Scottish accountancy firm sets bold goals as it strikes deal with disruptor looking to 'shake up' sector

EQ chief executive says firm already in “at least three conversations at different stages of negotiation”.

Scottish accountancy firm EQ has hit the acquisition trail and set a goal of tripling turnover to £33 million after selling a major stake in the business to industry disruptor Sumer.

EQ is the first accountancy practice in Scotland, and the ninth in the UK, to join Sumer in the last 12 months - making the latter a top 15 UK player. The deal means that EQ, which has offices in Dundee, Forfar and Glenrothes, can now call on the support of 1,000 people across 40 locations while maintaining the “local knowledge and expertise” of its 133 core staff in Tayside and Fife.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As part of the undisclosed Sumer investment, the Scottish firm will have funds available to work on growth plans that could see it acquiring other similar businesses in the east of Scotland and tripling turnover from £11m to £33m over the next five years. The agreement is said to have come as a result of a year-long process with consolidation group Sumer looking to bring together the “best small and medium-sized accountancy practices in the country”.

Some of the members of the team at accountancy firm EQ, which has offices in Dundee, Forfar and Glenrothes.Some of the members of the team at accountancy firm EQ, which has offices in Dundee, Forfar and Glenrothes.
Some of the members of the team at accountancy firm EQ, which has offices in Dundee, Forfar and Glenrothes.

EQ has already started an internal restructure that has seen former Thorntons’ managing partner Craig Nicol, who joined the firm as a non-executive board advisor in August 2022, being appointed as chief executive. He is working alongside EQ’s recently-appointed chief operating officer, Caroline McKenna.

Nicol said: “Trebling the turnover in five years is not an easy target. But I think it’s achievable. We are already seeing opportunities in the marketplace. With the group of people we have here and the infrastructure we’re building we will be ready to facilitate that growth.”

He added: “The co-founder of Sumer, Warren Mead, is ex-KPMG and he and a couple of colleagues started looking at who is championing the SME sector in the UK. They decided the champions were the strong regional accountancy practices. They wanted to invest in quality regional businesses. We had discussions with them for a year to get the investment over the line.

“We are already in at least three conversations at different stages of negotiation. I think with a fair wind we will acquire at least two businesses this year and at least another two businesses in 2025.”

EQ has joined Monahans, RMT Accountants & Business Advisors, RT Marke & Co, Jerroms, Simmons Gainsford, Carpenter Box and Cowgills as the latest “champions” of the Sumer stable. With significant funding from Penta Capital and BlackRock, Sumer hopes to triple in size in just two years.

Mead, who is chief executive of Sumer, said: “Sumer is shaking up the UK accountancy sector and we’ve only just started. We’ve joined forces with outstanding regional firms who share our vision to champion entrepreneurs and owner managed businesses. We are different because we are embedded in local communities, yet we’re able to provide our clients with the benefits of national scale.”

EQ is working on a number of projects to invest in its people and is developing an employee shares incentive scheme. McKenna will work on that scheme as she takes a lead on the integration of the businesses acquired by EQ.

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.