A LONG-SERVING accountancy firm in the heart of the Tyne Valley has been acquired by one of the north's leading accountants.

Hexham-based Patricia J Arnold & Co has joined forces with Armstrong Watson, which already has bases in Hexham.

The merger sees Armstrong Watson continue to strengthen its position across the North-East following the expansion of its Newcastle office to larger premises in November - just two years after opening an office in the city - and the acquisition of Eura Audit in Northallerton last February.

In the past 12 months the firm has also moved its west Cumbria offices from Workington to Cockermouth.

Patricia Arnold has joined Armstrong Watson as a consultant and makes the move to the firm’s Hexham Business Park office along with 14 staff who will continue to provide tax and accounting services to their existing clients.

She brings with her 40 years of experience, and she said the acquisition was a great opportunity for all parties.

Personal circumstances changed her businesses plans in recent years and, coupled with the impact of technological advances brought about by the pandemic, she decided to look at her options.

“It made me look very hard at what Armstrong Watson was doing and where it was going,” she said. “I have always wanted good quality work in a local area. You always know if you don’t take clients or staff off your competitors, you must be pretty much in the same marketplace. It implies you’re doing the right and the same thing. I believe clients will continue to get quality, personal service for what they need, and for some it will give them the benefit of being able to pull in the skills of a larger firm. The opportunities that exist at Armstrong Watson will benefit those clients very significantly.”

Having worked some 80-hour weeks over the past year, Patricia (64) is looking forward to concentrating on the side of the job she enjoys most, working in a more client-facing role.

She continued: “Armstrong Watson has enabled my staff to be in an environment where they will shine.

"It’s made our little market town the home of Armstrong Watson’s third largest office. Armstrong Watson will serve my clients extremely well and are a very good fit for them, and I will continue to get to do the type of work that involves me talking to clients as opposed to not.”

Andrew Robinson, lead partner in Hexham, said: “We’ve had a great relationship with Patricia over the years and admire the successful practice she has built-up in the town. Our values are strongly aligned, and we look forward to working with Patricia, her staff and clients going forward.”

Paul Dickson, Armstrong Watson Managing Partner and CEO, added: “We are delighted to welcome the clients and colleagues of Patricia J Arnold & Co to our Hexham practice. This merger combines two firms of similar culture, with complementary practice strengths and sector expertise. We hope that by offering an increasing range of specialists and advisers, we will ensure that we continue to provide local businesses with tailored, proactive support and advice essential for profit and growth.”

This culmination of continued growth has strengthened Armstrong Watson’s position as a leading adviser in line with its aim to become the ‘go to firm for family and owner-managed businesses in the North of England and Scotland.’