Our journey into DSW: Cat & Ed of DSW Transaction Services

In 2008 Ed, Cat and Chris had been working at PwC for 9 years. Frustrated with the internal politics, and searching for an exciting opportunity, they were in the right place and the right time when Cat became aware of an opportunity to start their own business with DSW.

Wanting to start with the right people around her Cat asked Ed and Chris if they’d like to join as a team and DSW Transaction Services was born.

The process began with a few meetings between the team and DSW founders James Dow and Jon Schofield who explained that as they were referring so many clients to external businesses for transaction services it made sense to bring in a team who could reap the benefits. As their roles in PwC didn’t include winning work this safety net of referrals reassured them that the transition from employees to business owners would be smoother than if they set up alone. Especially as this was during the recession.


Ed Brentnall, Partner in Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services

“I joined Dow Schofield Watts in 2008, primarily attracted to the opportunity to build and run our own business. The task was fairly daunting as the level at which I’d previously operated at PwC was not one where I’d been expected to win work so DSW’s help in opening doors and being able to present ourselves as part of a pre-existing advisory brand was invaluable.

In the intervening 11 years we have successfully built a North West due diligence offering which competes with that provided by the core international accountancy firms and supported the establishment of similar offerings elsewhere in the UK.

The chance to lead our own business with my fellow partners, grow the team, and act as a trusted advisor across a client base which we have developed over the years is a great source of personal pride. At the same time, Dow Schofield Watts’ own geographical reach, service lines and infrastructure has grown, such that we have felt part of a wider transition from highly regarded North West boutique to nationwide player.”


Catriona Lang, Partner in Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services

“I joined Dow Schofield Watts in 2008 because of the reputation of the business and the opportunity on offer, which felt like one which wouldn’t come along again.

It’s a different working environment as we have autonomy over our own business, have the ability to drive it in the direction we want to and get direct benefit the harder we work.

At the time we couldn’t have set the business up on our own. It allowed us the security to take the time to set up and being part of the wider group allowed us to access contacts we wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”

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