A FOCUS on advising firms in the Bradford area has helped accountants Armstrong Watson achieve the most new projects and deals completed in five years. The firm, which established a base at City Hub in Little Germany last year, said the substantial growth in business completed by its corporate finance team had been achieved as part of a new long-term regional strategy. The Yorkshire team was brought together from surrounding offices led by partner Phil Bailey with a specific focus to advise businesses in Bradford, especially family-run and owner-managed firms, as part of a commitment to the district. Armstrong Watson, whose local network also includes a Skipton office, said its success was based working closely on a day-to-day basis with client businesses. A focus on developing strong working relationships and understanding the owners’ aspirations and objectives, led to individual plans to generate growth and realise the longer term potential of a business. Phil Bailey said this partnership approach had seen Armstrong Watson involved at the earliest stages of a company’s development, well ahead of any discussions on a future sale, acquisition or other transactions. It enabled the firm to provide a high level of advice and developed a clear understanding of the businesses short, medium and long-term development plans. Clients such as Badgequo, the Silsden-based designer, developer and distributor of colour cosmetics and related products to retailers across Europe, had benefitted from the partnership approach which provided an independent sounding board for its senior team and any third party involvement such as the bank or other finance provider. Kai Arter, Badgequo managing director, said: “It’s about having someone who is independent to the business but who has a detailed knowledge of the business. “This outside perspective is invaluable; as a business owner it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day running of the business, and lose sight of the bigger picture. This really helps us to make the right decisions.” Phil Bailey said: “Being an independent sounding board to clients and offering advisory input on a long term relationship basis is integral to the future objectives of our corporate finance team. “We have ambitious plans for growth within the Yorkshire marketplace and this genuine added value approach will only benefit the wider business community.” The firm’s Bradford office is one of 15 across the North. Armstrong Watson has a total fee income of around £20 million, with 33 partners and 420 staff. In January 2013 it merged with Skipton accountancy firm Robertshaw Myers.