PKF to create 50 jobs in Leeds with new Financial Services team

New Partner hire signals major investment in region’s booming finance sector

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PKF, one of the UK’s largest and most successful accountancy brands, has today announced ambitious plans to grow its Northern office with the creation of a new Financial Services team. Spearheaded by new Financial Services Partner, Martin Watson, PKF’s expansion will create up to 50 new jobs in Leeds over the next three years.

Financial services hub

The decision to invest in Leeds, serving businesses across the North, reflects the region’s dominant position as the leading Financial Services hub outside London.  The city’s finance sector is booming, and Leeds was the obvious place to base the new specialist team.

Martin Watson, Partner, says: “Now is the right time to be investing in Yorkshire.  You only need to look around to see the buzz in the region.  But companies based in Leeds and beyond are telling us they want a credible alternative to the ‘Big Four’ in the region; they are crying out for more choice. It’s our goal to offer them that choice”.

An all-round service for FS companies

The new Financial Services unit will join PKF’s existing restructuring and advisory teams at its Park Row offices. Building on the well-respected practice in Leeds, PKF will be creating a local external and internal audit and outsourcing offering for financial services clients – the first for the firm outside London.

James Sleight, partner in PKF’s Leeds Office, said: “Martin’s appointment demonstrates PKF’s commitment to the North of England.  We know the area well and we understand the challenges and opportunities facing the region’s businesses.  That puts in a strong position to help.

“Martin’s presence further strengthens our offering in the financial services market and kick-starts the next phase of our investment in Yorkshire.  PKF is growing from a strong foundation and the region’s financial services market is in great shape – it’s an exciting time for all of us at PKF Leeds.”

Building the team

As part of PKF’s plans to build the team, Martin Watson is encouraging people at all levels and with a mix of experience to come forward.

Martin continues: “We have ambitious plans for our Leeds office and are looking for local people who want to help make our vision a reality – the type of people who enjoy making things happen.  It’s our goal to build a diverse and dynamic team that encourages everyone to fulfil their potential and achieve a sustainable work-life balance.  The conversations that I’ve had with candidates locally make it clear that people want a great place to work with flexibility, challenge and support – that’s exactly what we are creating here in Leeds.  Our ethos is that ‘we work with people rather than just numbers’ – which is a bold claim for an accountancy firm to make, but one that accurately reflects our distinctive approach.”

All vacancies can be found at where applications from those who are looking to work flexibly or preferring to work part-time or reduced hours are encouraged. The firm has a number of opportunities for qualified or part-qualified accountants looking for their next step on their career. Interested applicants should contact PKF on

New partner appointment

Martin Watson recently joined PKF as Financial Services Partner after 13 years at Deloitte, the last four of which were spent in Leeds, and is driving the ambitious expansion and recruitment plans in the region.

With experience of working across the full spectrum of financial services clients – from FTSE/AIM listed down to smaller privately or member owned business – Martin has developed a strong focus on the insurance sector.  Martin previously served as a Board member on the Investment & Life Assurance Group (ILAG), a trade body representing the life assurance and wealth management industry, and currently chairs its Financial Reporting Practitioner Group.  He also contributed to numerous PRA and FRC working groups during the design of the audit requirements for the regulatory regime for insurers in the UK.

Martin says: “I’m excited to have joined PKF at this time.  The firm has continued to invest in its people and processes despite the pandemic, and this has been reflected in the major new clients that it is winning, both within the Financial Services team and more broadly across the firm. Clients are crying out for more choice and our expansion in Leeds will offer a credible alternative to companies beyond the ‘Big Four’.”

“I’m looking forward to playing my part in helping PKF to realise its plans, developing its offering to financial services businesses and also building the team in Leeds.

“There has never been a better time to think about joining PKF as we look to accelerate the next phase of development in Yorkshire. We’re actively looking to add talented people to our team at all levels. The region is booming, and it’s a great time to join a growing firm with ambitious plans.”