SW adds Vanessa Priest and Kirsty McDonnel as partners

08 March 2024 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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With a view to furthering growth in Sydney, accounting and consulting firm SW has recruited experienced tax practitioners and long-time colleagues Vanessa Priest and Kirsty McDonnell.

Professional services firm SW Accountants & Advisors has recruited two new tax partners to its growing Sydney office: Kirsty McDonnell and Vanessa Priest, who both cross from Bondi-based boutique Baskin Clarke Priest and bring an earlier background at BDO and Deloitte.

The firm, which sits just outside the top 20 networks by revenue in Australia, said the appointments mark a significant step forward in SW’s growth ambitions.

SW adds Vanessa Priest and Kirsty McDonnel as partners

“We are thrilled to welcome Vanessa and Kirsty to our Sydney office,” stated Melbourne-based SW chief executive Duane Rogers. “Their combined expertise and leadership qualities will undoubtedly strengthen our team and enhance our ability to continue to deliver exceptional service to our clients. Bringing a wealth of experience, Vanessa and Kirsty are set to play a pivotal role in advancing SW’s national growth strategy.”

Like Rogers, both McDonnell and Priest previously worked at BDO, the latter as a tax partner. Priest also spent more than a decade between Crowe Horwath and Greenwood Challoner/BKT dating back to the early 90s, before arriving at BDO in 2011. After four and a half years, she moved onto the partnership at Deloitte, before being recruited and adding her name to the long-running accounting and advisory Baskin Clarke in 2018.

McDonnell has followed Priest for much of that journey, after spending more than a decade at BDO in the first phase of her career and rising to senior manager. From there, she was a director at Deloitte and Baskin Clarke Priest, before later being promoted to the latter’s partnership. Now she crosses alongside Priest to SW (previously ShineWing before its 2021 rebrand), which recently declared itself Australia’s ‘best kept accounting secret’.

Speaking on her latest move, McDonnell stated; “I am excited to be part of SW’s growth strategy, supporting the Sydney office in particular. Joining SW will support our clients’ broader needs across audit, specialist tax services and corporate finance. Additionally, having a strong collaborative and supportive culture is important to me, and I’m proud to be joining a very strong technical team of advisors driving success for their clients.”

SW emerged out of Melbourne’s Moore Stephens branch during the mid-2010s mid-tier merry-go-round, the long-running practice joining the global Chinese network in 2015. At the same time, the firm began its national expansion, including a move into Sydney with the aim of building up its local team to “five or six partners” within 18 months. Still dominated by its Victorian legacy, it’s clear SW is now targeting the Harbour City in a renewed push.

Sam Morris, SW’s national tax leader, said of the new recruits; “Their complementary capabilities and strong presence in the tax market will not only bolster our brand recognition in Sydney but also contribute to the firm’s continued growth and success. We are confident that Vanessa and Kirsty will seamlessly integrate into our organisational culture, and their addition to our team underscores our commitment to attracting top talent.”