Armstrong Watson acquires Gibbons Accountants, Business & Financial Advisers


Armstrong Watson has further strengthened its aim to be the ‘go to’ accountancy firm for family and owner-managed businesses across the North of England following the acquisition of successful, long-standing West Cumbrian practice Gibbons Accountants, Business and Financial Advisers.

The merger, which took effect on 29th April 2024, sees a total of 56 staff join the firm, marking a significant milestone in the history of the firm, which dates back to its founding in Carlisle in 1867 by James Watson. Armstrong Watson has always had a strong presence in West Cumbria and continues to hold a large market share, particularly in the Audit market.  The  merger with Gibbons boosts the service offerings for West Cumbrian clients and also provides enhanced career opportunities for colleagues at both firms

Armstrong Watson will move into Gibbons existing West Cumbria offices in Cockermouth, Maryport, Whitehaven and Workington.  All offices will be represented under the Armstrong Watson Accountants, Business & Financial Advisers brand.  This further extends the firm’s footprint and commitment across Cumbria and specifically, West Cumbria.

Partners, Russell Thwaites, Philip Holdsworth, Tony Hindmoor, Mark Stanger & Steven Kirkbride have all joined Armstrong Watson along with 51 colleagues and will continue to provide a full range of services to their existing clients.

Both firms have a similar ethos and pride themselves on serving family, privately owned and owner managed businesses and individuals across the region.

Russell Thwaites saw the acquisition as a great opportunity for all parties. Commenting: “The decision to join forces with Armstrong Watson has been carefully considered and brings significant benefits to our clients and colleagues.

We believe that clients will continue to receive the highest quality, personal service and for some it will give them the added benefit of being able to pull in the skills of a larger local and regional firm. The opportunities that exist at Armstrong Watson will benefit our clients and colleagues significantly.”

Commenting on the merger, Paul Dickson, Armstrong Watson Managing Partner and CEO, said: “As one of the largest independent Accounting and Financial advisory firms in the UK and certainly the North, we are proud to announce this merger with Gibbons a respected firm in West Cumbria where we have always held the Partners and team in the highest regard.

Paul added; “The combined business allows us to better support the economy in West Cumbria with a robust professional services firm, providing the necessary support that growing successful businesses need in the region. We have ambitious plans to continue to grow in Cumbria, supporting our clients to achieve prosperity, a secure future, and peace of mind.”

“We are proud to be investing in the Cumbrian economy and supporting its growth in the region with our two firms coming together. This merger is a testament to our commitment to Cumbria and our belief in its full potential.  Enhancing our combined client proposition and creating greater opportunities for both of our respective teams.”

This deal follows 8 acquisitions for Armstrong Watson in the last 3 years, with the 157 year old firm expanding in Leeds, Newcastle and Carlisle where it has recently moved in to its new Cumbrian headquarters in the city. It also takes the total number of Armstrong Watson’s regional offices to 19, spanning from Glasgow to Manchester, and colleagues to over 630.