On 6th January 2015, Crowe Horwath Australasia was formally privatised and inducted into the Findex Group. Following this announcement, Findex Chief Executive Officer Spiro Paule has revealed the strategic direction the Group is planning to take in order to effectively integrate the people, process and culture of Crowe Horwath, and build upon the Findex Group’s ‘family office’ philosophy.
This integration of Crowe Horwath will ultimately create a dominant fifth pillar within the broader Findex Group, positioning Findex as not only the largest provider of holistic wealth advisory services in the market, but additionally, the most significant provider of SME accounting services. The extract below, taken from AccountantsDaily, provides a detailed account of these future organisational plans.
Findex chief executive Spiro Paule has revealed his plans for Crowe Horwath, following the group’s acquisition of the mid-tier firm, flagging a number of acquisitions to add scale in strategic markets.
Mr Paule told AccountantsDaily he is currently in negotiations with at least three practices to boost the firm’s presence in a number of centres where he feels the firm is currently under-represented.
“We have already started discussions with a number of people, both in the city and regional areas, to add some scale where we do need to beef the firm up,” he said.
“Right at the moment we are in negotiations to add some scale to our Melbourne office because we feel that it is undersized for a major market."
Mr Paule added that a top priority is to boost the firm’s wealth-related service offering.
“It’s where our heritage is and our business has grown exponentially over the last decade in that space so I think we can add some value immediately there,” he said.
Mr Paule's ambition is to create a fair priced “family office” service, accessible to more mainstream business owners and entrepreneurs, as opposed to the high net wealth family who traditionally have been the only ones able to afford this type of service.
“The family office has been the domain of wealthy people because it has generally only been those people who have been able to afford the specialist skills required to take a big picture view of their affairs,” he said.
“It’s our view that with our technology and our know-how and the skills that we have, we can actually bring the cost of that down a lot to suit more mainstream business owners and entrepreneurs who may not be in a position to be able to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to get that type of service but may well be prepared to pay $20,000.”
Mr Paule said he intended to capitalise on the position of the accountant as the “most trusted adviser” to coordinate the overall financial affairs of Crowe Horwath clients.
“No one trusts banks anymore, no one trusts financial planners all that much because of all the scandals going on over the last few years, but there has been no issue about accountants and their trust and their values, so why shouldn’t the accountant be the primary dominant adviser who can coordinate all of these things for a client?
"On that basis we aim to be that person, that group for them,” he said.
While Mr Paule flagged increased shared services amongst member firms, he said he does not expect it to come at any cost to jobs, nor does he plan on closing any offices in the network.
“We want to remain a large, full-service accounting business that can compete hard in the market across all sectors and demographics and across all service lines," he said.
“A lot of our offices are regional, and on that basis there really is no prospect of merging one with another because they’re too far apart and you need to maintain a presence, and generally speaking they’re really the dominant professional services office in town.”