Crowe took part again this year in the annual Business Plus Accountants Survey where managing partners from Ireland’s top accountancy firms discuss the factors driving growth and what services are in demand from clients.
Question: What is top of mind with your growth-focused clients at the moment, and how are you assisting them?
Answer: Clients are experiencing strong growth and are broadly optimistic for the year ahead. With growing cash resources and confidence with the macro environment, we have an increasing number of clients seeking acquisition opportunities. Our corporate finance team are identifying suitable targets, completing financial and tax due diligence, managing the acquisition process and designing and implementing the integration plan.
For many clients, the strength of the economy presents an opportunity to dispose of their business. We have successfully concluded sales across a broad spectrum of industries including hotels, tourism and leisure, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, technology and professional services.
Question: When the firm rebranded to Crowe in June 2018, you spoke about Crowe’s core values of Clarity, Agility, Curiosity and Affinity. Why do values matter when it comes to servicing clients’ needs?
Answer: In 2018 as part of a strengthening of our global network, our member firms united under the common brand Crowe. This helped reinforce our position as a leading national firm that provides global reach with local expertise.
Through our values of clarity, agility, curiosity and affinity we aim to create a culture of open collaboration and active engagement with our clients to ensure that we build lasting, fruitful relationships. We get to know the personal and business ambitions of the people we work with and pride ourselves on delivering timely, practical solutions to meet our clients’ business challenges.
Question: From the accountancy firm perspective, what are the upsides and downsides of Brexit uncertainty?
Answer: Most of our clients are affected by Brexit in one way or another. However, the implications are very different depending on the market sector they are operating in and, ultimately, the outcome of the negotiations with the EU. Many SMEs are not committing to particular strategies or relocation until they have a clear view of the new landscape.
For those exporting to the UK, particularly those in the food sector, any disruption to the current ‘Just-in-Time’ supply lines will have significant consequences, not just in time but also the additional tariffs. Many will be faced with having to invest in additional warehousing, and we are already seeing that suitable space in the UK is becoming increasingly expensive.
Brexit also threatens the supply chain to other EU countries. On the positive side, we have been working with a number of UK-based businesses looking to establish or acquire a business in Ireland as their gateway to serve EU-based clients.
Question: Crowe launched a China Desk in November 2018. This leverages the Crowe international network, but how real is the business opportunity?
Answer: We recently established a dedicated China Desk to support Chinese investment in Ireland and Irish companies looking to set up in China. We have been very encouraged by the response to date, and while it takes time to develop the necessary relationships we are confident it will deliver results.
China is an important market for Crowe Global, and we are the sixth-largest accounting network in the Asia Pacific region. Chinese capital is of critical importance to the global business market and we expect its influence to continue to grow. Ireland now figures as the fifth-largest European market for Chinese overseas investment.
Question: How important is talent development to Crowe?
Answer: By instilling dedication, teamwork and passion in our people, we seek to make Crowe a rewarding place to build a career. Since 2013 we have sponsored UCD Rugby Club, which shares a common focus on training and development of young talent. We take great inspiration from seeing players such as James Ryan, Garry Ringrose and Josh van der Flier progress to the international stage.