Baker Tilly International will become the
first full member firm to leave the Forum of Firms. The network
revealed it will part company with the forum in December.

Baker Tilly said it could not make a business
case to continue forum membership.

“Evaluating the benefits of being a member
against the associated time and monetary costs, which include
annual dues and incidental travel costs of attending meetings, we
feel that there is no longer a solid business case for Baker Tilly
International to continue its membership of the forum,” said Geoff
Barnes, the network’s chief executive and president.

Baker Tilly International technical director
Paul Ginman is a member of the forum’s executive arm, the
Transnational Audit Committee, and is required to attend several
forum meetings each year.

Another factor has been a lack of movement in
developing a kitemark to indicate quality. When the forum was set
up about six years ago, a kitemark for firms to use in marketing
material was one objective that has fallen off the agenda in recent

Forum defends benefits

Forum of Firms chairman David Maxwell
said membership provides firms with value on several fronts.

Firstly, the forum supports the International
Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and the development of high
quality international standards, which had a broader benefit to the
entire profession. Maxwell said the forum was also an opportunity
for members to engage with key standard-setters, regulators,
government officials and important financial bodies. In addition,
forum members frequently shared best practices.

On Baker Tilly International leaving, Maxwell
said: “I can’t think of an organisation right now that is not very
critically reviewing all of its costs, that is just the marketplace
we are in. Different ones will have different priorities… It’s
disappointing because they are an excellent firm and the sort of
people you want involved actively in what we are doing. The flip
side to that is we now have more interest in joining the forum than
ever before, which is hugely encouraging.”