Leading digital accountancy firm Gravitate Accounting has appointed Martin Dean as director of corporate finance to lead and build its newly-established corporate finance department.

Dean brings a wealth of senior experience to the role having joined from Shorts Accountants, where he worked for 11 years, most recently as senior corporate finance manager. Previous to this, he held positions at Clayton & Brewill and Howsons. Dean has extensive experience supporting businesses with mergers and acquisitions, fundraising, valuations, exits, forecasting, modelling and trustee services - working with sectors including technology/AI, SAAS, medical, environmental, manufacturing and distribution.

Dean, who joins as a shareholder at the Sheffield-based firm, said: “There is a genuine buzz at Gravitate Accounting because they do things differently. Building a Corporate Finance team within a dynamic, supportive and collaborative culture is such an exciting prospect and something I’m very much looking forward to.

“My role will be centred around making a meaningful impact for clients by working alongside them as a trusted strategic advisor to negotiate the very best deals for their business. We’re here to help clients make informed decisions, helping them to evaluate their growth and ownership plans at every stage of a business’ lifespan while also considering market conditions.”

Gravitate Corporate Finance will also offer a Corporate Finance for Accountants service, helping those businesses without an internal finance function to access expert advice and collaborating with other accountancy practices whose clients need this specialist support.

The firm plans to grow the team in the coming years, with Dean mentoring and coaching the next generation of corporate financiers to thrive in a digital-first environment. Dean will also focus on the long-term strategy of Gravitate Accounting, helping to underpin further growth for the business.

Talking about the market currently, Dean added: “It’s been an interesting few years in the transaction marketplace with uncertainty, relative instability and higher interest rates making for a slowdown of typical M&A activity. But it’s a fragmented picture. Certain sectors, such as tech and SAAS-related businesses, are still attracting consistently high multiples. Correct payment structures and strict due diligence are really critical to successful transactions.

“EOT transactions have definitely continued to be a popular choice of exit for SME owners and more EOTs have been funded by mainstream lenders, showcasing that lenders have gained confidence and a greater understanding of what they are backing. While there will no doubt be some headwinds to this year, I suspect H2 could pick up significantly in terms of transaction volume.”

Michael Crocker, co-founder said: “We’re ecstatic to be able to welcome Martin to the team, he has an incredible reputation and a passion for opening up the right opportunities for businesses of all sizes. He is going to be a huge asset as we continue to respond to client needs, helping to build a full service offering right here while remaining focused on utilising cutting edge digital solutions available to the financial and accountancy sector.

“It’s humbling to see that we’ve grown this business to where it is now. I’d like to say a huge thanks to the whole team for their hard work and professionalism - they are continuously pushing to innovate and showcase how the accountancy profession is a brilliant career choice and a place where technology and people skills underpin success.”