Meet the team: UNW Strategic Talent

Meet the team: UNW Strategic Talent

A little over two and a half years ago, UNW launched their Strategic Talent team, a niche service specialising in board level and senior finance recruitment led by Peter Neal alongside Dave Bowman and Laura Dean. We discuss with the team how the service came to be and their journey so far.

“Essentially, we are here to help organisations build successful boards, and ensure they have high quality finance teams.” If Peter Neal could sum up the service in one sentence, that would be it. By operating from within an accountancy and business advisory firm, the team is able to set itself apart from mainstream recruitment.

“UNW is a highly reputable professional service provider that businesses turn to when looking to grow, and then maintain that growth. By adding us into the mix of that same trusted relationship, we can anticipate adding new skills and expertise, or changing elements of their leadership teams, when the right time comes” he adds.

The road to UNW has been varied for the Strategic Talent team, with Peter and Dave having previously held engineering and accountancy roles respectively before moving into recruitment. All three members held prominent positions with specialist recruiters prior to joining UNW.

When discussing his previous roles, Peter emphasises that one of his main satisfactions stemmed from working with private and family owned business. “It was always, first and foremost, about understanding the issues they face and then helping to solve them. I think this is something that has been replicated within Strategic Talent at UNW.”

“In correlation with other UNW service lines, we work with businesses of all sizes, ranging from start-ups to PLCs.” adds Dave, who established Strategic Talent with Peter in early 2015. “From help with accessing grant funds and compliance with financial management, to an audit when a client grows, there is a real journey with UNW as a trusted advisor.

“We can discuss leadership teams with a client at any point, even if it isn’t a priority. Investing the time to get to know a business enables us to better identify and introduce the right individual when the need to strengthen that team emerges.”

In May 2016, with Strategic Talent firmly established, Laura Dean joined the team to develop the finance recruitment service alongside Dave. “It was clear in the first year that the team was filling a gap in the market for a truly specialist, expert and consultative recruitment service.”

“This was particularly evident by the number of clients coming to us for assistance in recruiting a wide range of finance roles. Each of us has over ten years’ experience within the recruitment sector, so possess probably the most comprehensive network of board level and senior finance professionals in the region.”

This breadth of expertise has been reflected in the wide range of areas in which successful candidates have been sourced, with clients emerging from sectors such as engineering, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and technology. Organisations from the charity and not-for-profit sector have also benefitted from the expertise of the Strategic Talent team in the shape of trustee appointments.

Peter continues: “Much of our business has come from business development activities across our networks, but we have also benefitted from in-house recommendations for existing UNW clients. The two complement each other nicely.”

When discussing their aspirations for the future, the team is particularly bullish; they want to be regarded as the ‘go-to’ recruitment service provider for board level and senior finance roles in the North East and Cumbria. “Clients like that we are specialist, and can help them at any point in their journey. For us, it’s about understanding the real needs of the business” says Peter.

“As I mentioned earlier, we get to understand the business and its culture, allowing us to ensure that exactly the right candidate is found for the role” adds Dave. “The main message is that we do things differently, and if we continue to push this message, our reputation will only continue to grow.”

UNW is a leading independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisors that provides a wide range of services to its clients.

To find out more about our Strategic Talent service, please contact Peter Neal at or on 0191 243 6269, or visit