Talent, Legacy, and Direction: DSW Transaction Services on growing a team from within

Our first two blogs with DSW Transaction Services centred around the founding partners, Ed Brentnall and Catriona Lang, their North-West roots and their passion for top-quality work. In this final instalment, we’ll explore their dedication to fostering home-grown talent and continuing their team’s professional development.

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From L – R: Ros Jones, Rob Parker, Declan Littler, Cat Lang, Will Beckley, Madeleine Andrews, Ed Brentnall, Alex Aitchison

Promoting from within

Junior team members at the Daresbury office work side-by-side with experienced Partners and Directors daily, gaining continuous exposure to their insights. The impact of this close-knit way of working is seen in their accelerated learning paths as they gain valuable experience, which they are unlikely to have access to in traditional accountancy firms. The proof is seen in the recent promotion of Ros Jones, who joined the company in 2015 and worked her way to Partner in April 2023.

Not only has the DSW model proven successful for Ros, but it has also seen the progression of now-Director Rob Parker. Rob joined the team in 2015 as an Executive, gradually moving up the ranks to Director and is now an integral part of the senior team. Earning his promotion only serves to support the team’s talent and mentorship.

Continuous Growth 

Joining the team in 2022 is executive Alex Aitchison, with more recent additions being Declan Littler and Will Beckley, who both joined in late 2023.

All three have joined DSW from Top 10 companies seeking to develop themselves professionally in an environment that Cat comments replicates “the quality and high expectations of a Big Four firm, but without the hierarchy or admin that comes with that”.

The Executives’ varied skills and sector-based knowledge add to the team’s existing expertise that provides senior-led services and is a massive pull for new members who are joining, with Will remarking that “DSWTS has an impressive client base and a strong reputation for delivering an excellent product due to the experience and knowledge in the team, and the quality of the individuals”. This type of feedback is only a testament to Ed and Cat’s brave move back in 2008 when they broke away from the Big Four and started their own advisory business in a challenging market.

Creating spaces for new ways of working

The Transaction Services Team not only offers development to those already situated in the field, but they also provide new opportunities for school leavers.

Madeleine Andrews joined the business in 2022 as an Apprentice Financial Analyst from the King’s School in Chester. She is studying an accounting qualification with the team while learning financial due diligence skills.

Madeleine’s appointment only furthers Ed, Cat, and Ros’s passion for people developing their careers and progressing when they deserve to, allowing them to reach their potential with the quality of coaching and experience they have.

True Due Diligence advocates 

Cat and Ed have employed people who are passionate about their jobs and take pride in the quality of the output. They believe that it takes a particular person to have a TS mindset with the determination to understand what’s going on in a business and not let things go until they know the answer, and in Cat’s words, “we want to ensure we have a team of true TS people”.

In the 15 years since its inception, DSWTS has onboarded individuals with minimal TS experience, many of whom are their most successful examples of staff development. Their success in the team comes down to both the calibre of individuals they recruit and the time that is invested within them. Despite the founding partners’ extensive experience, client engagement delivery remains their main day-to-day role, through which they provide direct mentorship to junior colleagues.

This hands-on approach distinguishes DSWTS from other firms in the TS space both in terms of training and the career path offered to junior team members.

Do you want to start your career with DSW Transaction Services? Check out our vacancies here from entry to partner level.