City firm Bates Wells Braithwaite has been granted an alternative business structure licence by the SRA, enabling it to promote an accountant to partner.

Chartered accountant Jim Clifford, who joined from accountants Baker Tilly in 2014, who heads the firm’s newly launched ‘impact and advisory’ team will be made a full equity partner.

The moves comes as the four big accountancy firms prepare to move into the legal sector. 

Managing partner Martin Bunch said: ‘In reshaping as an ABS we have enhanced BWB’s DNA, fusing our legal expertise with Jim’s advisory experience. I’m very excited at the possibilities that this new era for BWB presents.’

Clifford said the opportunity to join as a partner is ‘very exciting’, and will allow the firm to develop its advisory and impact practice.

He continued: ‘We are faced with a time of huge change, and equally great social need. We have some great social enterprises in the UK and Europe.’

But, he said, these enterprises need better finance, more outcomes-focused strategies, and the benefit of acquisitions, wider networks and partnerships if they are to reach their potential.