Global CEOs spoke to Zoya Malik about their views on their companies’ plans and market performance in 2022. The C-suite executives interviewed comprised Malcom Ward, AGN International; Mark Koziel, Allinial Global; Dr. Christian Gorney, ETL Global; Liza Robbins, Kreston Global; Andrew Leck, MSI Global Alliance; Helen Jennings, Praxity; Steve Heathcote, PrimeGlobal and Stephen Hamlet, Russell Bedford

Zoya Malik: What is the outlook for your company and the accounting market in 2022?

Malcom Ward: The unprecedented activity in industry consolidation looks set to continue into 2022. It appears there are dozens of larger firms, investment houses and technology businesses seeking to grab market share, or even create brand new business models. This activity may be driven by the pursuit of economies of scale and cost reduction through technological innovation or opportunities in the provision of relatively sophisticated regional accountancy outside of major conurbations.

 

Mark Koziel: Now that countries are opening up, we anticipate even greater firm-to-firm commerce and networking. Firms are all challenged with finding talent to get the work done, and price increases are necessary in most markets. Revenue will be up but profitability may take a small hit as salary increases outpace client fee increases in the short term. Growth of new services and greater automation can minimize this effect.

 

Christian Gorney: In 2022, ETL GLOBAL will continue to expand through acquisitions with the goal to become the leading supplier of professional services for SME clients in selected focus markets. Looking at the pipeline of potential acquisitions we expect to grow our business inorganically by 25% compared to 2021. In addition to our M&A activity we will invest heavily in the development of IT-based solutions which should help our partners in the digitalisation and automation of their services. Having an IT company like eurodata as a 100% subsidiary in the ETL group will give us the opportunity to achieve this goal efficiently and effectively.

 

Liza Robbins: Kreston Global has a very strong outlook. We have a loyal membership base, increasing brand awareness and a strong pipeline of new firms. A key focus area for 2022 will be supporting firms in the implementation of ISQM1 and 2.

 

Andrew Leck: What we have seen in the last 18 months is accelerated change and that will continue. I see L&D programmes as a very valuable benefit for our members to help them develop their own future leaders from within their firms.

 

Helen Jennings: Praxity’s three-year strategy to 2024 has been refreshed in line with its vision to be “an alliance of high-quality firms, rooted in collaboration and trust, recognised as the best-in-class alliance”. The strategy has three main objectives, to ensure member firms have an attractive and compelling proposition for potential international clients, to service member firm’s international clients with excellence through global reach and great client service and to support member firms through timely networking, knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Steve Heathcote: We aim to realise value from our significant investment in a technology enabled engagement platform. We will create a range of community groups to enhance members learning, particularly adoption of technology to support advisory services. We are launching a major initiative to provide practical support to help firms get started with ESG services.

 Stephen Hamlet: At Russell Bedford, we shall start working promptly on the list of immediate priorities in our Strategic Positioning paper. We look forward to the return to physical events and once again meeting our people around the world. Some new initiatives will include the creation of a Culture committee to be responsive to, and promote proactive leadership in, contemporary and enduring issues such as DEI, ESG and CSR. I also see more opportunities in specialist areas and in diversification, with the increasing development of technology and new markets, for instance, in crypto assets, and the need for certain firms to become specialists in these fields and to join networks, supplementing the more traditional services of existing member firms.