McGowan Miller Construction

Case Study: McGowan Miller Limited, South West Scotland

Essential guidance and support through, transition, merger and succession planning

McGowan Miller Limited are Construction Consultants based in the South West of Scotland. They utilise Armstrong Watson’s expertise for Annual Accounts, Corporate and Personal Taxation, Board Advisory support, Financial modelling and Succession planning, Company Secretarial, Xero advisory support, Payroll, Financial Planning and Wealth Management.                 

What was your situation?

The business has gone through a significant transition over the last 5 years moving from a traditional partnership, to a structure with a corporate partner and then to full incorporation as a limited company. Two years ago, the company merged a smaller local practice into the business, allowing the provision of expanded services, reduced local competition and a critical mass to take full advantage of opportunities in the market.

During this period, we have also had to manage the process of some director/shareholder retirements, and the appointment of new directors and shareholders as part of a wider succession and financial plan for the business.

All of our operations are based out of one office in Dumfries, with the five directors all allocated specific areas of responsibility in addition to our Professional client servicing roles.

The underlying growth of the business, supplemented by the recent merger, has also increased the workloads within the accounts department and information was needed more promptly and accurately to support business decision making.

This is increasingly important for us to manage our profitability and cash reserves, with one eye on funding for future shareholder retirements, and of course more recently the severe economic impact of the current COVID-19 crisis.

How did we help?

Armstrong Watson have been accountants and advisers to the business for many years, with Douglas Russell being the partner responsible over the last 8 years.

In addition to providing recurring services for accounts, tax returns, payroll and financial planning, the directors have involved us in advising on various projects including:

  1. Assisting in negotiating and agreeing the financial terms of retiring directors and shareholders, and incoming Directors and Shareholders, in the most tax efficient manner possible for all concerned.
  2. Advising on the process of conversion from the partnership to a limited company.
  3. Assisting with the creation of a Step Plan for our merger negotiations and implementation, and supporting the process.
  4. Managing the implementation of Xero Cloud Accounting software and providing all initial training and ongoing support.
  5. Assisting with the creation of a Succession Plan, and a related Valuation, Financial Planning and Forecasting model to monitor cash flow and budgeting.
  6. Attending regular board meetings to advise the directors generally.
  7. Ongoing tax and financial planning advice to the directors individually.


Stuart Callander, Director of McGowan Miller Limited comments,

“We have all appreciated the guidance of Douglas and his colleagues at Armstrong Watson during a period of significant transition in the business with particular reference to our recent merger and the changes in shareholders following retirements and new appointments. There have been some tricky issues involved which Douglas has helped us steer our way through. We also now have a Succession Planning Model that Armstrong Watson have helped us to develop, and which can be easily adapted as we look to the future. We value Douglas’s input as a sounding board and his quick responses to our queries”.