French Duncan targeting new heights

Accountancy and business advisory firm French Duncan is forecasting a 40 per cent increase in staffing levels as it plans to grow “substantially” in the next five years.

Graeme Finnie (left) with audit partners Nicola MacLennan and Stephen Hughes. Picture: contributed.

The Glasgow-based firm, which dates back to 1902, said it is on track for turnover exceeding £12 million in the current year after “strong” growth over the last few years.

It boasts offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Dumbarton and Hamilton, with 15 partners and almost 200 staff, and has just expanded its Finnieston base to 20,000 square feet, taking on a third floor to house the projected increase in headcount.

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“However, the commitment to new office space reflects not only a growth in the core accountancy market, but also a diversification of the business’s activities,” French Duncan added.

Managing partner Graeme Finnie highlighted how accountancy is facing a transformation due to technological innovation. “There are substantial growth opportunities in the accountancy sector, but we believe that the future lies in offering wider business services to our clients.

“We now offer HR and IT services to clients building on the model, and we have developed a technology-driven finance function over the last few years in our hotel outsourcing company.

“This subsidiary of French Duncan provides a completely paperless accounting function utilising cutting-edge technology to produce real-time financial information to clients on any mobile device anywhere at any time.

“As accountants, we believe that if we aren’t pushing boundaries using technology, then we won’t survive this revolution in the way business operates.”

He pointed out that over the last six months the firm has been on a major hiring spree, with 24 new additions and a significant number of these in new service lines. It has made three senior appointments, and recently named Nicola MacLennan an audit partner in January.

The firm is undertaking additional hiring to cope with growing client demand and the expansion of its services.

The update comes after the firm last month hailed a bumper year after advising on deals worth almost £200m.

It was involved in 25 deals in the private and public sectors during 2018, ranging from a few million up to £60m across sectors including engineering, aerospace, technology, care homes, manufacturing, property, and construction.

Iain Walker, director of corporate advisory, said at the time: “We had a fantastic 2018, advising on a range of deals in Scotland and England, across a wide range of sectors.”

He added: “Deal activity remains positive going into 2019 and business owners will continue to merge, to acquire other businesses, and to grow to fulfil their ambitions.”