The ASX-listed business is halfway through a two-year transformation period, after announcing about 12 months ago that a radical change was in the works.
Countplus is moving from a majority-owner proposition to minority stakes only, in a bid to reduce risk and free up capital to establish a broader network of firms.
According to its chief executive Matthew Rowe, firms with four principals or partners who are in a growth mindset are the target market for Countplus. Firms with or looking to add financial planning services are almost an absolute preference, based on Countplus’ market projections.
“We see accounting and financial planning converging over time. If they are a pure accounting firm, they might be looking to us to help them bring about financial planning. We believe converged businesses … will prevail in time,” Mr Rowe told Accountants Daily.
SMSF offerings are particularly attractive for Countplus, given the growing market demand for retirement-centric services.
“I can see a time where, for every $100 a firm brings in, $60 of that will be from accounting and $40 of that will be from financial planning and SMSF services. We see it as a growth area,” Mr Rowe said.
Former chief executive of Bentleys, Mark Chapman, is Countplus’ new chief operating officer. Among his first major projects is a deal with Xero for the Countplus network, which gives all member firms access to features of a “platinum” level partnership.
Outside of that, Mr Chapman is focusing on the face-to-face relationships with existing and new member firms.
“He’s important to our community of firms, and negotiating deals at scale,” Mr Rowe said.