22nd November 2017

Peter Neal, Laura Dean and Dave Bowman (L-R)

In early 2015, UNW launched its Strategic Talent team, a niche service specialising in board level and senior finance recruitment led by Peter Neal alongside Dave Bowman and Laura Dean. Here the team discusses how the service came to be and their journey so far.

“Essentially, we are here to help organisations build successful boards, and ensure they have high quality finance teams.” If Peter could sum up the service in one sentence, that would be it. By operating from within an accountancy and business advisory firm, the team can set itself apart from mainstream recruitment.

“UNW is a highly reputable professional service provider that businesses turn to when looking to grow, and then maintain that growth. By adding us into the mix of that same trusted relationship, we can anticipate adding new skills and expertise, or changing elements of their leadership teams, when the right time comes,” says Peter.

The road to UNW has been varied for the Strategic Talent team, with Peter and Dave having previously held engineering and accountancy roles respectively before moving into recruitment.

When discussing his previous roles, Peter says that he particularly enjoyed working with private and family owned businesses. “It was always, first and foremost, about understanding the issues they faced and then helping to solve them. I think this is something that has been replicated within Strategic Talent at UNW.”

“Like the other UNW service lines, we work with businesses of all sizes, from start-ups to PLCs,” says Dave, who helped establish Strategic Talent with Peter. “From help with accessing grant funds and compliance with financial management, to an audit when a client grows, there is a real journey with UNW as a trusted advisor.

“We can discuss leadership teams with a client at any point, even if it isn’t a priority. Investing the time to get to know a business enables us to better identify and introduce the right individual when the need to strengthen arises.”

In May 2016, with the service firmly established, Laura Dean joined the team to develop the finance recruitment alongside Dave. “It was clear in the first year that the team was filling a gap in the market for a truly specialist, consultative and expert recruitment service. This was particularly evident by the number of clients coming to us for assistance in recruiting a wide range of finance roles,” she says.

This breadth of expertise has been reflected in the wide range of areas in which successful candidates have been sourced, with clients emerging from sectors such as engineering, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and technology.

Peter says: “Much of our business has come from business development activities across our networks, but we have also benefitted from in-house recommendations for existing UNW clients. The two complement each other nicely.”

When discussing their aspirations for the future, the team is particularly bullish; they want to be regarded as the ‘go-to’ recruitment service provider for board-level and senior finance roles in the North East and Cumbria.

“Each of us has over ten years’ experience within the recruitment sector, so possess probably the most comprehensive network of board level and senior finance professionals in the region,” says Laura.

“It’s about getting to understand businesses and their culture, allowing us to ensure that exactly the right candidate is found for a role,” adds Dave. “The main message is that we do things differently, and if we continue to push this message, our reputation will only continue to grow.”

To learn more about our board level and senior finance recruitment services, click here.

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