Posted: 03 / 02 / 2023

Business advisory group and investment house, Sedulo, have unveiled four major appointments as the Group aim to solidify their position as a real alternative in the market to businesses looking just outside of the top 10 for its advisory partner.

With offices in Manchester, London, Leeds and Liverpool, the Group currently employ circa 175 staff, having recently celebrated their 13th birthday. Sedulo has recently seen annual growth of 25%, and expects to replicate a similar result during 2023 after being listed in Accountancy Age’s Mid-Tier Power Index.

As a result, the firm underwent a restructure in 2022 to support a nationwide client-base, with a particular focus on the London market.

Adding to the existing leadership team of National Head of Management Accounts, Mark Lowell and National Head of Compliance, Gavin Bell, are:

Richards joins as National Head of Tax

Sarah Richards joins Sedulo’s London office primarily but will lead the tax team across the UK.

Richards, who has previously worked at both Deloitte and Ernst & Young, was head of Group Tax at Collinson Group, where she led the Group’s Global Tax function. Sedulo Group founder Paul Cheetham-Karcz said:

“We are delighted to have recruited an individual as experienced as Sarah to lead our Tax team across the Personal Tax, Corporate Tax, and Private Clients services that the Group offers. Her previous role includes overseeing various taxes across dozens of countries, and given the ambitions of some of our clients, will be imperative to that advisory piece.”

On her arrival, Sarah Richards added:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my position at Collinson Group, but when I was approached by Sedulo, having looked at the recent growth and the future opportunity, I felt it was an opportunity I couldn’t resist. Over the next 12 months we will be recruiting further in the team across all areas of tax. Indeed we are currently in the market for a Trust Tax advisor, for example, to join our Private Clients Team, as well as a head of our corporate tax section. I look forward to shaping a world class tax team over the next few years.”

Nixon joins as Director of Operations and Tax for R&D

Sedulo’s R&D team, led by Josh Perry, doubled in size from six team members in early 2022 to 14 members today.

This continued investment led to significant new client wins during the back end of the year, creating an essential further senior appointment necessary, with Andy Nixon joining as Director of Operations and Tax for the R&D team.

Andy is an experienced technology and transformation leader, having started his career at ICL and subsequently AstraZeneca and IBM. Throughout his career Andy has worked for some of the biggest household names and global brands, specialising in R&D since joining EY in 2014. Andy career also includes posts at Deloitte and, most recently, at Grant Thornton’s Innovation Incentives Team as an Associate Director, with national responsibilities for all technology-based R&D claims.

Andy has undertaken claims for some of the most sophisticated corporate organisations and well-known brands, including high street banks, semi-conductor and software developers, specialists in defence and transportation, insurance companies, fintech, manufacturing, healthcare and life sciences. Andy has supported clients from global fashion houses to fast-fashion e-commerce retail brands, as well as in food development, production and distribution and well-known supermarkets. This ties in perfectly with Sedulo’s recent business development strategy of targeting larger businesses in the UK.

It is anticipated that the R&D division will achieve growth in excess of 100% during 2023. Of the appointment, Paul Cheetham-Karcz said:

“Josh Perry has performed brilliantly leading the R&D team during 2022, which has seen a significant rebuild and upskilling of the team. This strategy was effectively endorsed by the Chancellor in recent changes announced during the budget to the R&D scheme, meaning more sophisticated R&D projects for larger organisations will gain better relief incentives, whilst smaller claims will be subjected to lower levels of reliefs from April this year.

The significant growth in R&D, as a result of the execution of our plan, means we needed to bring someone in to lead the operational side of the division. Getting Andy was a major coup for us and we are delighted to have him onboard. He brings a wealth of experience to the team, having worked on some of the largest R&D claims in the country”

On the opportunity to join the Sedulo R&D team, Nixon added:

“It is a fantastic time to join Paul, Josh and the team at Sedulo. While the UK faces significant global economic headwinds, the changes to the regime in 2023 present a renewed opportunity to question whether you are maximising your R&D claims. Are you working with an advisory partner who values their team and your team? Are you paying more and getting less from your provider? Does your existing provider genuinely take time to understand your business, requirements and your values, all whilst providing a robust end-to-end R&D claims service.

