New client wins for UNW’s growing audit and assurance team

Insight /  8 July 2021

Newcastle-based independent chartered accountancy and business advisory firm UNW has continued to strengthen its audit and assurance offering in the wake of sustained growth and major new client wins.

UNW’s expanding audit client portfolio has been supported with the appointment of 14 new recruits since January 2020 – growing the firm’s audit and assurance department to 40 team members. The firm expects to continue to strengthen the team further in the coming months.

Recent new business wins include Carlisle giftware firm Enesco; London-based specialised global events agency, The iLuka Collective; North West Recycling, one of the region’s largest privately owned waste management providers; and Matfen Hall, a country hotel, spa & golf estate in Northumberland. North East family-owned car retailer, Pulman Group; French family-owned automotive supplier, SNOP UK; and Durham-based Elmtronics – the UK’s leading supplier and installer of electric vehicle charging equipment – have also appointed UNW in recent months.

The firm has also continued to add to its already substantial portfolio of charities and not for profit organisations. New clients include The Vindolanda Trust, an independent archaeological & heritage charity based in Northumberland; and Linskill Community Development Trust. These recent wins demonstrate UNW’s track record in the sector, having developed a range of specifically tailored services over several years. Academisation continues to be a hot topic in the Education sector and recent wins in this space include multi-academy trust The Three Rivers Learning Trust.

UNW is also creating jobs for young talent in the region having accelerated its 2021 graduate recruitment programme to meet the needs of its growing and varied client portfolio. Newcastle University graduate Fraser Poad, and Lesley Meek, who arrived from Leathers LLP, both joined UNW as Audit Assistants in January 2021 and will be supported by the firm in achieving their ACA qualification.

Early 2021 also saw the arrival of Tomas Butkus who joined UNW as a Qualified Audit Executive from Deloitte. The latest recruit is Joe Walsh who joined the firm as Audit Manager in May 2021 having previously worked at PwC.

With more new arrivals planned, including a further six new graduates joining UNW’s graduate programme this year, the firm sees no slowdown in the growth of its team or the demand for its services.

Michael Morris, Audit and Assurance partner at UNW said: “Despite the obvious challenges since March 2020, we have started to work with a number of new businesses in a wide range of sectors – both locally owned as well as some businesses with overseas ownership. Adding these to our existing client base really does give us an exceptional portfolio of clients which we are very proud of. This is very much a testament to our collective efforts across the firm and our priority will continue to be to add value to our existing and new clients.

“Our expanding client base has enabled us to recruit some excellent new team members in to audit which will help ensure that our client service levels continue to be first class. We already have a strong audit team and very much have a coaching culture where we help our students train, develop, and get the right experience.

“For us, it’s about looking after our clients and our people and then growth will hopefully follow naturally. We’re looking forward to the next twelve months and supporting our clients following the recent challenges.”

Reflecting on the move to UNW, Rob Freestone, Managing Director at Enesco Limited, said: “Having had already engaged UNW for all of our tax advice needs we had first-hand experience of their excellent service levels, and their extremely personable and practical approach. The added synergies and cost effectiveness made choosing UNW as our auditors an easy one.

“2020 was our first year with UNW as auditor, and despite having to conduct the audit remotely, the rapport has been excellent at all levels. We have been delighted with the level of service we have received, and we have also benefitted from a greater level of proactivity than ever before.”

2020 was our first year with UNW as auditor, and despite having to conduct the audit remotely, the rapport has been excellent at all levels.
Rob Freestone,  Managing Director - Enesco Limited