Mazars’ Manchester office is merging with
independent North West England firm Chadwick. The merger, which is
due to be completed this month, will enlarge Mazars’ Manchester
office and add a new Liverpool location.

Partner numbers in the region will grow from
four to nine and overall staff will rise from about 40 to 100.

Mazars Manchester office managing partner Tim
Hudson said Chadwick will introduce some skills Mazars is lacking
in the North West.

“It is about broadening the skill base,” he
said. “They have already got a corporate finance team that is
operational in the North West, while we don’t currently have a
dedicated team.

“They have got management accounting and a pay
roll function that we don’t have locally and they have got a
reasonably well developed transaction services team as well.”

Chadwick managing partner Pam Dawes said the
firm decided the merger was necessary because it had hit a “glass
ceiling” in terms of growth.

“We have grown very well as a practice, we
have tripled our size in the last ten years and looking at the
partner group and the demographic going forward, I think we have
achieved perhaps as much as we can for four equity partners and a
salary partner,” she said.

Chadwick looked at several opportunities for
expansion, including merging with smaller practices and bringing in
individuals. However, the firm decided merging with an
international player was the best way to achieve its strategies of
taking clients away from the Big Four, pitching for increasingly
larger assignments and acting successfully for large owner-managed
businesses.

These target clients have nationwide reach and
international aspects, and Chadwick often lost in tenders to firms
similar in size to Mazars.

“For the last 5 to 10 years, we have been
trying to get clients away from the Big Four by offering them a
much more hands-on service at partner level and senior level,”
Dawes explained.

“We have got audit, corporate finance and tax
well sorted out but there are other services that we don’t do. When
you are looking at beefing up your client offering – looking at
other services like insolvency, internal audit and financial
services – you have got to think where you are going to get that
from. There was no natural smaller practice that would bring that
to us in a complementary way and with the international
aspect.”

Mazars was a good fit for Chadwick because
unlike larger organisations such as Grant Thornton and BDO Stoy
Hayward, which Dawes described as “more the finished article” in
terms of coverage, Mazars was looking to strengthen its presence in
the North West.

The international firm also welcomed
Chadwick’s willingness to “bring ideas to the table”, Dawes
said.

“They want the commercial variety we can
bring,” she said.

Chadwick was not previously part of any
professional services network or association. It was a member of an
international organisation called JPA, but Dawes said this was very
much a club structure and there was no formal commercial link
between firms.