Scottish accountants planning 40% increase in staff numbers over next five years

French Duncan



Leading accountants and business advisors French Duncan LLP are forecasting a 40% increase in staffing levels as the firm plans to grow its business substantially in the next five years. The firm has just expanded its Finnieston offices in Glasgow to 20,000sq ft, taking on a third floor to house the projected increase in staff numbers.

The 117-year-old French Duncan is a long established, award winning, top ten Scottish independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisors headquartered in Scotland and working with clients throughout the UK and internationally. The firm have five offices across Scotland with 15 partners and almost 200 staff. Over the last few years the firm has grown strongly and will achieve a turnover of over £12m in the current year. 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.

Graeme Finnie, managing partner of French Duncan, explained: “There can be little doubt that accountancy, like all businesses, is currently facing a transformation due to technological innovation. Traditional working practices are changing, and the needs of our clients are changing. For example, ‘Making tax digital’ is simply one, high profile, change in the way in which technology is transforming our sector. Data, and the insights that it can unlock, means that no business, no profession is immune from the changes which have occurred, and which will occur over the next five years.”

“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 LLP 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.”

Graeme continued: “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. These technological innovations will undoubtedly produce casualties within the accountancy community but those firms which invest now for the future will benefit from satisfied clients and improved balance sheets.”

“Over the last six months we have been recruiting heavily and have employed 24 new people (with a significant number of these in new service lines), made three senior appointments, and recently appointed a new audit partner, Nicola MacLennan, in January. The firm is hiring more people to cope with growing demand from our clients and the expansion of our services.”

Graeme concludes: “Our current investment in people, in technology and in space highlights our ambition to lead the accountancy sector by expanding our services and capabilities to encompass and deliver on the growing demands from clients and from the business community. You can never stand still in any business and we are investing, recruiting, and growing to meet the needs of business which is more open and willing to outsource more of their activity to the best business service providers. Combining the expertise of a traditional accountancy firm with cutting edge technology designed to produce more efficient, up to the minute financials means that we are tackling head-on the key issues and challenges facing Scottish businesses to emerge a stronger, larger firm capable of competing at all levels.”

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