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CountPlus eyes more advice firms as profit grows

The accounting network has reported an increase in profits in its half-year results, with the group eyeing more potential advice firm additions for its freshly bought Count Financial business.

Business Aidan Curtis & Sarah Simpkins 20 February 2020
— 1 minute read

CountPlus posted a 6 per cent growth in profit after tax to $2.7 million for the six months to 31 December 2019, up from $2.6 million in the same period last year.

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Revenue also grew by 8 per cent to $38.8 million, from $35.9 million in the previous corresponding period.

The EBITA margin of member firms rose from 18 per cent in 1H19 to 20 per cent.

This report comes six months after CountPlus completed its two-year turnaround strategy, which involved moving to what the network calls the “owner-driver partner model”.

CountPlus also acquired financial advice group Count Financial in October last year, and reported the group has been integrated into the CountPlus network.

CountPlus chief executive Matthew Rowe said it has plans to recruit more firms to join Count Financial.

Despite a number of challenges in a fluctuating industry including an exodus of advisers, many requiring study and a good portion of advice firms looking to sell while there is limited demand to acquire, Mr Rowe has noted an uptick in unmet demand of advice.

“Some 74 per cent of advised Australians are over 45 and it is estimated that financial advisers have penetrated 53 per cent ($1.5 trillion) of pension fund wealth and 57 per cent ($500 billion) of SMSF wealth,” Mr Rowe noted.

“With fewer advisers to service this current penetration, it is likely there will be ‘flight to safety’ by clients seeking advice businesses that are professional and sustainable.”

He added that although the sector will have to confront a lack of consumer trust, demand is growing and financial literacy remains low.

“There can be no doubt that there is significant dislocation in the advice space, but as before, we are committed to building and maintaining the most trusted network of advice and accounting businesses in Australia,” Mr Rowe said.

“It is against this backdrop that CountPlus has doubled down on the future of financial advice with the acquisition and integration of Count Financial.”

CountPlus reported a fully franked dividend of 1.25 cent per share, up by 25 per cent from 1H19.

CountPlus eyes more advice firms as profit grows
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