One mid-tier network has turned to mergers and acquisitions to aid its expansion and succession planning, after finding organic growth difficult.
Mid-tier ups focus on acquisitions
Bentleys Queensland partner Martin Power told Accountants Daily that all the firms in the Bentleys network are focused on growth.
“Organic growth has been very hard to achieve, so each of the firms have been looking at acquisitions,” he said.
Mr Power said that this issue isn’t unique to Bentleys, or even to Australia, but is prevalent in the accounting industry around the world.
“I look at publications in the UK and a lot of firms are struggling with organic growth to actually achieve that, and what they're doing is seeking opportunities to buy firms as part of a succession plan for people who want to get out of the industry in a few years' time, building their firms that way,” he said.
“We’re already on that trail; all of the firms are committed to continuing with that.”
Bentleys CEO Mark Chapman detailed the extent of various Bentleys firms' acquisitions over the last three years.
“We've merged with one firm in Tasmania, one in Newcastle, one in Melbourne and one in Adelaide,” he said.
“We also have brought in PWA, [which] has become Bentley's Sunshine Coast, and The MBA Partnership join the network on the Gold Coast.”
The MBA Partnership also recently acquired DFK Crosbie Gold Coast.
Looking to the future, Mr Chapman and Mr Power said they are considering acquisitions in new jurisdictions.
“We're in the process of finalising a footprint in the Northern Territory, mainly through our South Australian office, who have the most presence in that area, and we're in discussions with various other accounting firms in Geelong and Bendigo and Ballarat and Townsville,” Mr Chapman said.
“Our network is in discussions with a number of firms in New Zealand as well. We have one Bentleys branded firm in Auckland and we're looking to expand that, and hope to see progress in relation to that in 2017,” Mr Power added.