Innovation and doing things differently is part of my DNA, I started my career in IT back in 1994, and almost everything we take for granted that exists today was but a daydream back then. I absolutely love supporting clients with their R&D claims to provide investment to continue to innovate and grow.

We are no strangers to innovation in Manchester, having been both the home of the Industrial Revolution and the birthplace of computing back in 1948. However, it has not always been that way, which is why the UK government’s continued and enhanced commitment to drive and support companies undertaking genuine innovation activities through the R&D regime is pivotal to supporting the growth of our national economy to support our future generations.”

Thornely joins as National Head of Audit

A third high-level appointment in as many months sees the arrival of Diccon Thornely as National Head of Audit, overseeing all audit operations.

The Audit team within Sedulo, is expected to grow significantly during 2023, as the firm aims to be a genuine alternative for larger organisations, requiring audit services but not wishing to be dealt with by a Top 10 firm.

It also comes as some of the larger, global auditors, shed their clients with turnover less than £100m.

Diccon joins the firm having spent the majority of his career working at Grant Thornton, with his last position an RI in their London Audit & Assurance division, helping lead their Not-For-Profit team.

Diccon has extensive experience, with a specialism in providing audit services for all sizes of Private, Public and Not-For-Profit organisations. He trained and qualified (ACA) with Grant Thornton and has worked with clients in a number of sectors ñ reporting under UK GAAP, IFRS and SORPs. He obtained a wealth of experience working with international organisations spending time with clients and teams across the globe. He is familiar with working on both Full list and AIM-listed entities, while also having years of experience with PE-backed organisations.

Following 12 months working with both the Financial Reporting and Ethical Functions in Grant Thornton’s National Assurance Services team, Diccon has most recently been helping run the London Not-For-Profit team working with a range of clients with particular focus on Education, Trade Unions and membership organisations.

Diccon leaves Grant Thornton having been an active part of the organisation’s focus on Audit Quality, which has seen them rise to the top of the FRC’s quality scoring. This is a focus he is looking forward to bringing to Sedulo’s ambition to continue to develop a world class audit service over the next few years.

Paul Cheetham-Karcz said:

“Diccon is an important appointment for us as he adds an immense amount of experience to our Audit team. 2023 is a big year for the Group as we continue to increase our capability to deal with larger, more sophisticated businesses in the UK and beyond.”

Thornely added:

“The fact I was at Grant Thornton for 15 years is a testament to how much I enjoyed working there. Although I wasn’t looking for a new position, when I was approached with the opportunity to be part of Sedulo’s ambitious targets – not just for growth, but for providing a world class service – I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. I look forward to working with the current base of great clients and team members across all our offices.

While clearly helping to grow our client base nationally, along with the ongoing development of our team across our current offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and London, I will be located in our wonderful new London office and will have a personal focus on London and the South.”

Strafford completes the leadership hires as Head of Civil Forensic Accounting

Adding to the growing Sedulo management team is Mark Strafford, who joins as Head of Civil Forensic Accounting.

Mark was previously a Senior Manager at Investigations and Expert Services specialists, Kroll. Before that he was a Manager in the Forensics and Investigations team at Mazars; both positions are based out of the London offices where Mark will be mainly deployed within Sedulo.

Forensic accounting has been a part of the Sedulo offering since it acquired Leeds-based firm Bartfields in 2019. The team has both a criminal and civil arm to its operations, and Mark joins to develop and grow the civil side significantly.

Commenting on Strafford’s arrival, Paul Cheetham-Karcz said:

“This is another major appointment for the Group and the forensics team. The Group aims to increase its presence in the London market, including the forensics offering. Mark comes with his own ideas of how to take a foothold in the civil disputes and investigations market, and we will back him on his journey.”

Strafford added:

“I am looking forward to getting started and delivering high-quality services to a variety of high-calibre clients, particularly in commercial disputes and investigations. I will be based in our new London office and I am excited to add to Sedulo’s forensic capabilities and build on our existing service offering in London and the South East.”

Commenting on the recent national recruitment drive, Paul Cheetham-Karcz finished:

“Sedulo now has a major mid-tier offering, the recent spate of recruits cement the standard of our holistic offering, making us a real alternative in the market to the top 10 firms. We look forward to further growth across the UK, in-line with the 25% achieved during 2022.”