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Q&A: Sedulo founder and director Paul Cheetham-Karcz 

Accountancy Today spoke with Paul Cheetham-Karcz, founder and director of Sedulo Group, who tells us what’s in store for 2024

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Paul Cheetham-Karcz founded Sedulo in Manchester in 2009. Since then the business has grown from strength to strength, reporting revenues of £13m in 2022 across its offices in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and London, with this number expected to rise as the company continues to grow.

Speaking to Accountancy Today, Cheetham-Karcz discusses Sedulo and its ambitious growth plans for 2024, driving positive change in local communities, and what gives the mid-tier advisory firm its edge.

What does growth look like for Sedulo in 2024?

It’s going to be another great year for Sedulo. In the coming year we expect to see an organic growth of 25 per cent, achieving revenues close to £18 million, and we are also exploring some acquisition opportunities in Scotland and the South West.

You have expanded the team with some key hires from the likes of Deloitte and PwC, what are your recruitment plans for 2024?

We put a lot of effort into our recruitment strategy this year. Given Sedulo’s entry into the mid tier, we felt our leadership team could benefit from some Big Four experience, so it has been great to be able to welcome Katelyn and Sam to the team.

In addition to key leadership hires, we have also recruited 15 new members of staff who will be starting in early 2024 and expect to bring at least the same number of people on board throughout the year, bringing us into the 200+ employee bracket.

How do you intend to continue to rival the so-called Big Four and what makes the Sedulo approach different?

We are a genuine alternative to the big nationals because we offer the same expertise yet are still able to build relationships at local level. But it’s our culture that really sets us apart.

We are one of a very small number of companies that do things differently, and it’s because we have walked down the same path as many of our clients. Closing in on £20 million of revenues in less than 15 years certainly had its struggles, but these growing pains have ultimately allowed us to advise our clients from a position of experience.

We solved many of our own problems by building our own in-house technologies, which will be brought to market for resale in early 2024.

You were listed in our Mid-Tier Power Index. How do you plan to get to number 1?

We are one very few disruptors in our industry. We were early adopters of collaborative working spaces, were voted as one of the best offices in the UK by the BBC, and our culture is second to none. We have our own in-house technologies that enable us to measure the happiness of our staff each week, and we recently started the build of our own Sedulo Forest with the aim of achieving B-Corp status in 2024.

This, combined with our ambitious plans to double in size over the next three years, completes our three-pronged attack to get results together, have fun together and give back together.

How much input do you have on the day-to-day running of the business and how do you build a successful team across four different locations?

I’m still very hands on with making sure the DNA of the organisation is maintained. We have a culture which empowers people to make decisions with an entrepreneurial spirit and encourages them to build their own pathways, so long as everything fits within Sedulo’s ethos and founding DNA.

As a result, I am not very hands-on with the running of any of the nine divisions we operate: they each have appointed leaders, but my focus remains on the continued growth of the business.

The Sedulo Foundation raised over £150,000 in 2023. Why was it important for you to launch the charitable arm of your business and what are your targets for this year?

As a business, our overall mission is to provide positive change for the communities in which we exist. We plan to do this by becoming one of the most highly regarded advisory firms in the UK and beyond.

Our overall message is to give back to those who need it most, and we do this by building strong foundations from which to help people – that’s why we are insistent on becoming a leading advisory firm.

As an individual, the days of focussing on numerical targets are gone. They are included as part of the overall strategy of course, but I don’t get a great sense of achievement from hitting them, so they aren’t the end goal. My satisfaction and purpose comes from being part of a team that is dedicated to helping those who are less fortunate.

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