As MKO joins EisnerAmper Global and rebrands to EisnerAmper Ireland, the firm has a client roll that includes some of the world’s leading financial services and trading companies in addition to state bodies in Ireland.
As the team prepared for the changeover, Alastair Mac Donald, Managing Partner, sat down in the boardroom of their Dublin office with Colin Murphy, columnist with the Sunday Business Post, to talk about why he is willing to change to the EisnerAmper brand, and where he thinks the firm is heading.
Colin: Let’s get the basics right first. What is happening to MKO?
Alastair: We’re joining with a leading US accountancy firm, EisnerAmper LLP, to form a new global network called EisnerAmper Global. As founding members of that network, we’ve decided to change our name to EisnerAmper Ireland from today.
Colin: Is this a merger or acquisition, or simply a partnership?
Alastair: None of the above. We remain an independent Irish firm owned by our partners. Along with EisnerAmper LLP and Cayman we founded EisnerAmper Global. Through our membership of EisnerAmper Global we will work together to share work and intelligence to facilitate international trade.
So we have the same service and ethos – but now with global connectivity.
Colin: Who are EisnerAmper LLP in the US?
Alastair: EisnerAmper are one of the US’s leading accounting firms, with over 1300 professionals and 200 partners. They are based in New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Grand Cayman. They focus on two areas that are key to us: international trade and financial services. Their collegiate culture and values are very close to our own. Through working with them on joint projects in recent years, we have come to see them as a natural fit with our firm and our clients.
Colin: There’s clearly some risk involved – you are giving up your own brand, and joining with a much larger firm. So why take on this headache?
Alastair: We don’t consider this is a headache at all! While it’s been hard work it’s both exciting and invigorating.
The bigger question is: why do this at all? As part of our commitment to continually develop our expertise and offering to our niche markets, we realised that to be “best in class”, we need to be globally best in class. As a growing Irish firm already playing a key role in bringing international financial services and trade to Ireland, we realised that we needed global perspective and relevance. So as a firm that has always been committed to innovation in professional services, we see this as a logical and important next step in our journey.
Colin: That makes sense, but why the name change?
Alastair: While we remain an independent Irish firm owned by our partners, it makes sense for us to work with our international colleagues under a single brand to clearly position our global offering to our clients and financial services markets.
Initial client feedback suggests that EisnerAmper is one of those names you won’t forget because it’s hard to remember – that’s been an unforeseen benefit!
Colin: How does this position you with the Big Four – how do you compete?
Alastair: We are executing a strategy we call “global niche” – offering specialist services to niche markets in the key global hubs. For example, in Ireland we primarily focus upon financial services, international trade and government work. Increasingly, conflicts of interest and the evolving regulatory environment mean that clients need an alternative auditor or an additional advisor. Upcoming EU audit reform is bringing this to the fore. So competition is always there but, just as often, our peers and markets will see us as complementary.
Colin: How will this affect your existing clients?
Alastair: On a practical level, not at all. The same team will be available in the same way at the same place. Our personal touch and responsiveness won’t be changing.
On a more fundamental level, this will allow us to deepen and broaden our expertise, whether bringing that back to the Irish market, or helping Irish clients expand into international markets. We already bring international trade and financial services to Ireland, so this will enhance our international presence and help us attract new clients to Ireland, along with bringing first-hand experience of global best practice in regulation and related areas.
For Irish clients trading internationally, or hoping to, EisnerAmper Global’s offices give us boots on the ground in the key hubs, allowing us provide local insight and create relationships there for our clients.
Colin: How has the rest of the firm reacted to the move?
Alastair: We operate an “open architecture” approach to the execution of firm plans, so the team at all levels has been engaged for more than two years. So firm buy-in has been exceptional and, to my mind, is a reflection of our collegiate culture.
We invest a lot in our trainees: they work hard and we give them a lot of support and a lot of opportunity. With six staff just back from three months seconded to EisnerAmper Global’s New York and San Fran offices, technical and development opportunities are only going to grow.
Colin Murphy is a columnist with the Sunday Business Post (http://www.businesspost.ie/) and a writer of a current affairs documentaries.Latest News