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Acquisitions fuel accountancy firm’s 15-year growth plan

Supported by new specialist finance lending

Helping RPG Crouch Chapman fulfil its growth ambitions

Accountancy firm RPG Crouch Chapman is embarking on an ambitious expansion strategy.

As well as aiming for strong growth within its own business, it’s also making targeted acquisitions.

“We wanted to buy a small accountancy firm which was running a portfolio of fees worth £700,000,” says Kevin Foster, Managing Partner at RPG Crouch Chapman.

“We’d already held initial negotiations before we contacted Barclays in January, and we wanted to complete the acquisition in March.”

It’s here where Barclays – which has a long-standing relationship with the business – was able to use its expertise.

Kevin needed to move quickly with the acquisition and required a Relationship Director who understood the opportunity and complexity of the purchase. Owais Mohammad’s expertise as an underwriter helped him to assess the business and value its future potential.

“It really helped in tailoring the right funding for the client,” says Owais.

Specialist Finance Team

Also integral to the finance being arranged so quickly was Barclays’ new Specialist Finance Team, which has dedicated funds available to support SMEs as they deliver transformational business plans.

“We pride ourselves on helping good deals to complete quickly,” says David Parr, Director, Specialist Finance at Barclays. “We have dedicated funds available to help fund Management Buyouts (MBOs) and acquisitions. It’s a national team, and we’re here to help Relationship Directors to transact and support businesses to transform themselves.”

David says the team is interested in all sectors, and is looking to support good, cash-generative companies with EBITDA of more than £0.5m over the last 3 years.

“We’re backing management teams and quality businesses that are in a really strong position in their market, with good USPs and defendable income streams,” says David.

Top tips for growth acquisitions

With RPG Crouch Chapman having benefitted from the team’s expertise, Kevin says the business expects to continue to grow for the next 10-15 years. When it comes to making successful acquisitions, he says there are some important things to keep in mind.

“Make sure you’ve got the right cultural fit with your target, and spend time making sure the people there are compatible with your business,” he says.

“And get some good advice,” says Kevin. “You should try to get insights from people who have been through it before, such as your accountant, who can be realistic with you about areas such as costs, legal requirements and the time the process is likely to take.”

The profitability of the company you’re acquiring is important too, but stress testing its business model really helps you to understand if it’s robust enough to stand up to any challenges that might arise, says Kevin. It’s also important to keep an eye on your own business and have a team you can trust.

“Being able to delegate during an acquisition is vital if you want to keep to your schedule,” says Kevin.

It’s also essential to maintain communication with your bank and keep everybody in the loop, Kevin says. Ensuring that the financial needs of the acquisition can be met is essential if you want to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

“We were pleased to be able to meet Kevin’s need for a quick turnaround, which helped him to complete the acquisition smoothly and without complications,” says Owais. “Our long-standing relationship meant we could be on the front foot when we needed to move, and the bank’s appetite for this type of lending really helped to get the deal done.”