Accounting Firms

Cooper Parry partners with Waterland Private Equity

With Waterland’s investment, the firm will roll out its ambitious five-year vision to generate a five-fold increase in annual revenues and provide a broader suite of services to new and existing clients

Waterland Private Equity has announced an agreement to invest in Cooper Parry LLP, the fast growing and disruptive firm of accountants and business advisers.

Ade Cheatham will continue as CEO of Cooper Parry to “propel the business forward” alongside the full, existing leadership team. With Waterland’s investment, the firm will roll out its “ambitious” five-year vision to generate a five-fold increase in annual revenues and provide a broader suite of services to new and existing clients. 

Waterland reportedly specialises in enabling entrepreneurial businesses to expand in their home markets and across Europe through “proactive” buy-and-build strategies. Other professional services businesses recently backed by Waterland include Moore Belgium, the mid-market accountancy business, Horn and Company, Sideshow Group and IMC Group.

Cooper Parry’s team supports businesses across the UK and overseas, offering services such as audit, tax, R&D, tech and high growth, outsourced finance services, corporate finance and wealth management. 

The firm dates back to 1850, while their “disruptive new approach” was born 20 years ago, which were said to be driven by changes made by the current leadership. The new generation of partners reportedly overhauled the company’s strategy and brand to reflect a “culture-centric” approach to professional services.

In addition, it has been recognised as the number one accountancy firm to work for in the UK, as well as clocking up six consecutive years in ‘The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For’, won the ‘Inspiring Workplace of the Year’ in 2021, and has just made the top three for mid-size companies in 2022.

The company employs over 475 people across its headquarters in the East Midlands, in Shoreditch and in Birmingham. Glassdoor and NPS scores also show to “consistently” out-perform its peers as ‘best in class’, which is said to ensure the continued recruitment and retention of top talent across the team. 

It is reported that post-deal, the 42-person partner group will remain with incentive plans established to further increase the size of the partner group over the course of the partnership with Waterland.

Under the terms of the transaction, which remains subject to regulatory approvals, Cooper Parry will convert into a limited company with Waterland as a significant shareholder and the Partners retaining a substantial equity stake.

Ade Cheatham, CEO of Cooper Parry, said: “This partnership is brilliant for our people and our clients. With Waterland on board, we can supercharge our growth and expansion across the UK and internationally. They have a strong track record of supporting ambitious advisory firms like ours and their pan-European presence will prove invaluable as we progress in our journey. 

“Critically, they ‘get’ our unique culture and alternative approach to traditional accountancy services. Right from the get-go, they’ve consistently supported and endorsed our disruptive and entrepreneurial spirit. Our ambitious target is five fold growth by 2027. Latest results, just released, have delivered 33% year-on-year growth.” 

Dominic Graham, investment director at Waterland Private Equity, said: “We are delighted to partner with Cooper Parry; there was a meeting of minds from our first interaction with Ade and the Cooper Parry team. Cooper Parry is clearly differentiated in a crowded market and well-placed to take advantage of continued structural change driven by regulatory change and client demands.” 

Oliver Bevan, principal and head of UK at Waterland Private Equity, added: “We are pleased to welcome Cooper Parry to the Waterland family. This partnership is the culmination of a year of work and is a great example of Waterland’s pro-active, market led approach to origination. We are excited to support Ade and the team on the next stage of the journey.”

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