Wealth management firm Stanford Brown has now acquired accounting firm Clem Hill & Associates, as it looks to deliver its “long-held ambition” to provide its clients with holistic advice, including tax and accounting services.
“The demand for accounting and planning was largely driven by the client,” Stanford Brown chief executive Jonathan Hoyle told Accountants Daily.
“We’re finding that people are so much more time-poor than they’ve ever been and they’re really looking for one place to do their financial shopping.”
Despite recent research by CPA Australia showing that up to a third of accountants are looking to abandon advice services in the face of increasing regulatory cost and burden, Mr Hoyle believes client needs will dictate how firms structure their services in the future.
He believes firms will need to adopt a “quarterback” model — a dedicated client relationship manager who can tie in various subject-matter experts to meet their clients’ evolving needs.
“If you need a full insurance review, you bring in an insurance expert; if they need tax and accounting advice, we’ll bring in a specialist; if they need money management, we team up with a specialist money management adviser and maybe intergenerational wealth transfer and again we bring in a specialist estate planner,” Mr Hoyle said.
“It’s a person that can build really deep, trusting relationships, and they have an expertise in one area. Sometimes we find an accountant with that skill, sometimes we find planners with that skill.”
The pursuit of the model led to the recent acquisition, with the North Sydney-based firm aiming to provide more in-house services.
With Stanford Brown’s new accounting service to be led by former Deloitte director Dean Crossingham, Mr Hoyle is adamant that more acquisitions will follow as demand grows.
“We don’t believe in the scaremongering that accountants are all doomed and cloud accounting will make them all redundant. Far from it, we believe clients will be needing good, strategic advice for many years to come,” he said.
“We are firmly of the view that financial planning and accounting services belong under the same roof.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.