines Watts’ former Glasgow office in February that year.

It brought the total number of offices to 17 across the North of England and Scotland and secured the firm’s position as a top 30 accountancy firm.

The launch of the Newcastle base also complemented the firm’s existing strong presence in the North East, which already includes a long-established office in Hexham and another in Northallerton, just over the Yorkshire border.

The passion and strength to support businesses in the North East is echoed by Chris.

“I believe the North East is a region with fantastic, ambitious businesses that can thrive despite what have been uncertain times,” says Chris.

However, he also has cautionary advice for businesses.

“Given what happened during 2019, it is more important than ever that business owners and managers understand what all of their options are – whether they are looking to fund growth, capitalise on new opportunities, manage their business through Brexit or realise the value they have built,” adds Chris.

Having recently returned to the North East from London, Jim Meakin, Newcastle tax partner, also recognises the economic importance of the region and can see why Armstrong Watson identified the huge opportunities for businesses based in Newcastle and surrounding areas, and how a firm like Armstrong Watson is perfectly placed to drive these forward.

“Having seen the attraction of joining Armstrong Watson as head of tax, it became apparent that we had a shared view of the opportunity here in the North East,” says Jim.

“We’re here to help businesses in the region maximise their succession opportunities and we are taking to them the message that Armstrong Watson has the resource and expertise to help them make the most of what they have built up when the time is right.”

With the firm now exceeding 420 colleagues, the continued expansion of Armstrong Watson has also seen an increase in expertise in key areas, with services including specialist tax advice, corporate finance, commercial funding, dispute resolution, financial planning and wealth management, forensic accounting, strategic business advisory services, asset management, restructuring, recovery and insolvency, and payroll.

More recently, the firm launched a new client technology division, incorporating cyber security support and ERP/finance technology guidance and sourcing.

Looking towards 2020, Chris concludes: “We have strong, well-established roots across the North of England and our unique proposition allows us to be big enough to advise and support businesses of any size across the full remit of accounting services, but also enables us to provide a truly partner-led business advisory relationship.

“We look forward to increasing our presence within the region in 2020, working with clients across the city and cementing our position as the ‘go-to’ firm for family-owned businesses throughout the North East.”

Armstrong Watson
If you would like to talk about the opportunities for your business, contact Chris McCourt at Armstrong Watson on 0191 434 0830 or

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