As announced by the two firms, the merger will also include the coming together of their respective financial planning practices, to be known as Ashfords Wealth Advisors. Additional services including a new bookkeeping service, named Ashfords Bookkeeping Services, and a standalone SMSF administration business (Ashfords Superannuation Services) will also form part of the overall business.
Greg Cusack, CEO of Ashfords, describes the merger as a win-win for both practices, as well as for the firms’ collective clients and staff.
“The merged entity provides us with the necessary scale to be able to provide our clients with a greater level of expertise, experience and services that we would not have been able to deliver as smaller individual businesses,” he said.
“The synergies between the two practices made the decision to merge a lot easier. We have a great mix of partners in term of skills, background and style. Our strong history of working to help build our clients businesses in the south-eastern corridor spans over a combined 70 years with Waters Dace being established in 1976 and Aston Ryan Malcolm in 1985."
Mr Cusack said the merger has been undertaken to create an agile, modern firm best suited to the new accounting environment.
"We recognise that our industry is rapidly changing, largely due to technological advancements, and that an accountant’s role can no longer be just about compliance.
"As a trusted adviser, we want to be the key driver in our client’s future successes. As an industry we need to deliver better value to our clients and deliver them in ways that suit and most benefit our clients.
"We want to build a firm that clients can rely on to help achieve both their business and personal goals,” Mr Cusack said.
The merger comes on the back of the successful joining of the practices' audit businesses in January 2015, to form Ashfords Audit & Assurance.