H&R Block announces major acquisitions plan

H&R Block has announced plans to acquire a significant number of tax and accounting firms across Australia.

The tax accounting network said this week that it plans to achieve as much as four per cent growth through merging with or acquiring other practices in capital cities, suburban and regional centres.

“What we are trying to do is achieve a four percent growth strategy for our business over the next two or three years,” Frank Brass, regional director of H&R Block, told AccountantsDaily.

The strategy, Mr Brass said, will involve rebranding acquired practices to expand the scope of the network.

“We would take over the practice and rebrand it in most cases, depending on how close it is to an existing business, but in the first instance - the first couple of years - we would probably keep it as an individual business,” he said.

H&R Block managing director Brodie Dixon said the expansion plan comes at a time when many tax accountants are looking for ways to leave the industry.

“We know as the tax practitioners’ population ages many are looking at exit strategies," he said. "Others will be deterred from continuing in business by the increasing compliance burden on tax agents and the increased use of free tax return lodgement systems, including MyTax, at the expense of traditional shopfront tax practices.

“Nevertheless, we see no decline overall in the number of people wanting professional help to get their tax affairs right and we want to make sure that Australians still have access to the best tax assistance. In months to come, we will be contacting many tax professionals who have expressed an interest in selling their practice”, he added.

To facilitate the process, H&R Block will be running a series of free webinars to discuss the changing face of the tax profession and to allow practitioners to express their interest.

“Ultimately, we want to provide an attractive and tailored solution for tax practitioners, their staff and their clients, as well as H&R Block”, Mr Dixon said.

H&R Block is the largest network of tax accountants in Australia and currently operates more than 400 offices nationwide.

 

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