CLB Coopers joins Leading

The Leading Edge Alliance (LEA) has boosted its UK
representation with the addition of CLB Coopers Chartered
Accountants. The 13-partner firm has 110 professionals, three
offices and an ambition to become the premier independent firm in
north-west England.

“We’re not part of any national firm but we are aiming to come
up against [Grant Thornton UK] and BDO [Stoy Hayward], and be as
good as they are,” CLB tax partner Rick Schofield told
IAB. “I think a lot of the market and a lot of the banks
you speak to are now viewing us in that way, but obviously we will
always try to be better.”

CLB was previously a member of Polaris International. The firm left
the association because it felt it did not have “quite the same
ethos” as the association.

Schofield said the evolving nature of CLB’s clients was one of the
reasons for joining LEA. “We are very aware that a lot of our
clients are looking more globally and we wanted to join a group of
people who had a similar view to what we did in terms of being very
entrepreneurial – really supporting our entrepreneurial-based
clients. We needed someone who we thought was good enough and had
the same spirit that we did,” Schofield said. “It has been
bothering us that we didn’t feel that we could service them as well
as we would have liked to and we feel Leading Edge gives us that

CLB, which has been established for 150 years, already offers its
clients a range of specialist services. Schofield said the firm can
already compete with the larger mid-tier players in the provision
of services such as corporate recovery, corporate restructuring,
VAT work and tax experience.

The firm’s strategy is to build on its SME base – clients with £5
million ($10 million) to £75 million in annual turnover. The firm
is looking to grow at about 15 to 25 percent each year, which,
according to Schofield, “we’ve been achieving and I think we want
to keep going at that rate”.

However, CLB is not looking to expand very far geographically.
“We’re very north-west-based, certainly as part of Leading Edge
now. [There are four other Leading Edge firms in the UK] so we
certainly don’t want to impinge on their geography,” Schofield

Carolyn Canham