North East accountancy firm Baker Tilly targets 23% turnover growth

Less than a year after Baker Tilly took pver RSM Tenon, the business is targeting substantial sales growth of at least £2.5m

Steve Railton, managing partner for the North East at Baker Tilly

Accountancy firm Baker Tilly’s North East division is targeting 23% turnover growth by 2018 as it builds upon a successful merger with a former rival.

The national firm’s regional presence more than doubled in size last September to encompass a Sunderland office as well as its existing Newcastle base, following the acquisition of RSM Tenon’s profitable trading operations.

As reported in The Journal, the final half-year figures for RSM had revealed it had been £10m in the red and struggling under more than £80m of debts, prompting Deloitte to be appointed as administrators.

Baker Tilly swiftly moved in and bought out the profitable trading operations.

RSM was rebranded soon after to take on its new owner’s name, and all of the firm’s staff across the UK, including 83 at its Wearside office, retained their jobs.

Nine months on, North East managing partner Steve Railton has hailed the staff for working through a smooth transition period, resulting in the board devising a three-year growth strategy which will see headcount, revenues and partner numbers all grow significantly.

Currently targeting £10.5m in sales for 2015, Railton plans for the firm to grow turnover to £13m by 2018.

“The integration of the two firms went fantastically well,” said Railton. “In Sunderland the team have been incredibly receptive to work with Newcastle and vice versa and we are now looking at the best of both worlds.

“We can explore the best ways to work, with specialists in each office, such as Steve Ross and Ian Kings who cover restructuring and recovery, and the specialist corporate finance team here in Newcastle. All in all, we have exciting plans.”

As the firm looks to increase its client base and, in turn, its revenue, Railton has plans to expand the team, taking headcount from its current level of 140 to around 160 to 170. There will also be plenty of opportunity for promotion

“We have set out our plans taking us up to 2018 and working towards that we plan to increase turnover in all our main lines of work,” he said.

“We’re aiming for £13m in March 2018 and hopefully by then we’ll have 14 partners.

“There should also be expansion across each of the main service lines, and we have a talented team here so they can come up through the ranks.”

There are also plans to work closer with schools and universities, to encourage young people into accountancy careers.

He added: “We are recruiting four to five graduates this year and are looking to up that as a whole, including looking to school leavers.”

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