Scottish accountancy group Campbell Dallas has bought Ayr-based Sinclair Scott, marking the firm’s first acquisition since becoming part of Baldwins last October.

The deal will see Sinclair Scott, established as an accountancy firm more than 100 years ago, start trading as Campbell Dallas, with its two partners and all its 20 staff transferring over. It adds fee income of around £1.3 million to the group. Chris Horne, Campbell Dallas managing partner, said Baldwins’ total fee income in Scotland will reach almost £22m next year.

The move builds on Campbell Dallas’s presence in Ayrshire, having acquired Kilmarnock-based White & Co in October 2016. It is now one of the largest full-service accountancy firms in the region with a staff and partner complement of 38.

Sinclair Scott provides a range of accountancy, advisory, tax and compliance services to a mix of owner managed businesses, community enterprises, entrepreneurs, and private individuals. The firm’s client base includes charities, rural, farming and healthcare sectors.

Horne said that Sinclair Scott’s clients will benefit from access to a range of specialist services, including corporate finance, tax and VAT.

Campbell Dallas merged with Staffordshire-based Baldwins to become part of the Cogital Group – an international business services firm launched in August 2016 by former Deloitte executive John Connolly - last year in a deal that included Springfords in Edinburgh. At the time the firm announced plans to drive growth in Scotland.

Horne said growth is two-fold, both organically and through acquisition. He said organic growth is coming from clients seeing added value services it can offer to help their businesses.

In terms of acquisition, he explained that Campbell Dallas is interested both in retirement sales by firms looking for someone to take on their clients and staff and look after them well and in buying other strong businesses. He said: “We’re interested in firms such as Sinclair Scott with a really strong local reputation, that are forward thinking and like minded and want to focus on a high level of client service.”

Since the Baldwins deal last October he said that a number of firms had expressed an interest and it had started discussions with others. The target is for the group to reach turnover of around £50 million in about three years’ time, but Horne emphasised the focus in on finding the right type of acquisitions rather than time scale. Another focus is on building stronger digital relationships with clients.

Horne added: “Sinclair Scott is a highly respected local firm with a long history of advising businesses and private clients, and we are delighted to welcome them to Campbell Dallas.

“The deal provides us with further scale and reach to expand our client base throughout Ayrshire and the South West of Scotland as well as building on our sectoral expertise within the medical, dental and rural sectors. It also provides our staff access to rewarding career opportunities across our growing business.

Andrew Sinclair, partner at Sinclair Scott, said: “Joining Campbell Dallas presents an exciting opportunity for our clients as we can now offer a full range of advisory services together with access to specialist technical knowledge in areas such as international tax, VAT, corporate finance, banking and re-structuring.

“The move will also enable significant investment in IT, providing clients with access to the latest online portals and platforms that comply with HMRC’s focus on ‘Making Tax Digital’.”

He added that it will remain ‘business as usual’ for its clients, many of whom have been with the firm for several decades.

Campbell Dallas is one of Scotland’s largest, local accountancy firms with more than 300 partners and staff working from offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Perth, Stirling, and Kilmarnock. It reported profits of £4m for the year to May 2017.

Services cover audit and assurance, business and banking advisory, tax compliance and consulting, VAT, business recovery, insolvency and corporate finance.