Mazars, the global accounting, audit and consulting group, is to launch a drive to double its business in Scotland, using its recent expansion as a platform for growing turnover to £10 million "within two years".
In October the firm, led in Scotland by Peter Jibson, which previously had a Scottish turnover of £5.8m, announced that it was acquiring eight partners from the Scottish office of accountant RSM Tenon. The latter firm entered a pre-pack administration deal with rival Baker Tilly in August after failing to meet repayments of £80m on borrowings from Lloyds Banking Group.
In his first interview since the "game-changing" expansion, Jibson revealed that Mazars was seeking to boost payroll numbers with 16 new hires joining in the New Year and further recruitment to follow. Mainly recruited from RSM Tenon, the new recruits will bring Scottish staff levels to 120, with plans to expand beyond that through organic growth and potential new acquisitions.
"This is the start of something, not the end," Jibson said. "We're setting ourselves a target of £10m turnover within two years.
"We will then have a significant presence in Scotland and will be looking to continue that growth. We want to be a major player in Scotland.
"We are a prudent but very ambitious firm and our continued growth will be undertaken in a carefully considered fashion. We will be focusing on organic growth but looking for further opportunities for external growth provided they are the right fit."
A French-owned multinational with global revenues of over €1 billion, Mazars competes for Scottish market share in a crowded mid-tier territory also occupied by other sub-Big Four firms, including Grant Thornton, BDO, Baker Tilly, and Saffery Champness, as well as smaller well-established independents such as Johnston Carmichael, Anderson Anderson & Brown and Scott-Moncrieff.
Jibson said the firm's hopes and expectations of growth are based on the strengthening and diversification of its skillset in three markets, consolidated by the RSM Tenon hirings.
The main areas where he said Mazars is a strong contender are: "public interest entities", which include listed companies and other large corporates; "owner-managed and SME businesses" where Mazars had now added financial outsourcing as a service offering and niche market sector expertise in professional practices; and "private clients" with integrated personal tax, financial planning, wills and executries. The latter service is led by RSM Tenon's former private client expert, Liz Ritchie. Mazars is also signalling a return to the corporate finance business from which it retreated during the recession, through the hiring of RSM Tenon specialist partner Kevin Windram and his senior team.
The firm, which has offices in Edinburgh and Edinburgh, is also opening in Perth.
Jibson added: "It is a competitive marketplace, there's no doubt about that, but we feel we are very well placed because of our service range and 'one international firm' integrated model which means that we are in an ideal position to advise companies which want to do business internationally. We can leverage that advantage, which is why we are very encouraged and enthusiastic and optimistic about our competitive position in that marketplace."
Margaret Laidlaw, former RSM Tenon's regional partner for Scotland, who was UK head of that firm's financial outsourcing team, said Scotland would become a Mazars "centre of excellence" for financial outsourcing.
She added: "What appealed to me about Mazars was the underlying cultural fit. We have the same culture of openness and collaboration."
In August, five former partners of RSM Tenon resigned from the firm's Glasgow office, ostensibly to set up their own firm offering audit, accounting, tax and corporate finance services in the city.
Earlier this week London-based insolvency specialists FRP Advisory recruited the entire former Scottish insolvency team of RSM Tenon with a view to establishing three new offices in Scotland.