McLean Delmo Bentleys and UHY Haines Norton Melbourne have announced they will merge from the start of next month, with the firm to operate under the McLean Delmo Bentleys name.
John Delmo, managing partner of McLean Delmo Bentleys, who will lead the amalgamated firm, said the merger fulfills the best interests of both clients and staff in a changing industry environment.
“This merger strengthens the position of our firm in the marketplace, allowing us to service more clients in more areas of specialisation,” he said.
According to Mr Delmo, the merger was driven by market demand for firms to offer a greater breadth and depth of service than ever before.
“Our clients will continue to enjoy a personal and professional service from their existing teams, but will also have access to experts in a variety of specialisations beyond the traditional offerings,” he said.
“We are also seeing clients wanting to leverage efficiencies and service offerings that larger firms can provide, and the merger will allow us to meet this demand.”
Mr Delmo said he expects to see more mergers this year as the industry continues to evolve and firms evaluate their position in the market.
“The accounting marketplace is evolving due to a number of factors including technological changes and a contraction of business in traditional service lines. Firms must consider how they are positioned to take advantage of this new environment and whether they have the size and scale required to meet these challenges.
"Breadth of expertise and excellent levels of service will become increasingly important to clients and firms will seek to be part of networks that can help them deliver on this,” Mr Delmo said.
Harold Lourie, managing partner of UHY Haines Norton Melbourne, said along with the chance to provide enhanced services to clients the merger will mean career opportunities for UHY Haines Norton staff.
“The merging of the two firms means that our increased size will bring even greater diversity of services to our clients and work opportunities to our people,” Mr Lourie said.
Michael Coughtrey, chairman of the Australian and New Zealand UHY Haines Norton network said he is disappointed to be losing the Melbourne office but believes the office's decision can be viewed as part of an overall trend of "defensive expansion" occurring around the country.
"There's no denying the profession is becoming much tighter at the top end which results in many mid-tier firms adopting defensive expansion strategies. The fact is, its not always about size," he said.
Despite this, Mr Coughtrey said UHY is already looking to replace its Melbourne office.
"We are currently looking for a replacement firm in Melbourne that aligns with the core values of our group and we hope to make an announcement shortly," Mr Coughtrey said.
Following the deal, the McLean Delmo Bentleys will become one of the largest mid-tiers in the Melbourne market with 17 partners and 88 staff.