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Why haven’t more firms embraced advisory services?

The revenue opportunity in advisory work is huge, and it’s more sustainable as a business. But the number of firms that have successfully achieved this holy grail is still very small: Arguably, only 5 to 15 percent have even come close).

One of the major problems is that ‘advisory’ is an extremely poorly defined concept. What it actually means in practice varies hugely depending on who is offering it and who is receiving it. And if you don’t know what it’s going to look like in the end, how do you even start trying to deliver it?

The good news is that it’s actually pretty simple, and most accountants already have the necessary skills and knowledge. It is, however, a question of mindset. This interview between Andy North and Peter Hickey, Founder and President of MAUS, offers some brilliantly simple words of advice.

Being an “advisor” is more about the questions you ask than the answers you provide. “Think of yourself as a sports coach,” says Peter. The goals you’re trying to achieve should be set by your client – and your objective is to help them break them down and hold them accountable.

And what tips does Peter have for the accountant struggling to make sense of all this? “Start with succession planning.” The conversations you can have with a client as they start to consider their exit from their business can create clear opportunities for you to help.

Grant Thornton sells advisory business to 1825

The wealth unit, which has £1.7bn of assets under advice, consists of 100 employees, including 34 financial planners, all of whom will be joining 1825.

The deal, which has been rumoured for a few weeks, is reportedly an attempt by Grant Thornton to distance itself from potential conflicts of interest, and to “streamline its focus”.

Dave Dunckley, the recently appointed CEO of Grant Thornton UK, said, “As we increase our focus on our strategy to provide high quality audit, tax and advisory services to our core markets, it is clear the wealth advisory team’s growth potential would be best delivered by a business focused solely on the financial advice market.

“The team’s clients will undoubtedly be better served through 1825’s approach and proposition, with the businesses sharing a natural alignment in values and goals, so it makes practical sense for the team to be in an environment in which it can flourish. We wish Neil [Messenger] and the team continued success into the future.”

In the wake of proposals from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and from the Kingman review, the accountancy profession in the UK is under increasingly sharp scrutiny. Grant Thornton in particular has come in for criticism over its audit work on Patisserie Valerie.

Last week the firm announced a major overhaul of its audit arm. The changes include a new Audit Quality Board, a £7m investment in people and technology, an independent review of audit at the firm, and new centres of excellence in London and Birmingham.

The deal is expected to be completed in Q4, 2019 and the terms remain undisclosed.

BDO USA expands Advisory Practice with addition of AC Lordi

BDO USA LLP, one of the nations leading accounting and advisory firms, today announced the expansion of its Philadelphia practice through the addition of 100 professionals from Philadelphia area-based management consulting firm AC Lordi. The addition enhances BDOs advisory offerings and strengthens BDOs local foothold in the Philadelphia region.

Founded in 2001, AC Lordi specialises in accounting, risk and compliance, business advisory and CFO services. The firms practice areas include SEC reporting, technical accounting, internal and IT audit, SOX compliance and finance transformation, among others. The firm has performed work throughout the U.S. and in more than twenty countries for a broad range of clients, from emerging private equity-sponsored companies to multinational organisations across most major industries.

BDO and AC Lordi are united in our commitment to providing exceptional client service and a holistic, solutions-oriented approach to complex business problems, said Jay Duke, national managing partner of Advisory Services at BDO USA. This expansion builds on our advisory capabilities in the Philadelphia market with an infusion of top-notch local talent and deep industry experience.

Subject to customary closing conditions, the combination of BDO and AC Lordi will be effective June 1, 2019. Upon completion of the transaction, AC Lordi CEO Frank Lordi along with the firms six other principals will become BDO partners.

We are thrilled to combine forces with BDO and increase the breadth and depth of services we can offer to our clients, said Lordi. As part of such a high-caliber advisory practice, we can take advantage of BDOs resources and relationships nationally and around the world. In turn, our team will deepen BDOs management consulting and regulatory compliance credentials in addition to strengthening its presence in the mid-Atlantic region. We are stronger together than apart.

BDO Facts:

  • Over the past six years, BDO USAs cumulative growth rate has far outpaced all other major U.S. accounting firms, with revenues more than doubling from $618 million in 2012 to $1.47 billion in 2018. During that time, BDO entered 24 new U.S. cities and expanded its critical mass in 13 existing markets.
  • BDO represents companies ranging from closely-held private businesses to leading non-profits to Fortune 500 multinationals.
  • BDO USA has industry practices specialised in serving businesses in the construction, energy, financial institutions, asset management, government contracting, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, non-profit, private equity, real estate, hospitality, retail and technology sectors.
  • BDO has been named a Best Company by Working Mother Magazine for eight consecutive years and been recognised with the When Work Works Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility for nine consecutive years.
  • BDO has more than 60 offices and more than 650 independent alliance firm locations around the country.
  • BDO USA has been serving clients for more than 100 years since its founding in 1910 (as Seidman & Seidman).
  • As an independent member of BDO International Limited, the firm can leverage the resources of more than 80,000 people in more than 1,590 offices across 162 countries.

About BDO USA

BDO is the brand name for BDO USA LLP, a U.S. professional services firm providing assurance, tax, and advisory services to a wide range of publicly traded and privately held companies. For more than 100 years, BDO has provided quality service through the active involvement of experienced and committed professionals. The firm serves clients through more than 60 offices and over 650 independent alliance firm locations nationwide. As an independent Member Firm of BDO International Limited, BDO serves multi-national clients through a global network of more than 80,000 people working out of 1,590 offices across 162 countries.

BDO USA LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership, is the U.S. member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of independent member firms. BDO is the brand name for the BDO network and for each of the BDO Member Firms.